Dmae revisits with playwright Mia Chung who is back in Portland for a staged reading of her newest play Catch as Catch Can as part as the 18th annual JAW: A Playwright’s Festival at Portland Center Stage.  We’ll hear about Mia Chung’s new play and about her workshop and more. Plus Dmae gives highlights about other JAW events. See the full schedule of three staged readings, workshops and other theatre events below!

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Mia Chung is the author of You for Me for You, Catch as Catch Can, This Exquisite Corpse, Skin in the Game, an adaptation of The Orphan of Zhao, and We Spend Our Lives. You for Me for You had its UK premiere at the Royal Court Theatre in December 2015. The play premiered in 2012 at Woolly Mammoth Theatre in DC (in association with Ma-Yi Theatre Company and supported by an NEA grant) and had a second production at Company One in Boston. This upcoming season it will run at Portland Playhouse and Mu Performing Arts Center.

She has received awards and fellowships from Southern Rep, RISCA, TCG, and others; and her work has been developed by the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Civilians’ R&D Group, Doorway Arts Ensemble, Icicle Creek Theatre Festival, Inkwell, Kennedy Center, LAByrinth Theatre Company, Magic Theatre, Mu Performing Arts, Page Salon, Playwrights Realm, and Stella Adler Studio.


imgresPortland Center Stage’s 18th annual JAW: A Playwrights Festival (July 29-31) presents three staged readings of new scripts by JAW featured playwrights, two workshop presentations of upcoming PCS world premiere productions, and other performances and activities  throughout the weekend. All events are at the  Armory (128 NW Eleventh Ave, Portland, OR, 97209). More information at

The JAW staged readings include Kevin Artigue’s The Forcings, Mia Chung’s Catch as Catch Can and Nathan Dame’s The Saints along with workshop presentations of Wild and Reckless: A new musical event from Blitzen Trapper and Lauren Weedman Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, which are debuting at the Armory during the 2016-2017 season. New scripts from JAW’s Promising Playwrights will kick off the readings on Friday night.


FRIDAY, JULY 29, 2016
8 p.m. JAW Kick-off Event: Promising Playwrights, Ellyn Bye Studio
5 p.m. Artist Lab: A Dramaturg Prepares Admission by Lottery

10:45 a.m. Press Play: LifeStretch© Yoga with Hygeia Healing, Ellyn Bye Studio
12 p.m. STAGED READING: The Saints by Nathan Dame, U.S. Bank Main Stage
2:45 p.m. Press Play: Astoria Conversation with Chris Coleman, Ellyn Bye Studio
3:15 p.m. Press Play: Music from Okaidja, Main and Mezzanine Lobbies
4 p.m. STAGED READING: Catch as Catch Can by Mia Chung, U.S. Bank Main Stage
7:10 p.m. Press Play: Shaking the Tree’s Site Specific Performance, Ellyn Bye Studio Lobby
7:40 p.m. Press Play: Shaking the Tree’s Site Specific Performance, Ellyn Bye Studio Lobby
8 p.m. STAGED READING: Lauren Weedman Doesn’t Live Here Anymore by Lauren Weedman, U.S. Bank Main Stage

SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2016
11 a.m. Artist Lab: Being a Good Host: Inviting the Creative Spirit in…, Admission by Lottery
11 a.m. Artist Lab: Lauren Weedman’s Awesome Lab!, Admission by Lottery
2:30 p.m. Press Play: Theatre Vertigo’s Carnivora Reading, Ellyn Bye Studio
3:40 p.m. Press Play: Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre’s Performance, Main and Mezzanine Lobbies
4 p.m. STAGED READING: The Forcings by Kevin Artigue, U.S. Bank Main Stage
7 p.m. Press Play: Music from Venerable Showers of Beauty, Main and Mezzanine Lobbies
8 p.m. STAGED READING: Wild and Reckless: A New Musical Event from Blitzen Trapper, U.S. Bank Main Stage

All staged readings are free and open to the public. No reservations required. Post-show conversations with the playwrights are held after most readings. Please Note: The staged readings presented at JAW are works in progress. Staged readings are an important part of the play development process but do not represent completed scripts.


