Fertile Ground Portland

A Festival of New Works Blog

Just Announced: The Winner of the New by NW Contest! January 5, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — fertilegroundpdx @ 7:26 pm

This just in from CoHo productions, whose New by Northwest new play competition is a Fertile Ground Festival special event.

Here’s the details from CoHo:

Announcing the “New X NW” New Play Competition Winner!

POET: And can you feel, my friends, the coming storm?
Storm upon storm, families lightning split,
Father, mother, sister, brother
Spread from Arkansas to Idaho.
Split each from each, Topaz to Manzanar
to Gila River to a rail siding called Minidoka.
See in time a tar-paper city
of rusted wire and rattlesnakes,
A false home of barren walls,
naked bulbs hanging,
six-hole indignity.

-from Good Citizen by George Taylor

George Taylor of Beaverton, OR has won CoHo’s second annual New Play Competition for Good Citizen. Cassandra Lewis receives an honorable mention for her play Migrations.

Renamed and restructured as “New by Northwest,” our guidelines remain simple for our new play contest. Special consideration was given to resident playwrights of the Pacific Northwest, or plays with ties to Oregon or the Northwest. This could happen through a play’s setting, or through its social concerns, or even through the subtler lens of what we might call a regional aesthetic or perspective.

We found all this and more with George Taylor’s remarkable play Good Citizen:

On a cold Friday night in March, a young Japanese-American attorney walks the streets of Portland trying to get arrested. He gives his name to a cop. “Run along home, sonny boy,” the cop says, “before you get into trouble.” This is exactly what the young man wants. He goes to the police station, flashes some papers, and is thrown into the drunk tank for the weekend.

The year is 1942. The young man is Minoru Yasui, and he’s out to test the constitutionality of a curfew that has just been imposed on all people of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast.

Good Citizen follows Yasui’s story, placing it in context with the political and personal upheaval that marked America’s treatment of Japanese-American citizens during World War II. The chain of events that begins this night will reach the Supreme Court and affect four decades of civil rights debate and legislation. More immediately, it will reverberate in a national policy that imprisons 70,000 U.S. citizens – men, women, and children – without due process.

As we experience Yasui’s story, we also share the greater story of what was called “exclusion.” We learn how families had four days to settle their lives and pack only the belongings they could carry; we travel to the Portland livestock center, where temporary living quarters were built in converted stables and where several thousand families were confined for months of waiting.

Outside that barbed wire,
Will their lives be perfect now?
Since we don’t exist?

CoHo Productions will present a stage reading of Good Citizen by George Taylor as our contribution to the city-wide festival of new works, Fertile Ground. We hope that the recognition the play receives through New by Northwest will encourage him to continue following his passion, and spur him to create new works for the theater.

You can get all the details about the New by Northwest contest, and make your reservation for the performance through the Fertile Ground Calendar.


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