HIGH POINTS, MIDDLE POINTS, and low points from weekend one of Fertile Ground, a citywide festival of new performance.
Hand2Mouth Theatre, My Mind Is Like an Open Meadow—Erin Leddy based this solo show on conversations she had with her grandmother. It's a highly personal show—about memory and family and the inevitability of death and decline—that intelligently incorporates recorded interviews along with music and dance.
Action/Adventure Theatre, Captured by Aliens!—The premise sounds labored: It's a reality show set on a spaceship, engineered by aliens eager to learn about humankind. But Captured is a fine, funny show that makes good use of reality TV trappings, with squeaky-voiced aliens providing absurd counterpoints to the characters' alliance building and backstabbing. Overall, the show is even funnier than the ensemble's popular Fall of the House.
Portland Playhouse, The Missing Pieces—Set in Portland in 1980, The Missing Pieces is about a kid from a broken home who decides that the solution to his problems is to go live with Hugh Hefner—so he and his slacker brother track down an aging Bunny who happens to live in the area, who also happens to be Hugh Hefner's long-lost love. Portland Playhouse knows how to produce a solid show, but for the life of me I can't see the appeal in this ridiculous script.