Dmae features three staged readings starring African American actresses. First we hear about S. Renee Mitchell’s new play Ophelia in Oblivion, her personal tale of surviving family trauma. We’ll also feature Bonnie Ratner’s Hazardous Beauty, about two writing partners in a memoir class and Nancy Moss’Â DeceptionÂ featuring a storyÂ about a biracial young woman passing for white in 1880s Portland. All three plays are part of the Fertile Ground Festival 2016.
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Part of the 2016 Fertile Ground 11-Âday festival,Â Ophelia in OblivionÂ began as a dare for Mitchell to write a 10-Âminute play during a Portland Center Stage writing class. For more than two months, playwright and poet S. Renee Mitchell, a former award-winning columnist for The Oregonian, expanded it into a 90-Âminute theatrical exploration designed to make audience members think, laugh, wonder and question, with a bombshell ending that will surprise.
Cast includes:Â Â Damaris Webb, Skeeter Greene and Jacque Dixon.
Deception by Nancy Moss and directed by Dmae Roberts.
At its heart, Moss has crafted a love story between Anne and Conrad. Deception also shines a light with historical accuracy on Oregonâ€™s exclusion laws and describes a pivotal time in Portland when entrepreneurs pinned high hopes on a railroad that would connect the city to the world at large.
Nancy Mossâ€™s play Deception won Portland Civic Theatre Guildâ€™s 2014 playwriting contest. Her play Will the Real Charlie Chan Stand Up? â€“ about the Honolulu police detective who inspired the fictional Charlie Chan – had a successful run at Honoluluâ€™s Kumu Kahua theatre in 2012. Her ten-minute play The Pilot, about a drone pilot, was part of Oregon Contemporary Theatreâ€™s 2013 April festival in Eugene, Oregon. The Actors Group in Honolulu produced her play Anna: Love in the Cold War, about the Russian poet Akhmatova, in 2002 and 2012; it had a showcase in Abingdon Theatre in New York City in 2011. Her play Hostage Wife, about the Iraq War, won Abingdon Theatreâ€™s Wolk Award in 2005 and had a 2007 production at Kumu Kahua Theatre in Honolulu. Her musical Infinite Jest had a 1998 production in Honolulu and a 2002 showcase in New York City.
The play features Skeeter Greene and Bonnie Ratner. The action of the play flows from the women being assigned as writing partners. But theyâ€™re writing memoirs, so what starts out as a writing critique soon grows very personal.
The play will be presented January 29 and 30 at 7:30 p.m. on both nights at Portland Abbey Arts, 7600 N Hereford Ave, Portland, OR 97203. A post-show conversation will be co-facilitated by Jane Vogel, Age and Gender Equity in the Arts, and Professor Roberta Hunte of Portland State University.
Tickets are available online through Box Office Tickets at bit.ly/hazbeaut