Saturday, July 30 at 12 p.m. | U.S. Bank Main Stage As a child, Madison always felt adrift. She was shuffled around from foster home to foster home, and things haven’t gone much more smoothly in adulthood. Just when her struggle for stability threatens to consume her, a chance encounter with a pair of young missionaries challenges Madison to put her past to rest and determine who she wants to become. Over the course of one gritty January in New York, The Saints chronicles the stingingly funny and poignant journey of a young woman making her way back to hope.

Mia-Chung-headshotSaturday, July 30 at 4 p.m. | U.S. Bank Main Stage
The Phelans and the Lavecchias grew up in each other’s homes, sharing the good times and the bad in their tight-knit middle class community. But when Tim Phelan moves back home with unexpected news, the members of this extended family find their bonds and very identities put to the test. Catch as Catch Can makes unconventional use of theatrical conventions to explore the shifting roles we play in the presence of family.

Lauren-2Saturday, July 30 at 8 p.m. | U.S. Bank Main Stage
Lauren’s current obsessions: love and heartbreak; big hair and tight jeans; Loretta Lynn and John Prine — or songs she thinks make her look skinny and appropriately tragic. The hilarious and versatile Lauren Weedman (Bust, The People’s Republic of Portland) knows a thing or two about love gone wrong, and she’s ready to sing her heart out about it (Yes! Lauren sings!) and tell you a few tall tales, too. Lauren will be joined by a band of fine musicians; and we’re pretty sure her hair will be bigger than ever. The world premiere production of Lauren Weedman Doesn’t Live Here Anymore will run March 17 through April 30, 2017 at the Armory.

Sunday, July 31 at 4 p.m. | U.S. Bank Main Stage

Kevin-Artigue-1-2-webNobody knows what happened to “The 17,” a group of environmental activists whose disappearance from an anti-Exxon protest site in Mexico sparked international outrage. Ernie Ledezma, the public face of Exxon’s operations, navigated the corporation through the scandal, and now, on the eve of his retirement, his loved ones have gathered to celebrate. But the ghosts that haunt his achievements cast a shadow over the festivities, and the appearance of a mysterious stranger triggers a deluge of secrets to slip through his fingers. Rife with magic realism, The Forcings is a dynamic new play that stares unflinchingly at a family in crisis and a civilization barreling toward extinction.

Sunday, July 31 at 8 p.m. | U.S. Bank Main Stage
PBlitzen-Trapper-628x356ortland folk rockers Blitzen Trapper refuse to be pinned down and boxed in. The acclaimed band has mixed genre after genre into their musical arsenal over the fifteen years of playing together. Now they’re unleashing their sound — and knack for lyrical storytelling — on the PCS stage. They’ve mined their Oregonian roots to create a show that asks: What’s the sound of a life falling through the cracks? Fusing the energy of a rock concert with the imaginative possibility of the theater, Blitzen Trapper and PCS join forces in this new project, tracing the unforgettable stories of ordinary Americans caught in an extraordinary struggle to not get left behind. The world premiere production of Wild and Reckless: A new musical event from Blitzen Trapper will run March 16 through April 30, 2017 at the Armory.

Press Play events engage JAW audiences before and after staged readings. All Press Play events are free and open to the public in various locations around the Armory.

LifeStretch© Yoga with Hygeia Healing
Saturday July 30 at 10:45 a.m. | Ellyn Bye Studio
Start off the first day of JAW by engaging your body with some gentle stretching. Hygeia Healing offers LifeStretch© yoga as a complete, full-body, mobility stretch class. Techniques add mobility to joints to quickly gain increased range of motion – so you can enjoy JAW with renewed energy and vitality.

Astoria Conversation with Chris Coleman
Saturday, July 30 at 2:45 p.m. | Ellyn Bye Studio
Join Artistic Director Chris Coleman for a conversation about his creative process for adapting Peter Stark’s best-selling book Astoria for the stage. The world premiere production of Astoria: Part One will run January 14 through February 12 at the Armory.

