Portland is Fertile Ground

Festival features nearly 90 works of theater, dance, comedy and visual arts

By Jenny Wasson / The Bulletin

The ground may be frozen, but Portland is flourishing — in new works, that is.

The city’s top producers, playwrights, actors, dancers and designers are teaming up to present new works in the fields of theater, dance, comedy and visual arts for the fifth annual Fertile Ground Festival. Featuring nearly 90 events — including world-premiere projects, staged readings and workshops — the festival runs Jan. 24-Feb. 3 at various locations in Portland.

According to a news release, the festival “aspires to provide a forum where art lovers near and far will come to appreciate that Portland truly is fertile ground for creativity, innovation, and daring acts of performance.” Approximately 50 producers are participating, including well-known organizations (Artists Repertory Theatre, CoHo Productions and Portland Playhouse) as well as emerging theater companies, playwrights and choreographers.

This year’s festival features nearly two dozen world premieres. Highlights include:

• “R3” — Presented by the Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble, this play is a reimagining of William Shakespeare’s “Richard III” told by the story’s women. During the festival, the play runs Jan. 24-27, 31 and Feb. 1-3 (full run dates are Jan. 17-Feb. 3) at The Headwaters Theatre. Cost is $15.

• “4x4 = 8 Musicals” — Live On Stage is back by popular demand. Their newest creation features eight original 10-minute musicals presented on a 4-by-4-foot stage. The production runs Jan. 24-26 during the festival (full run dates are Jan. 18-19, 24-26) at the Brunish Theatre. Cost is $28.25.

• “Marilyn/MISFITS/Miller” — Presented by Discourse Productions, the play by Rich Rubin tells the story of Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe on the set of her last film, “The Misfits.” The play runs Jan. 26, 29-30 at CoHo Theatre. A $12 donation is suggested.

Festival passes are $50 and grant admission to all Fertile Ground projects (one admission per event). Single tickets are also available through each producing company. For more information and links for every event, visit www.fertilegroundpdx.org.