R3 at PETE
  • antonio escalantes
  • R3 at PETE

The Fertile Ground Festival doesn't officially begin until January 24, but a handful of companies have either already opened shows, or will get into the game this weekend.

Fertile Ground is a festival of "Portland-generated new works," which means original premieres of locally created theater and dance. Now in its fourth year, the festival has garnered the support of the city's major theaters, all of whom have participated at some point, and it's also come to provide a swift dose of motivation for performers at any level to actually get it together and make that show they've been talking about.

A festival pass will run you $50, which is pretty damn good considering that even if you only stick to the festival's upper canopy (!! the plant puns are just irresistible), your pass'll get you into A Noble Failure at Third Rail and The Lost Boy at Artists Rep (I didn't much care for either of them, but... you might!); The Huntsmen at Portland Playhouse, a musical about a teenaged serial killer; and Something's Got Ahold of My Heart at Hand2Mouth, which recently premiered in New York—I'm really looking forward to seeing that in its final(ish) form.

I am not going to do the math on how much it would cost to buy individual tickets for those shows, but it's a whole lot more than $50.

The festival gets going in earnest on Jan 24, but A Noble Failure and The Lost Boy opened last weekend (reviews here), and The Huntsmen kicks off on Saturday, with preview show tonight and tomorrow. Also opening this weekend, R3, a retelling of Richard the Third, at the Portland Experimental Theater Ensemble.

We'll have more on the festival's must-sees in next week's paper! In the meantime, you can find ticketing and festival pass info here.