There are a lot of really promising shows opening this weekend, and a backdoor way to get into a few of 'em for cheap with a Fertile Ground festival pass—the ten-day festival of new work doesn't officially kick off until next weekend, but once it does a pass will get you into any participating show, including big ones from PCS and Artists Rep. (If you're not familiar with Fertile Ground, here's a boostery article I wrote a few years ago explaining it in some detail. Nutshell: It's an uncurated festival that promotes the development of new theatrical work; it features a lot of unknown or first-time artists, but there are enough established companies participating this year to make the purchase of a $50 festival pass a great deal even if all you see are shows from Portland Center Stage, Artists Rep, and Portland Playhouse. There are also some very promising smaller shows, which I'll break down in a later post.)
Anyway, here's what you can look forward to this weekend:
Collapse—Third Rail Repertory presents Collapse, a comedy of loss and recovery, about becoming a drug mule as a valid secondary job choice.
Winningstad Theatre, PCPA, 1111 SW Broadway, Thurs-Sat 7:30 pm, Sun 2 pm, through Jan 28, $14.50-34.25
(I Am Still) The Duchess of Malfi—Artists Rep premieres a re-imagining of John Webster's classic tale of murder, sex, and betrayal. This one promises is a heavy hand with sex, gore, and splatter. Part of Fertile Ground 2012.
Artists Repertory Theatre, 1515 SW Morrison, $25-40, see website for dates and showtimes, through Feb 12
North Plan—Portland Center Stage presents the story of a government bureaucrat being hunted into the Ozarks, where his only allies are alcoholic recidivists who believe Lynyrd Skynyrd should be on American currency. Part of Fertile Ground 2012.
Gerding Theater at the Armory, 128 NW 11th, various dates and showtimes through Feb 4
Near to the Wild Heart—The first show from the new Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble—made up of former members of Fever Theatre—is described in the press release as a "dance monologue" inspired by the work of female artists. Sounds sketchy, except that I really loved the last dance-y show these three did together, Smiling in the Dark/Alone Together (that was produced under the Fever Theater banner, but developed by the three artists—Kate Sanderson Holly, Jacob Coleman, and Amber Whitehall—who now comprise PETE).
Conduit Dance Ballroom, 918 SW Yamhill, Thurs-Sun 8 pm, through Jan 22, $15
B'aktun 13—The Miracle's new show introduces three Latinos who are deported in an ICE raid, and then transforms them into deities as prophecies and visions become realities. Part of Fertile Ground 2012.
Miracle Theatre, 525 SE Stark, opens tonight, runs Thurs 7:30 pm, Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, through Jan 24, $12-24
Also on Saturday, Action/Adventure Theatre—best known for the long-running serial Fall of the House—are hosting a party to show off their new venue. My conflicts-of-interest here are legion, but the party promises music from the outstandingly fun DJ Cooky Parker + free beer, which are things enjoyed by most right-minded humans. That's at 1050 SE Clinton, 7:30 pm, $10-$20 suggested donation