Dmae Roberts talks with Playwright Susan Mach about her two new world premieres. Playwrights can labor for years (and do!) without the fortune of a professional production. This fall Mach opened two plays, The Lost Boy at Artists Repertory Theatre and A Noble Failure at Third Rail Repertory Theatre.Both shows are running as part of the Fertile Ground Festival of New Works 2013,the astounding 10-day festival in Portland. Tune in for a frank, candid and illuminating talk with a thoughtful and prolific playwright.  

Susan Mach

Susan Mach’s The Lost Boy at Artists Repertory Theatre, directed by Allen Nause, is a world premiere is based on the historical events surrounding what is generally considered to be the “first ransom kidnapping” in America. In 1874, 4-year-old Charles Ross, or “Little Charlie,” and his 6-year-old brother were lured by two men into a carriage outside their home in Philadelphia. The men drove them around the city for two hours before dropping off the older boy.  Charlie, however, was never seen again.  His father, a wealthy businessman named Christian Ross, received a letter demanding $20,000 for the safe return of his son.  Countless publications nationwide, including the New York Times, and circus promoter P.T. Barnum, who offered a $10,000 reward for Charlie, helped raise awareness of the case but also benefited from the chaos they created.

Geoff Kanick, Sam Dinkowitz, Elizabeth Houghton & Gray Eubank as P.T. Barnum. Photos By Owen Carey.  Artists Repertory Theatre


For years, Christian Ross received hundreds of tips of sightings of Charlie across the United States, Canada, and England, including men claiming to be Charlie himself; none were legitimate.  The two kidnappers were named but died before going to trial, and the fate of “Little Charlie” remains unknown. In 2009, Mach read from The Lost Boy as part of the Made in Oregon series at JAW Playwrights Festival, sponsored by Portland Center Stage. For this play, Mach was awarded the 2011 Angus Bowmer Award for Drama at the Oregon Book Awards.

The Lost Boy at Artists Rep performs through February 10th.
Performances: Tuesday – Sunday @ 7:30pm; Sunday @ 2:00pm

Artists Repertory Theatre, Inside the Morrison Lobby at 1515 SW Morrison Street
Phone: 503.241.1278
Fax: 503.241.8268

For more info/reservations:


Rolland Walsh, Jacklyn Maddux & Bruce Burkhartsmeier. Third Rail Repertory.

Susan Mach’s A Noble Failure at Third Rail Repertory Theatre, directed by Phillip Cuomo, details the tragic journey of a public school getting co-opted by a private for- profit company. The genesis of the play began with the creation of the character Rosalyn (magnificently played by Jacklyn Maddux), a lifelong teacher who never imagined herself as anything else.  She is trying to keep a young Russian immigrant, Ivan, in school after he gets in trouble for tagging the library and destroying a trophy case. Rosalyn’s one ally and reluctant hero is the principal, Truman, performed with beleaguered gusto by Bruce Burkhartsmeier.

Much of the play is a response to the current broken public school system. Mach eloquent lays out the the current education crisis that often creates more hardship for already burdened career teachers, and dramatizes how public schools are being shut down in record numbers, replaced by privately owned charter schools that often cherry-pick students, disregarding those with low incomes and/or learning disabilities.

TRRT_NobleFailure_Press1A Noble Failure performances run through Feb. 3rd at Third Rail Repertory. To order tickets from Third Rail Rep online click the links below or call us at 503-235-1101. You can also purchase over the counter at PCPA Box Office – 1111 SW Broadway.

Adults $33.25-$41.25, Seniors $27.25-$33.25, Under 30 $22.25

Third Rail Performance Location
Winningstad Theatre
1111 SW Broadway
Portland, OR 97205

For more info/tickets:

 More about the playwright: 

Playwright Susan Mach has an MA in Playwriting from Boston University. Her first play,Monograms, published by Rain City Press in Seattle, received a Portland Drama Critics Circle Award. Her second play, Angle of View, was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award and received readings at Portland Repertory Theatre and Boston Playwrights’ Theatre.  For her third play, The Shadow Testament, she received a Woman Writers Fellowship from Literary Arts. Her play, The Difficult Season, a collaboration with renowned jazz pianist and songwriter Dave Frishberg, was workshopped at Artists Repertory Theatre

She was awarded a fellowship from Oregon Literary Arts for her latest play, The Lost Boy, which was also part of Portland Center Stage’s JAW/West development series and recently received a staged reading at Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, and was a winner of the 2011 Angus Bowmer Award for Drama at the Oregon Book Awards.

Fertile Ground Festival of New Works 2013, presented by the Portland Area Theatre Alliance, January 24- February 3, 2013. Read/hear more about Fertile Ground with festival director Nicole Lane. 

Tickets: Individual Event tickets sold through each producer and can be accessed through

Festival Passes: $50 –

You can hear Stage & Studio on: