Portland, JULY 11th, 2015. Portland Center Stage’s Playwrighting Festival features free staged readings and a host of performances and artists labs. JAW is Portland’s chance to digest new plays while they’re still in development, with Community Artists Labs and Press Play performances that enhance the festivities with dance, theater, clowns, cabaret and more. JAW: A Playwrights Festival is free and open to the public at the Gerding Theater at the Armory (128 NW Eleventh Avenue, Portland, OR). No tickets are required.

Wes Guy & the Road Trip Massacre Crew, 2013 JAW

Wes Guy & the Road Trip Massacre Crew was part of the JAW lineup in 2013.

This year, four featured playwrights make their JAW debuts with exciting new scripts – Adam Szymkowicz’s Colchester, Jen Silverman’s Wink, Boo Killebrew’s Miller, Mississippi and James Presson’s Long Division. The Press Play events scheduled to surround the staged readings include performances by Susannah Mars and Merideth Kaye Clark, Éowyn Emerald & Dancers, The Seseisiunists, SubRosa Dance Collective, Stumptown Clown Productions and POPgoji. In-depth Community Artists Labs will be presented by JAW Festival Director Rose Riordan and two of the featured JAW playwrights.

Audience members circle the block to get in for the free presentations.

Audience members circle the block to get in for the free presentations each year.

Venerable Showers of Beauty Gamelan, 2013 JAW

Venerable Showers of Beauty Gamelan was a featured presentation in the past.

All staged readings are free and open to the public. No reservations or tickets required. Talk backs 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 and do not represent completed scripts.
Friday, July 24 at 4:00 p.m. | U.S. Bank Main Stage
Welcome to Colchester, a town of dashed dreams and fervent hope, history and longing. And there’s a hardware store too.
Friday, July 24 at 8:00 p.m. Sofie is an unhappy housewife, Gregor is her bread-winning husband, Dr. Franz is their psychiatrist … and Wink is the cat. Violent desires, domestic terrorism and feline vengeance at any cost make Wink a dark comedy about the thin, thin line between savagery and civilization.
Saturday, July 25 at 4:00 p.m.
A lurid family drama set against the backdrop of Civil Rights era Mississippi. As volatile racial progress barrels forward, we witness one family’s downward spiral.
Saturday, July 25 at 8:00 p.m.
For Meryl, the bubble is finally bursting: she’s stuck in a loveless marriage, there are street-level protests raging day and night, and Dad’s dying upstairs from an incurable, unpronounceable disease. What’s to be done but drink the worries away? Long Division is a disaster-comedy depicting the cruel demise of the .0001%
Press Play performances engage JAW audiences before and after each staged reading. Performances are free and open to the public in various locations around the Gerding Theater at the Armory.

Mothers & Daughters: A cabaret with Susannah Mars and Merideth Kaye Clark
Friday, July 24, 3:00-4:00 p.m., Main Lobby
Mothers and Daughters; Merideth Kaye Clark and Susannah Mars are both. Take a peek into their process, as they create a playful and touching cabaret on this theme.

Éowyn Emerald & Dancers
Friday, July 24, 3:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., 7:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Audience will be led to the performance spaces.
Sign up at the concierge desk in the main lobby to participate.
Éowyn Emerald Barrett is a Canadian born choreographer and dancer, currently creating in Portland, Oregon, who was recently selected by The Times of London as “a talent to watch.” For JAW, she has developed a site specific work that explores two contrasting spaces in the beautiful Armory building; one is a bright and spacious kitchen, the other a dark and stormy hallway with unique lighting offering opportunities for shadow play.

The Seseisiunists
Friday, July 24, between 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. outside in the Vera Katz Sliver Park
The suh/se/shun/ists (noun): A high energy traditional Irish folk band with a twist! The Seseisiunists have collected tunes and songs from their Celtic heritage, and have taken them out of traditional Irish seisiuns and brought them into eclectic venues for everyone to enjoy. Beware: Dancing to their music is infectious. Slainte!
SubRosa Dance Collective’s The Process
Saturday, July 25, 3:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. in the mezzanine lobby
Cerrin Lathrop, of SubRosa Dance Collective, debuts her piece The Process at JAW. SubRosa dancer’s Kailee McMurran, Jessica Evans and Lena Traenkenschuh give the audience a glimpse into the rehearsal process and what the repetition, the exploration and the choreographer’s requests demand of dancers. From outside the glass room, observe the stress and joy of the choreographic process.

