Fertile Land 2022 officially launched yesterday! The 13th annual Portland New Works Festival runs through February 6.
This year’s festival is a little different from years past. All shows have a virtual option and some are also presented live. Each show has an official “opening” performance and will then be available on demand until the end of the festival.
Quick links to essential information:
5 Choices for Fertile Soil 2022
This is always the hardest part. I’ve been going to Fertile Ground for six years and am constantly amazed by the wealth of talent in our town. As these are all new works, I have very little context for each one, but here are five that I’m excited about. Note that some shows are in full production, some are workshops, and some are getting their very first audience. (Descriptions taken from FG’s website.)
1. ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE (Reading)
In RaChelle Schmidt’s modern adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s 1882 play, an economically depressed community eagerly awaits the opening of a spa resort that is sure to provide a much-needed economic boost. As the town yearns for prosperity, the resort’s top medical adviser discovers pollutants in the waters that threaten to derail the entire project and the town’s hope.
Why I’m excited: I love modern adaptations of classics that serve to illustrate how much – or how much – we’ve changed.
Free on YouTube until January 31.
2. Two new plays by EM Lewis (Readings)
Multi-award winning Oregon playwright EM Lewis has two new plays in this year’s lineup:
- APPLE HUNTERS! – In rural Washington, three old friends join forces to search for a lost apple variety called “The Golden Hawk”. Presented by LineStorm Playwrights, Apple hunters! it’s about finding friends, rescuing family, and figuring out what matters. Premieres February 1 at 7 p.m. Free tickets here.
- DOROTHY’S DICTIONARY – Sparks fly when angry high school student Zan is forced to work on his community service assignment helping Dorothy, an ailing librarian. But each of them might just have what the other needs if they can only find the words. Dorothy’s Dictionary is about how good books, careful listening, genuine friendship, and kindness can help you find your way in life, even when you’re really, really lost. Broadcast on demand. Tickets on donation here.
Why I’m excited: Everything by EM Lewis is worth a watch.
3. HEART OF STONE (dance performance)
HEART OF STONE is a theatrical collaboration imagined by artists from the Russian and Russian-American communities of Moscow and Portland. This performance is part of a larger piece based on the life of co-writer and performer Alisher Khasanov. In it, a dance-loving and music-loving Uyghur Muslim boy defies both his father and government soldiers when he attempts to save a mysterious ancient artifact in a cave, risking his life but finding out who he is. is.
Why I’m excited: I don’t know anything about Russian theater, and Fertile Ground is the perfect time to discover new types of performance.
Two performances: February 4 at 7:30 p.m. and February 5 at noon. Tickets on donation here.
4. STUFF OF THE DEAD (Fully Staged World Premiere)
STUFF OF THE DEAD is an exploration of real estate sales through a haze of whiskey, ghosts, tax advice, shopping advice, egg salad, classic literature, betrayal, the loss of people close to us and the things they leave behind. It’s a love letter to lost toys, found artwork, hidden trunks, heirlooms, antiques, old books, dive bars and business presentations in the boardroom of an aging Red Lion Inn on the outskirts of town.
Why I’m excited: It promises to be both funny and touching. Playwrights Scott Rogers and Wallace Fessler both have strong comedy reputations, and director Emily June Newton is unquestionably brilliant.
Stream live for free on February 5. Details here.
5. SOUL’D: THE ECONOMICS OF OUR BLACK BODY (THE JOY EDITION) (Theatre reinvented for cinema)
The Vanport Mosaic with The Project presents SOUL’D: the economics of our Black body (the joy edition), a new performance adapted for the cinema, asking questions about how our black bodies participated in the American economic dream. Conceived by Damaris Webb and crafted by a cohort of local black artists, designers and filmmakers, SOUL’D is inspired by first-hand accounts, legislation, iconic tropes, current events and personal stories, we position ourselves to look through the macro-cosims of slavery to the current post-Obama backlash.
Why I’m excited: I saw a previous version of this show and thought it was excellent. (Read the review.)
Available on demand. Tickets on donation here.