Music from Okaidja
Saturday, July 30 at 3:15 p.m. | Main and Mezzanine Lobbies
Okaidja’s sound is a spicy fusion of spirited Ghanaian music with diverse cross-cultural influences. He is a dynamic vocalist, a gifted multi-instrumentalist, and an exultant dancer. For this performance, Okaidja will perform with a large ensemble of his favorite musicians to create an unforgettable experience.

Shaking the Tree’s Site Specific Performance
Saturday, July 30 at 7:10 p.m and 7:40 p.m. | Ellyn Bye Studio Lobby
Experience the story of Orpheus and Eurydice like never before, with Shaking the Tree’s immersive, site-specific rendition for JAW. Shaking the Tree uses innovative ways to inhabit space, creating a heightened surrounding that allows audiences to experience a deeper, more active connection to the work.

Theatre Vertigo’s Carnivora Reading
Sunday, July 31 at 2:30 p.m. | Ellyn Bye Studio
Theatre Vertigo presents a reading from their upcoming production of Carnivora, a horror-inspired play by local playwright Matthew B. Zrebski. Theatre Vertigo’s mission is to engage audiences by producing high-quality, ensemble driven theatre with a focus on producing and developing new or rarely seen works.

Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre’s Site Specific Performance
Sunday, July 31 at 3:40 p.m. | Main and Mezzanine Lobbies
Since its inception in 2010, Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre/Northwest (HDDT/NW) has been creating captivating storytelling through site-specific dance choreography in Portland and the surrounding metropolitan areas. For their JAW performance, they will animate the Main and Mezzanine lobbies with a transformative journey.

Music from Venerable Showers of Beauty
Sunday, July 31 at 7 p.m. | Main and Mezzanine Lobbies
Venerable Showers of Beauty seeks to foster artistic exchanges between Java and the Portland community through residencies, workshops and performances of Javanese gamelan music and related art forms such as wayang shadow puppetry and dance.

Admission is free for the Community Artist Labs, but attendance for each lab is limited and determined by random lottery. To enter the lottery, email by July 24 and list which lab(s) you would like to attend.

A Dramaturg Prepares
Friday, July 29 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
With Benjamin Fainstein, Karin Magaldi and Ellen Walkley
Many dramaturgs are champions of new work and directly support playwrights in bringing their artistic vision to light. Yet the dramaturg’s role in the process eludes a cut-and-dry definition. In
this lab, members of the JAW dramaturgy team will host a practical discussion of their profession and provide a crash course in reading plays with a dramaturgical eye.

Being a Good Host: Inviting the Creative Spirit in and Feeding it Well
Sunday, July 31 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
With JAW featured playwright Mia Chung
This workshop will explore ways to host the creative impulse. The lab will act as an “annotated” writing session: bring something you’re working on (a scene, a character, a draft or an idea); this will be the basis for looking at how you work. Also bring a notepad and a pen, in addition to whatever you usually use for writing (e.g. a laptop). This workshop aims to highlight writing patterns and develop strategies to enhance rapport with creativity.

Lauren Weedman’s Awesome Lab!
Sunday, July 31 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
With JAW featured playwright Lauren Weedman
This writing/performance lab combines flash writing exercises with direct and frank feedback (and maybe some dancing), to help you mine your most humiliating stories, obsessions, journal ramblings, joys, traumas, dramas and flat-out lies to help shape a short performance piece. Participants should bring in a piece – an outline, a monologue, an idea – to workshop.

Since launching in 1999, JAW (short for Just Add Water) has created a space for playwrights to have complete creative control and the resources to work on whatever they want to develop in their scripts. Each year, playwrights are chosen from nearly 200 submissions nationwide to collaborate with directors, dramaturgs, actors and other theater professionals from across the United States. Of the 60+ plays that have received workshops at the festival, more than 50% have received world premiere productions at a regional theater, ranging from the NY Theater Workshop to Steppenwolf Theatre, to Berkeley Repertory Theatre to Portland’s own Third Rail Repertory Theater. Fourteen JAW plays have received fully staged productions at PCS, giving Portland a strong national reputation for not only incubating new work, but helping to see that work to successful fruition.