Fertile Ground Portland

A Festival of New Works Blog

A Final Moment of Inspirations January 29, 2012

Filed under: Inspirations — fertilegroundpdx @ 7:34 pm

As we reach the final day of the 2012 Fertile Ground Festival, we are reminded that one of the goals of the festival is to inspire YOU to find fertile ground for your own acts of creation. To get you going, here is a final round up of festival project inspirations, and a request: In the comments below, tell us: What were YOU inspired by at this year’s festival?

We were struck this year by how many projects were inspired by the death of a family member- what legacies in your life would you like to see preserved through art?

My mother peacefully left this world from her hospital bed in March 2010 and I was suddenly seized both with an urgency to tell her tale and the permission to do so. Ephemory, a reading, written and directed by Miriam Feder.

My Grandpa passed away last year, I never got a chance to know him well, but I wanted to create something that honored him. –
Sarah Soards, Trifecta.

“I was sitting on a hospital bed in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the University of Michigan’s Cardiology Centre while my Father was speaking with my older brother, my younger sister and myself about his will should he not successfully pull through surgery. Of course this brought much surprise and speculation. And as he began to speak I could sense the visceral behavior in both my sister and brother and I thought, this is surreal. And, although we never had to soothe his ego with praise and love there was much unspoken behavior to what our futures might look like.”

Thus was born “The Season of Lear.” -Michael Mendelson, The Season of Lear (with CS Whitcomb)

Others were inspired by survival, often their own. What have you survived that needs sharing?

I’m sitting in a coffee shop with a woman I admire asking how to move from acting student to actor when she says she can tell I have a history, though I wear it well, and perhaps I should consider a one woman-show; and in that moment I suddenly wonder what it would be like to stop hiding and running from my time being homeless–do a 180 and just throw all that raw truth up on the stage. – Eileen DuClos, City of Roses/City of Thorns

I was in the lobby of the theatre where Lunacy performs looking at true stories of people’s lives that had been submitted for the creation of a theatre piece and I came across this quote by Alice Walker: We who have survived fierce battle must tell our war stories over and over again. – Lunacy StageWorks, Stories: From Survivors of the Sex Trade.

I was in the midst of chaos; knowing I had to move but clinging to the hope that things wouldn’t have to change, and as I sat watching an interview with the Dali Llama he said that whenever we are in crisis we need to remind ourselves that this is temporary. – Debbie Lamedman,This is Temporary

What inspired you this year at the Fertile Ground Festival? Do tell.


Triptych Americana by Karen Alexander-Brown January 28, 2012

What is the state of the “American Dream” today? How do its conditioned expectations help or hinder the average American in today’s society under duress?

Triptych Americana combines three vignettes into one staged reading addressing how the stresses of job loss, homelessness and mercenary war affect Americans on personal, social and political levels.

In the first vignette, job loss and precarious health put Benny and Shiela’s relationship on the brink. In the second vignette, a discarded ticket to the Museum of Modern Art is the impetus for a homeless woman to regain her visibility. In the third vignette, Jason and Dani, two mercenary soldiers, become threats to one another over an incident of “collateral damage.”

How does the American Dream stack up in your life, today? Come and see how these characters cope with the gap between their ideals and their reality.

January 29, 2012
1 pm, $8 at the door, or buy tickets online


Discover Portland’s Powerhouse Animation Scene January 26, 2012

Portland birthed the California Raisins. It schooled the voice of Bugs Bunny and the mind behind The Simpsons. It’s home to “the queen of indie animation.” It’s a rising force producing hit feature films such as Coraline. Discover the power source behind these cultural icons: our home town’s electric, eclectic animation scene.

Portland Animation Now! showcases 22 short films from local independent animators. Including both masters and remarkable amateurs, it’s a lineup of new works and seldom-seen gems you won’t find anywhere else.

The 90-minute variety show crams its fun into 24 frames each second. You’ll see hard-luck dinosaurs, cranky baristas, robot terminators, a sassy drunken detective, flying pirates — and a duck. Also, toe-tapping music, artistry and Big Ideas. Just like live theatre, right?

The NW Animation Festival is honored to bring you Fertile Ground’s first-ever film program. Attending animators will answer questions each night, illuminating this unique art form.

“I like chocolate turtles with pecans. I don’t like babies much—they’re too small and you can’t eat them. Well, I guess some people might eat them… But that’s just plain sick.” —Ruby Rocket, Private Detective.

P.S. Not sure which night to attend? The same program plays both nights — but we recommend Friday. There’s a special SURPRISE at the end of the show.

See Portland Animation Now! at 7pm on Friday or Saturday Jan 27-28. The 5th Avenue Cinema is located at 510 SW Hall. Free parking after 5pm just across the street at PSU Parking Structure 1. $8 general admission, buy now.


