CoHo's New Adaptation of THE YELLOW WALLPAPER Begins Tonight
CoHo Productions' 20th Season continues with a new stage adaptation of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's THE YELLOW WALLPAPER, one of the most important American short stories of the 19th century. This world premiere production will integrate expressionistic audio, visual and movement interludes with the haunting literary text. Sue Mach's adaptation, conceived by Grace Carter and directed by Philip Cuomo, features Carter, Chris Harder and Christy Bigelow. The production runs tonight, January 13 - February 6, 2016.
Sue Mach is a Portland-based, nationally-produced, award-winning playwright, who has adapted the short story's first-person internal narrative with excerpts from Gilman's published letters and journals detailing her related struggles with mental health and gender inequality. Recently, Mach won the Oregon Book Award and an Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship, and a remarkable double header of two world premieres at once at Artists Repertory Theatre and Third Rail Repertory Theatre in 2012. She also teaches literature at Clackamas Community College - so her work "tackles dense social and political issues with the clarion voice of both a teacher and a formidable storyteller" (Portland Monthly).
This production of THE YELLOW WALLPAPER is impressively co-produced, conceived and performed by Grace Carter, the multi-talented co-founder of defunkt theatre. It is directed by Philip Cuomo, CoHo's own Producing Artistic Director and company member of Third Rail Repertory Theatre. Shining stars of Portland theatre Chris Harder and Christy Bigelow round out the cast, supported with movement direction by award-winning choreographer Paige McKinney (Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble). A visionary team of designers will transform CoHo's intimate blackbox theatre to a fully-immersive, elegant, raw space - bringing everyone inside the haunting room with THE YELLOW WALLPAPER.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman's short story follows Charlotte, a woman writer who is confined to a single bedroom with a bolted-down bed for three months in 1890 by her husband who is also her doctor as a "rest cure" for her postpartum depression and anxiety. Isolated and under-stimulated, Charlotte turns to an interior world of imagination, obsessing on the room's ghastly wallpaper until a trapped figure appears to her in the pattern. Is it a hallucination, ghost or animus -- a personification of her own trapped psyche? Be immersed in Charlotte's inner landscape to follow her journey through constraint to creativity and transformation.
THE YELLOW WALLPAPER previews January 13-14, 2016 and runs January 15 - February 6, 2016, playing Thursday - Saturday 7:30pm and Sunday 2pm at CoHo Theater 2257 NW Raleigh St. Portland. For tickets, visit www.cohoproductions.org or call box office at (503)-220-2646. Prices: $28 Adults' $22.50 Over 65/Under 30; $15 Thursdays and for Groups of 10+.
Sue Mach (Co-Producer/Playwright) has an MA in Playwriting from Boston University. Her first play, Monograms, was produced at Theatre for the New City in New York City, the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble in Bloomsburg, PA, Portland Repertory Theatre in Portland, OR, and the Icaras Theatre Ensemble in Ithaca, New York. The script, published by Rain City Press in Seattle, also received a Portland Drama Critics Circle Award. Her second play, Angle of View, was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award and received readings at Portland Repertory Theatre and Boston Playwrights' Theatre. For her third play, The Shadow Testament, she received a Woman Writers Fellowship from Literary Arts. This piece has been workshopped by Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland, OR, A Contemporary Theatre in Seattle, Boston Playwrights' Theatre, and JAW/West. It was produced by Portland World Theatre as part of The Fertile Ground Festival. Her play, The Difficult Season, a collaboration with renowned jazz pianist and songwriter Dave Frishberg, was workshopped at Artists Repertory Theatre. She was awarded a fellowship from Oregon Literary Arts, as well as the Oregon Book Award for her play, The Lost Boy, which was also part of Portland Center Stage's JAW/West development series and received its world premiere at Artists Repertory Theatre. Her latest play, A Noble Failure, received a world premiere at Third Rail Repertory Theatre. Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York also produced a staged reading. Additionally, Sue has received grants from the Regional Arts and Culture Commission, the Oregon Arts Commission, and the Oregon Council for the Humanities. She has been teaching literature and composition classes at Clackamas Community College for the past fifteen years.
