02-22-2019  12:13 am      •     
JAW 2017 Promising Playwrights (L-R) Bowen Hampton, Emily Smith, Lydia Fecker, Kaleb Black, Alexandria Goddard and Nathan Smith. (Photo courtesy of Portland Center Stage)
Portland Center Stage at The Armory
Published: 02 July 2018

This July, Portland Center Stage at The Armory celebrates the 20th Anniversary of JAW: A Playwrights Festival. The two-week festival — during which artists from across the country collaborate to workshop and develop exciting new scripts — culminates in the Big Weekend of free staged readings, along with community classes, dance, music, and other events at The Armory.

JAW’s BIG 2-0H brings the work of four dynamic playwrights to Portland. Meghan Brown serves up power, complicity, pleasure, fear ... and food ... with her outrageously funny play The Tasters. Clarence Coo presents an unusual yet entirely understandable preference to jays, sparrows and warblers over humans with The Birds of Empathy. Emily Feldman challenges the way we hear women’s stories, using humor and arresting imagery in Pick a Color. Finally, Matthew Paul Olmos brings magical realism and visceral theatricality together to explore how children are impacted by complicated adult fears in three girls never learnt the way home.

Developing short scripts alongside these seasoned playwrights are the JAW Promising Playwrights, local high school students from Portland Center Stage at The Armory’s Visions & Voices program, who have been commissioned to write new scripts for the festival’s kickoff event.

The JAW Big Weekend is July 27-29.

Free public readings of scripts in development will be presented at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, July 28 and 29. The JAW kickoff event will be held at 8 p.m. on Friday, July 27, featuring the work of this year’s Promising Playwrights. Surrounding the staged readings is JAW’s Press Play series, offering a slew of events and performances from local artists, including Michael Galen, Shannon Sims, Subashini Ganesan and more, and JAW’s Community Artist Labs, providing a chance to dig deeper into the theatrical process with members of the JAW company.

As always, JAW is free and open to the public.

For more information visit www.pcs.org/jaw

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