Stumptown Clown Productions’ Pat McKensie Presents …
Saturday, July 25, 3:00-4:00 p.m. outside in the Vera Katz Sliver Park
Pat runs a salon typically speaking … or atypically if you will. An artist shows up. Things don’t go as planned. An interactive experience brought to you by Stumptown Clown Productions with Emily June Newton and Wendy Allegaert.

Saturday, July 25, from 7:00-8:00 p.m. in the main lobby
POPgoji is a mash up of American pop/soul and infectious Brazilian beats. Fine-tuned vocal harmonies, layered percussion and unique strings pay tribute to spiritual traditions of the African diaspora. Recreating the community energy of a Rio-style pagode jam session, POPgoji packs dance floors with hot Afro-Brazilian dance rhythms and familiar lyrics.

8:30p Kick Off Event: Promising Playwrights Ellyn Bye Studio
FRIDAY, JULY 24, 2015
12-3p Artist Lab: Directing a Staged Reading with Rose Riordan Admission by Lottery
12-3p Artist Lab: Form Forward Playmaking with Boo Killebrew Admission by Lottery
3-4p Press Play: A cabaret with Susannah Mars and Merideth Kaye Clark Main Lobby
3p Press Play: Éowyn Emerald & Dancers Sign up at the concierge desk
3:30p Press Play: Éowyn Emerald & Dancers Sign up at the concierge desk
4 p.m. STAGED READING: Colchester by Adam Szymkowicz U.S. Bank Main Stage
7p Press Play: Éowyn Emerald & Dancers Sign up at the concierge desk
7:30p Press Play: Éowyn Emerald & Dancers Sign up at the concierge desk
7-8p Press Play: The Seseisiunists Vera Katz Sliver Park
8p STAGED READING: Wink by Jen Silverman U.S. Bank Main Stage
12-3p Artist Lab: Exploring Character and Conflict with Jen Silverman Admission by Lottery
3p Press Play: SubRosa Dance Collective’s The Process Mezzanine Lobby
3:30p Press Play: SubRosa Dance Collective’s The Process Mezzanine Lobby
3-4p Press Play: Stumptown Clown Productions’ Pat McKensie Presents Vera Katz Sliver Park
4p STAGED READING: Miller, Mississippi by Boo Killebrew U.S. Bank Main Stage
7-8p Press Play: POPgoji Main Lobby
8 p.m. STAGED READING: Long Division by James Presson U.S. Bank Main Stage

AGE RECOMMENDATION: JAW is recommended for high school age and up.

Since launching in 1999, JAW (short for Just Add Water) has created a space for playwrights to have complete creative control and the recourses to work on whatever they want. Each summer, four 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 later 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.
The JAW Festival Director is PCS Associate Artistic Director Rose Riordan, and her JAW team at PCS includes: Kelsey Tyler, JAW Festival Producer; Brandon Woolley, JAW Festival Assistant Director; Don Kenneth Mason, JAW Festival Company Manager; and Paul J. Susi, Education Programs Coordinator. By the Big Weekend, countless numbers of PCS staff and volunteers have brought their talents and energies to the final readings.

JAW: A Playwrights Festival is made possible in part by funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, Kinsman Foundation, Don and Mary Blair, and Ronni Lacroute/Willakenzie Estate. Additional support is provided by the Oregon Arts Commission and Regional Arts and Culture Council. Portland Center Stage’s season is funded in part by Season Superstars Tim and Mary Boyle and Lead Corporate Champion Umpqua Bank; Season Sponsors the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Oregon Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts, the Regional Arts and Culture Council, Work for Art, and Season Supporting Sponsor KINK FM. The Mark Spencer Hotel is the official hotel partner for Portland Center Stage. Portland Center Stage is a participant in The Wallace Foundation’s Building Audiences for Sustainability Initiative as well as the in the Audience (R)Evolution Program, funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and administered by Theatre Communications Group, the national organization for the professional not-for-profit American theater.

Portland Center Stage inspires our community by bringing stories to life in unexpected ways. Established in 1988 as a branch of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, PCS became an independent theater in 1994 and has been under the leadership of Artistic Director Chris Coleman since May 2000. The company presents a blend of classic, contemporary and original productions in a conscious effort to appeal to the eclectic palate of theatergoers in Portland. PCS also offers a variety of education and outreach programs for curious minds from six to 106, including discussions, classes, workshops and partnerships with organizations throughout the Portland metro area.
The Gerding Theater at the Armory houses the 590-seat U.S. Main Stage and the 190-seat black box Ellyn Bye Studio. It was the first building on the National Register of Historic Places, and the first performing arts venue, to achieve a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certification. The Gerding Theater at the Armory opened to the public on Oct. 1, 2006. The capital campaign to fund the renovation of this hub for community artistic activity continues.