Philip Cuomo (Director) is the Producing Artistic Director of CoHo Productions. For CoHo he co-produced and directed Crooked by Catherine Trieschmann (Drammy nomination) and has curated Summerfest 2015 and 2016. His directing credits with Third Rail Repertory Theatre include Or, by Liz Duffy Adams; Belleville by Amy Herzog;The Mystery of Irma Vep by Charles Lulam; Midsummer, a play with song; Penelope; and bobrauschenbergamerica. Other directing credits include Arabian Nights, Reckless, The Comedy of Errors, Big Love, Kimberly Akimbo, The Mail Order Bride, The Blue Room, Our Town, The Late Christopher Bean, Mere Moments, God's Ear, American Heroes, Treasure Island, Hermes Mother. He created and directed the clown shows Pas Deux Bits, Box O' Briefs, Exaggeration On A Theme, and Terrifying Shrubbery. He created and directed La Carpa Del Ausente and La Carpa Calavera (Drammy winner for outstanding achievement in directing) for Miracle Theatre in Portland. He was choreographer for Hand2Mouth's Blue and From A Dream to a Dream (a co-production with the Polish theatre company Stacja Szamocin), and was the choreographer for Third Rail's Noises Off, Number 3, Nobody Here But Us Chickens and Skull in Connemara. For Third Rail he oversaw the play development and directed A Noble Failure by Sue Mach. Philip's other work in play development includes Stay for Cake, Time Pieces and Thunder City by Scott Rogers; Farm Story by Jacklyn Maddux; and Renaissance and Good Citizen by George Taylor, which included staged readings at Artist Repertory Theatre and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. As an actor he has appeared at Lincoln Center, The Hartford Stage, The Civic Theatre of Central Florida, and in Portland with Third Rail, Artists Repertory Theatre, Shaking the Tree, and Imago Theatre. Philip is an adjunct faculty member at Portland State University and at The Institute For Contemporary Performance and a Third Rail core company member.
Grace Carter (Co-producer, Performer, Charlotte) has been producing, directing and performing theatre in Portland, Oregon for the past 15 years. As a co-founder of defunkt theatre in 2000, Grace has produced over 10 productions including 4.48 Psychosis (Drammy), Cowboys #2, Phaedra's Love, In Apparati, Attempts on Her Life, Fire Island and Herstory/History. Grace has also produced and directed 12 short films, screened at festivals including The PDX Fest and Oregon Biennial at Portland Art Museum. Most recently Grace was seen as a performer in The Children's Hour and The Homecoming, both at defunkt theatre.
Christy Bigelow (Performer, Jenny) has performed with various Portland theater companies including: Artists Repertory Theatre (Owen Meany's Christmas Pageant), Classic Greek Theatre of Oregon (title role in Antigone; Orestes), Theatre Vertigo (pool no water; The Ruby Sunrise); defunkt theatre (Precious Little; Three Days of Rain; Attempts On Her Life), Northwest Classical Theatre Company (Twelfth Night), Lakewood Theatre Company (Arcadia; Curate Shakespeare As You Like It; Three Musketeers; The Hollow) and The Reformers (The Revenants). Christy was also a company member, writer, and performer with Superego Sketch Comedy, skills which have served her well as a recurring performer on IFC's Portlandia. She is a proud graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (NY, Studio Program). (Fun fact: her first theater project with Grace Carter was for the multiple Drammy Award-winning production of 4.48 Psychosis at defunkt theatre).
Chris Harder (Performer: John) is honored to return to CoHo where past productions include: The Snowstorm, Fool for Love, Fishing For My Father and The Centering. Other theatre credits include: Intimate Apparel, Ten Chimneys, The History Boys, Chasing Empire's Soul (Artists Rep), Cyrano, Othello, The Receptionist, Antigone, JAW: Outrage, This Thing of Darkness, Auto Delete, Parts They Call Deep, Two Birds and a Stone, Five Minute Wars (Portland Center Stage), Mother Teresa is Dead, Angels in America, Twelfth Night (Portland Playhouse), The Turn of the Screw (Portland Shakespeare Project), Shining City (Third Rail), One Day (Sojourn.) Film/TV credits: Gus Van Sant's Restless, Extraordinary Measures with Harrison Ford, Everyman's War, Rid Of Me, Recovery, Music Within, Leverage, and Grimm. Chris was a founding member of the Sowelu Theatre Ensemble for seven seasons. He studied theatre at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and trained with Shakespeare & Co in Lenox, MA. Chris is a faculty member of Portland Actors Conservatory and offers private classes and coaching as a Resident Artist at Artists Repertory Theatre. www.chrisharder.com
Alison Heryer (Costume Designer) designs costumes for theatre, film and print. Her work as a costume designer includes productions at Steppenwolf Theatre, The New Victory Theatre, Portland Center Stage, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, ZACH Theatre, Redmoon Theater, and La MaMa. Recent awards include the Austin Critics Table Award for Costume Design and the ArtsKC Inspiration Grant. Heryer holds an MFA in Theatrical Design from the University of Texas at Austin and is a member of United Scenic Artists. She is currently the Assistant Professor of Costume Design in the School of Theater + Film at Portland State University.
