For the uninitiated, JAW is a festival put on by Portland Center Stage (PCS) to foster the development of new work: Each year, four scripts-in-progress are selected from a pool of applications, and the winning playwrights are paired with directors and dramaturges who spend 10 days working together on the scripts, preparing for their world premieres at the end of the festival.
And the end is nigh: On Saturday and Sunday, July 19 and 20, audiences will have the chance to catch staged workshop readings of the four freshly polished plays.
One much-hyped script comes courtesy of everyone's favorite Rockstar: Supernova contestant: Storm Large is developing her original, one-woman show Crazy Enough, directed by PCS Artistic Director Chris Coleman. Large made her PCS debut last fall as Sally Bowles in Cabaret, an inspired bit of casting that resulted in an uneven but compelling performance, and she'll be hitting the PCS stage again in the spring, when Crazy Enough gets a full production. Haters take note: The backstage rumblings on this have been nothing but good.
Although the workshop readings are at the festival's core, there's more to it than that. Also on the agenda: The Playwrights Slam, a two-part curated event, which PCS Publicity Director Trisha Pancio explains as follows: "PCS' playgroup challenged themselves to write a 10-minute play celebrating JAW's 10th anniversary. But they did it in the style of an Exquisite Corpse (you know that old writing game where you write two lines of a poem and then fold the paper so the next writer can only see one of the lines that came before?). The finished product evidently contains a disproportionate amount of zombies...."
Pancio continues, "Part two is a string of brief readings from plays being produced in the upcoming season in Portland, in most cases with the playwright reading from their own work."
Other weekend haps include a performance by the PDX Flash Choir, an installation by 2GQ and Tiffany Lee Brown, and a theater fair, where all of Portland's drama-nerd types will congregate to meet audiences, mingle, and share information about their upcoming seasons. It's all free, and for what it's worth, the Armory's air conditioning is tiptop.