2018 PDX Fertile Ground Festival Forecast

Dear readers:

In the calm between Christmas and the new year, I’ve remembered that the PDX Fertile Ground festival of new theatre work will soon be upon us! Having been back and forth to Artist Rep recently for performances of Pericles Wet and rehearsals for Magellanica, I managed to grab a print copy of the festival line-up. (I’ve spotted copies in local book shops and other theatres, too, so keep your eyes peeled.) My cat, Puck, and I spent the morning over coffee and biscuits debating the offerings. (You can see the complete list online here.)

Cat on a blanket.
Puck contemplates the Fertile Ground Festival options while in hygge mode.

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Fresh Eyes on Artists Rep’s “Magellanica”

Dear all,

I’m back at it again this winter as a “Fresh Eye” for Artist Repertory Theatre’s world premiere of the binge-worthy Magellanica. All the better, I get to share this experience with my partner-in-crime, Matthew Minicucci, who is bringing a poet’s eyes to the rehearsal process. Here’s the theatre’s synopsis:

In 1986, scientists and engineers from around the world converge at the South Pole Research Station to figure out, among other things, if there really is a hole in the sky. In the darkest, coldest, most dangerous place on Earth, eight imperfect souls are trapped together. Utterly isolated from the outside world for eight and a half months, this research team must face life or death challenges, their own inner demons and depend upon each other for survival.

With epic scope in the tradition of The Kentucky Cycle or Angels in America, this play takes its inspiration from the true story of the discovery of the hole in the ozone layer at the height of the Cold War. Part historical adventure, love story and mystical foray into the unknown, it’s about a world that can either tear apart or come together for its own survival. It’s a vital story for today and an extraordinary excursion for audiences to the ends of the Earth.

I would argue that rather in the vein of Angels in America, this show tracks with the much hipper and more recent trend for “binge” or event theatre productions. One of my favorite productions I’ve attended in recent memory was All Our Tragic, an adaptation of all the surviving Greek dramas into one all-day event. (I wrote about it here.) Likewise, this past October Portland enjoyed its “second season” of Nesting, a four part-play you could see in either two or all four installments. It is a kind of theatrical experience where you have to give yourself up to time and let in consume your interior world. It isn’t an everyday-kind-of-theatre, but it is one I happily give over to on occasion.

I’ll be keeping a running list here of the posts as they are published over the next eight weeks. Do stop by regularly to see what’s new through the end of January.

  1. Eight Voices in a Snow Globe (7 Dec 2017)
  2. Four Bear Stories on an Island (21 Dec 2017)
  3. forthcoming

¶ I can’t thank Luan Schooler enough for letting me have another go, as well as the production team who have been so incredibly welcoming and forthcoming with any questions that I had. Magellanica runs January 20 through 18 February. There are only 16 trips scheduled, so grab your tickets here while they last!

¶ Cheers!