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Portland Center Stage Announces JAW Festival Lineup

The online and in-person fest will feature works from Inda Craig-Galván, Ty Defoe, Rinne Groff, and Kate Hamill.

PORTLAND, ORE.: Portland Center Stage (PCS) has announced the lineup for its annual JAW New Play Festival, happening online and in person July 23-25. The free festival will feature readings of four new scripts from playwrights Inda Craig-Galván, Ty Defoe, Rinne Groff, and Kate Hamill, as well as classes and performances from local artists.

“We are honored to support the buoyant, exciting work of these four incredible writers with our 2021 JAW New Play Festival,” said artistic director Marissa Wolf in a statement. “This hybrid festival of in-person and virtual offerings is a profound way to celebrate new plays as an essential part of PCS’s future.”

Additionally, the festival will include readings of commissioned short scripts from local teen playwrights Natalia Bermudez, Moss Johnson, Aaron Leonard-Graham, Becca McCormick, and Nevaeh Warren. Around the readings, the festival will feature Press Play performances from local artists Sarah Clarke, Rich Hunter, Latoya Lovely, and students from STEPS PDX, as well as a showcase presented by Jesus Rodales of Find A Way, which will see a variety of local dance crews performing street, club, and urban dance styles.

The festival readings open with Ty Defoe’s Trans World (July 23), which blurs the lines between pretend and real drama as it follows seven trans individuals chosen to temporarily live in a house and be filmed non-stop for a new reality television show. Dominique Rider will direct.

Next up will be A Hit Dog Will Holler (July 24), by Inda Craig-Galván, about the unlikely bond between an agoraphobic political commenter who lives her life online and the boots-on-the-ground activist who invades her home.

Ms. Holmes & Ms. Watson (July 24), by Kate Hamill, will follow. This modern, farcical take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective duo follows female roommates Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Joan Watson as they face off with professor James Moriarty. José Zayas will direct.

Saturday’s offerings will include the JAW Teen Playwrights Showcase (July 25), directed by Margot Bordelon. These five teen playwrights have developed their eight- to 10-minute plays over three weeks under the mentorship of playwrights Anya Pearson and Sara Jean Accuardi.

The festival readings will conclude with Rinne Groff’s The Red Beads (July 25), based on The Singer of His Sorrows by Osip Dymov, as adapted by Adrian Guo-Silver and Groff from a translation by Guo-Silver. Drawn from a great tale of the Yiddish theatre, this play follows along as a father’s bedtime story magically comes to life and his young daughter is dropped into the world of a poor shtetl poet desperately in love with a woman who spurns him. Johanna Gruenhut will direct.

JAW, launched in 1999, has developed 87 scripts, which 19 JAW plays receiving fully staged productions at PCS. JAW is a space for playwrights to have complete creative control as well as the resources needed to work on whatever they’d like to develop in their scripts.

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