Ron Mason Gassaway (Composer and Sound Designer) is a visual artist, composer and performer residing in Portland, OR. He has exhibited visual art at the ATA Gallery in San Francisco, the Portland Art Museum and the Taipei Biennial. He has composed music for nationally renowned filmmakers & theatre companies, in addition to co-founding the provocative group Party Killer, described as "colossal" by Julian Cope. He is also a co-founder of the dance music ensemble Muscle Beach, which contributed a recording to the Oregon Historical Society for their modern music anthology. Find out more at: ronmasongassaway.com
Paige McKinney (Movement Director) is a choreographer, dancer and actor. Her choreography has been produced by Ten Tiny Dances, the Richard Foreman Mini-Festival, the University of Oregon School of Music & Dance and in various showcases. She won a Drammy Award for best choreography for Sojourn Theatre's 7 Great Loves. Paige is an Associate Artist with Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble (PETE), with whom she performed in Song of the Dodo and R3, and served as movement director for The Three Sisters. Paige has danced with Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre NW, Linda Austin, Allie Hankins, Mary Oslund + Co., Gregg Bielemeier, POV Dance, and many others.
Dan Meeker (Lighting Designer) Previously at CoHo, Dan designed the lighting for Crooked and the set and lighting for Body Awareness. Recent credits include: lighting for Twist Your Dickens, scenery for The People's Republic of Portland and Red (Drammy Award), and the set and lighting for Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, The Typographer's Dream, LIZZIE (Drammy Award for Best Lighting), The Last Five Years, Bo-Nita, and The Mountaintop, all at Portland Center Stage; Lighting Director for the Pickathon Festival; lighting for The Other Place (Drammy nomination) and set and lighting for The Light in the Piazza, Detroit, Mother Teresa is Dead, The Huntsmen and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson at Portland Playhouse; scenery for Ramona Quimby and Fancy Nancy for Oregon Children's Theatre. Upcoming projects include: Mothers & Sons at Artists Repertory Theater, Peter & The Starcatcher at Portland Playhouse, James & The Giant Peach for OCT, and Eugene Onegin and L'Italiana in Algeri for Portland Opera. Daniel is a member of the faculty of Portland State University. He is a graduate of Ithaca College and the Yale School of Drama and a member of United Scenic Artists.
Stephen Slappe (Video Installation Designer) is an artist based in Portland, Oregon. Slappe's work has exhibited and screened internationally in venues such as Centre PompidouMetz (France), Portland Institute for Contemporary Art's TBA Festival, The Horse Hospital (London), The Sarai Media Lab (New Delhi), Consolidated Works (Seattle), Centre for Contemporary Art (Glasgow), and Artists Television Access (San Francisco). His projects have been funded by multiple grants from the Regional Arts and Culture Council of Portland and an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Oregon Arts Commission. Slappe is an Associate Professor of Video & Sound at Pacific Northwest College of Art. He is an active curator and programmer of video and film exhibitions including Subduction Zone at The Front (New Orleans) and Out of the Great Northwest at The Horse Hospital (London). Slappe programs theatrical screenings out of his collection of 16mm films including Rolling Deep: Skateboarding Films 19651980, Static Age: The Culture of Early Television, and Dial D for Design. His most recent project is an iOS app entitled 8, available on iTunes.
Bill Tripp (Scenic Designer) is a Portland architect, artist and theater set designer. His latest set was for Push Leg Theatre Company's original performance Nighthawks. Prior to that, Bill designed the sets for Three Days of Rain and The Homecoming, both for defunkt theatre. He also designed the set for Camille Cettina's one-woman show Mr. Darcy Dreamboat in CoHo's Summerfest 2013 Previous credits include Vertigo Theatre's The Love of The Nightingale; Verb - Love's Labors: Lost & Found by Portland Arts & Lectures; and defunkt theatre's Attempts on Her Life, Glengarry Glen Ross, Back Bog Beast Bait, 4.48 psychosis, Fourteen Hundred Thousand & Mud; and Killing Game, for which he won the 2005 Drammy Award for Scenic Design.
Amy Katrina Bryan (Stage Manager) made her sound design and stage management debut with Katie Watkin's solo show Schizo at Shaking the Tree Theater and NWCT. Amy is also a Drammy-winning playwright and actress whose solo show The Amy Show recently finished a tour with Portland Playhouse through local high school and college theater departments.
For 20 years, CoHo Productions has pioneered artist led co-production as a model of creating theatre. Each season, CoHo solicits scripts and project proposals from Portland's community of theatre professionals and selects three to produce in partnership. The artistic vision is democratic, reflecting the tastes of the Portland theatre community. Seasons are diverse and unpredictable; the sole quality nurtured and insisted on is excellence.
Pictured: THE YELLOW WALLPAPER. Grace Carter. Photo by Holly Andres.