Stories: from survivors of the sex trade/article in Mercury

Filed under: Uncategorized — annsinger @ 5:23 am

Shelter for victims of sex trafficking opening in SE Portland!  Great news since this is the only one in all of Portland.



The North Plan: Are You on the List? January 25, 2012


The North Plan Trailer from Portland Center Stage on Vimeo.

Portland Center Stage’s world premiere production of The North Plan takes place in the not-so-distant-future. And that’s probably what makes it so extra-creepy and goose bump-inducing. The ripped-from-the-headlines idea that the revered U.S. Constitution could be thrown out so quickly and easily, under our very noses. Is it possible?

Yet, somehow, the show is also “a laugh riot.” Amidst such admittedly serious themes, Playwright Jason Wells manages to keep audiences rolling with laughter throughout the entire piece.

Here’s the plot: After a massive government breakdown, Carlton Berg, a bureaucrat for the State Department, runs off with the new regime’s top secret Enemies List – which contains the names of every American citizen slated to be rounded up by the new regime. Unfortunately for Carlton, the chase has come to an end in a police station in the small Ozark town of Lodus, Missouri. With a pair of DHS agents on the way, Carlton’s only hope is in the people around him: an unsympathetic police chief, an ambivalent administrative assistant, and fellow potty-mouthed prisoner Tanya Shepke.

So could such a breakdown and seemingly seamless regime changeover really happen? The rounding up of millions of  “suspicious” American citizens?

And if it did…would you be on the list?

Jason Wells participated in our annual JAW: A Playwrights Festival in the summer of 2010 with the workshopped reading of his newest play, The North Plan; a few ago, the production opened in its world premiere at PCS. After first hearing the play read more than a year and a half before, it was incredibly exciting to finally get to see the play’s characters, costumes and set fully materialize onstage.

Recently, we asked Jason about his inspiration for writing The North Plan.

“I had been thinking a lot about the hyperbolic political climate of recent years, and wondering how long it’s been since Americans have really had to think about what revolution means, or what tyranny really is. I sometimes hear that a political coup couldn’t happen here, for one reason or another, but I think those who say this are imagining something direct and unequivocal — a cartoon dictator, perhaps, with an evil army. But I think if we had such a coup, it would come clothed in a “re-interpreted” legality, and adorned with talking points. With the help of the media, it would be vague and confusing, at once oversimplified and riddled with impenetrable contradictions, and the great majority of us will be assured that there is nothing we need do but get on with our lives. Such a scenario seems not only possible to me, but plausible. It isn’t hard, unfortunately, to imagine the national tragedy that could ignite it.”

Come see The North Plan at Portland Center Stage, running through February 5. Tickets available here.


Your Feedback Makes a Difference for Oil Change: The Musical

Filed under: Oil Change: The Musical,the creative process — fertilegroundpdx @ 5:53 pm

One of the best parts of exploring the new works in progress that participate in the Fertile Ground project is the chance to watch the projects evolve and grow, thanks to audience feedback. Here’s a quick note from the desk of Oil Change: The Musical creators Brent and Klay Rogers about the ways audience feedback have shaped the next phase of their project:

After three successful workshop performances at The Broadway Rose New Stage, the creators of “Oil Change the Musical Comedy,” brothers Brent and Klay Rogers, have responded to audience surveys and written a new song to further develop the show.  The song will premiere this Friday at the PAC Firehouse Theatre workshop.  The performance will also include additional script enhancements drawn from surveys.

One audience member sent the following in an e-mail.  “It was a privilege to watch Oil Change. What a delightful musical. In fact, both my wife and I left feeling that we had seen something rare; a new musical without offensive language. ‘Oil Change’ is a show for the whole family and is a window into another culture. It sweeps the audience into refreshing, light-hearted fun and laughter. A huge Thank You to both you and your brother.”

The PAC theater is located at 1436 SW Montgomery St.  Parking on Friday evening is available at the PSU parking garage on 13th Street.  Parking on Saturday is available at the same garage or along the street.  Performances at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10.

To learn more about the project, check out Holly Johnson’s excellent preview piece on Oregon Music News.


Lunacy Stageworks Presents “Stories: From Survivors of the Sex Trade”

Filed under: Uncategorized — annsinger @ 3:40 am

KZME 107.1 FM Dmae Roberts presents a ‘Making Change’ feature story  of the women behind Stories: From Survivors of the Sex Trade, a performance produced by Lunacy Stageworks.  As part of this years Fertile Ground Festival of New Works, Lunacy Stageworks produces another important story providing a hard-to-come by connection; this time to the reality of what women endure through their stories from the front lines of Portland’s sex trade.  Listen to the podcast here: