IMAGE: “Shylock and Jessica” by Maurice Gottlieb (1876). A Maiden of Venice will be performed Aug. 6.
Portland Shakespeare Project and Proscenium Journal, in association with Artists Repertory Theatre, present the third annual Proscenium Live Festival of New Work. All performances are free and begin at 7:30pm on Artists Rep’s Alder Stage.
The 2017 festival will offer new plays each night featuring five outstanding playwrights. Full-length plays will be presented on Friday, Aug. 4 and Saturday, Aug. 5; three short plays commissioned by Portland Shakes and Proscenium Journal will be offered on Sunday, Aug. 6.
The Sunday performance will begin with “A Maiden of Venice,” an adaptation of Shakespeare’s most controversial play, told from the point of view of the Shylock’s daughter, Jessica.
The three-night festival features new plays written by award-winning playwrights Steve Rathje, C.S. Whitcomb, Aleks Merilo, Susan Mach and Patrick Wohlmut and are performed in a staged reading format featuring more than a dozen of Portland’s most talented actors on Artists Rep’s Alder Stage.
Aug. 4, 7:30pm: Artists Repertory Theatre’s Table|Room|Stage Oregon Play Prize Winner “Signs” by Steve Rathje; Directed by Michael Mendelson.
“Signs” is a surrealistic comedy about love, purpose and the little things that seem to matter so much to us. April reads horoscopes. Lydia writes horoscopes. April reads them devoutly, using them to guide her life choices. Lydia just makes them up, using the money she makes from them to support herself while she completes her novel. When April comes in contact with Lydia, the all-too-familiar force who has been transcribing April’s fate through her horoscopes all along, the story turns upside down.
Steve’s recent play Signs is winner of the $10,000 Oregon New Play Prize and is being developed and produced at Artists Repertory Theatre. ”Signs” was also a finalist for the National Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference.
Aug. 5, 7:30 pm: “Santos” by C.S. Whitcomb; Directed by Michael Mendelson
“Santos” is a new play set in Pasadena, California, circa 1968. Rafael Santos, in his heart, is Don Quixote, but in the real world is just trying to get cast as a bandito bit player while teaching high school drama and keeping his family together. A comedy with a side of tango.
Aug. 6, 7:30 pm: Three new plays, commissioned by Portland Shakes and Proscenium Journal.
“A Maiden of Venice” by Aleks Merilo, directed by Josh Rippy: In the walled Jewish Ghetto of Venice, a girl comes of age with only her money-lender father to guide her. When her father lashes back at men who have persecuted him, she is forced to choose between love, faith, and the debts we owe to family. An adaptation of Shakespeare’s most controversial play, it is told from the point of view of the Shylock’s daughter, Jessica.
“Coyote Play” by Susan Mach, Directed by Josh Rippy: “Coyote Play” (working title) is a contemporary re-imagining of the French-Romanian playwright Eugene Ionesco’s “Rhinoceros,” an absurdist piece which examines the normalization of Fascism.
“Patchwork Dreams” by Patrick Wohlmut, Directed by Brenda Hubbard: Penny is a Patchwork: an automated, obedient servant created from the bodies of deceased people. But when an accident results in the development of consciousness, Penny becomes something much more complex, problematic and potentially terrifying – not just to others, but to herself.
The festival is supported in part by an Ozy Genius Award, awarded to Steve Rathje by Ozy Media, and by Portland Shakespeare Project.
Portland Shakes is a nonprofit theatre company in residence at Artists Repertory Theatre dedicated to educating, enriching and entertaining audiences by producing classical works and contemporary works associated with classical material. Since its founding in 2010 by Michael Mendelson and Karen Rathje, more than 4,500 people have enjoyed the company’s productions of William Shakespeare’s As You Like It, King Lear, The Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest, Twelfth Night and The Turn of the Screw, as well as a many audience enrichment and education events. More information at portlandshakes.org.
Proscenium is the first free literary journal dedicated to publishing plays. Proscenium publications are free of charge and readily accessible online, allowing playwrights to share their work with a large, web-based audience. Proscenium Journal‘s mission is to support emerging playwrights, make new plays easier to discover, and make theatre easily accessible to new and wider audiences. Proscenium Journal: Supporting playwrights. Encouraging discovery. Making theatre accessible. More information at prosceniumjournal.com.