Portland Center Stage's annual JAW: A Playwrights Festival—in which scripts selected from hundreds of submissions are subjected two weeks of intensive workshopping, then presented, for free, in a weekend of staged readings—is one of my most-anticipated cultural events every summer. (Also on that short list: Pickathon and Trek in the Park, both happening next weekend.)
JAW kicks off tonight with a show called "Made in Oregon," eight short plays from Oregon playwrights, and continues through Sunday. I wrote an article in this week's paper breaking down the scripts and playwrights featured this weekend, but here are the shows I'm most interested in:
San Diego by Adam Bock—Bock wrote The Receptionist, one of my favorite Portland productions over the years for its neat balance of humor, office-life observations, and an unexpected banality-of-evil conclusion that took aim at post-9/11 info-gathering techniques. I'm really curious to see what his new show looks like.
Broken Stones by Fin Kennedy—A show about the looting of the Baghdad Museum during the Iraq War, and the illicit antiquities trade in general. UK playwright Finn Kennedy wrote How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found, a really smart, interesting show that ran at PCS a few years ago.
The People's Republic of Portland by Lauren Weedman—Okay... my interest in this one-woman show is driven more by morbid curiosity than anything else. Already part of PCS's 2012/2013 season, I'm just not sure what else there is to say about how ridiculous Portland is.
Here's the full schedule of weekend events.