Make/Believe

PortFringe is back with 50+ performances over six days and nights
By MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  June 25, 2014

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Réne Johnson’s one-woman show geel

Portland is already in the thick of the PortFringe 2014, the city’s third annual festival of eclectic, wide-ranging theater from here and afar. This year’s festival of 50 shows runs June 24-29 at six venues — Empire, Geno’s, Mayo Street Arts, SPACE Gallery, and the Portland Stage Studio Theater and Storefront — and includes a first-ever Family Fringe program.

The intent of PF remains the same as at its inception, says PF organizer Stacey Koloski: to offer a “safe, low-risk opportunity for performance artists to create their work in Portland,” and provide each artist with a venue, marketing, box office services, and 100 percent of box office profits.

This year’s offerings, she says, feature a particular bounty of puppets, dance and movement works, and music-driven shows. The program spans both traditional and experimental forms, and Koloski stresses that the term “fringe festival” is not a code-phrase for obscenity. “There’s literally something for everyone,” she says. “And we have that bawdy, irreverent, naked, and obscene stuff, too.”

Single- and multiple-show PF passes are available at all venue box offices pre-show, and at Coffee By Design throughout the festival. All passes are cash-only and all-rush. See portfringe.com for the skinny.

And here’s a round-up of all PF-14 shows:

The kid-friendly Family Fringe Festival includes Brecht for and by kids in The Abandoned Doll (Allison McCall and Brittany Cook); make-you-own-musical-theater in We Run the Ship (Mohawk Arts Collective); Australian adventure in Dream Time Down Under (Roger James Kuhns); card-cheating corpses in The Lonely Universe Guide to the Other Side (Lynne Cullen and Janet Lynch); and a percussion-enhanced raconteur in Story Drum (Katy Rydell and Meredythe Lindsey).

Oodles of puppets and multimedia acts include the Improvised Puppet Project’s Happy Endings; the shadow-puppets and video of Sure-Minded Uncertainties (Cave Dogs); and the puppet bread-breaking of What I Remember About the Day I Forgot (The Kneading Collective).

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a fleeting moment from Improvised Puppet Project’s Happy Endings

One-person shows include Réne Johnson’s geel, which explores trauma; Donel critiques industrialized society à la Amiri Baraka in A New Day; and Israel Buffardi soliloquizes on various hungers in Réflections d’un hédoniste râleur (Reflections of a very hungry Frenchman).

Improv comedy includes shows by the Portland Comedy Co-op and the Turkey Club’s Spontaneous Night of Improv Comedy.

Travel tales include Depression-era rambling, in Fish Bones: Crummies, Deadheads, and Knights of the Road (Mystery Jig Productions); and a guru-search, in Tough Love (Catherine Wright).

Historical and documentary-infused shows have taken pages from the Burroughs obscenity hearing, in The Boston Trial of Naked Lunch (Tim Ferrell); interviews with former frat brothers in C- (Eric Jaffe); threats to pachyderms, in Elephant in the Room (Grace Fosler); scheming researchers, in The Scientists (Merkins, Daniello and Sons); a subversive artist, in Serial Killers, Country Music and Pickled Punks: Joe Coleman in Vignettes (Curtained Productions); the first American serial killer, in Untimely Ripped (Tandem Theatre Company); and the woman who shot Andy Warhol, in Valerie Solanas At Matteawan (Cauldron & Labrys Productions).

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Valerie Solanas At Matteawan (Cauldron & Labrys Productions)

Two modern classics are in the line-up: Beckett’s exquisite Come and Go (Stacey Koloski), and Mamet’s Sexual Perversity in Chicago (Ellipsis Productions).

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