Community Dream Productions To Present Deeply Human BLIND
WHO OWNS THE NEIGHBORHOOD?
NEW FERTILE GROUND WORK ASKS HARD QUESTIONS
On January 28 and 29, 2017, Fertile Ground audiences can see Blind, a staged reading of a new work by Portland playwright, Bonnie Ratner. Award-winning director, Bobby Bermea, is at the helm. Performances are at 1:00 p.m. on the 28 th and 7:30 p.m. on the 29th. The Saturday matinee performance is followed by a post-show conversation facilitated by The Color of Now, and the Sunday evening performance will be ASL interpreted. Performances are at Third Rail/Imago Theatre, 17 SE 8th Ave, Portland, OR 97214. The reading features popular Portland actors Jason Glick, Josie Seid, Danielle Weathers, Ted Schulz, Isabella Buckner, James Dixon and LaTevin Alexander.
Tickets are available online through Box Office Tickets: bit.ly/BLINDPDX
Though set in the mid-60s, Blind is a play for our time, speaking to the current climate of fear mongering, the fragility of the lives of African American young men, and the necessity for all of us to hold the mirror up to our own natures.
Harold Stein is trapped behind the locked door of his Brooklyn store, fearful of being robbed or worse. Once his dream, now the store is his cell. In his Long Island home, his wife, Sylvia, is also trapped -- partly by her own demons, but also by a culture that has denied her dreams. Stein has no answer for his wife's troubles or the chaos that will soon erupt around him.
In Brooklyn, Millie True teaches high school. Her son, Jimmy, is a Black Nationalist like his father, Millie's ex. Millie witnesses a young black man trying to get into Stein's store. She sees Stein deny the young man entrance because the Jewish merchants don't let in black men or boys by themselves. She intervenes, creating a chink in Stein's armor of fear and isolation.
Ratner says this is also a personal story that is based on true circumstances. "My father owned a shoe store in Brooklyn, and when I was coming of age politically in the 60's, I took him to task for making his living in the city and bringing the money back to the suburbs. He really did operate his shoe store behind a locked door. I was outraged." Ratner says she was all full of herself, as 20-somethings are when they awaken to the deep disparities of systems and societies. "I cut him no slack, but as I matured a little, I realized he had a story, too."
Blind started out as a contest-winning short story sponsored by a radio station in San Francisco. Ten years ago, it became a screenplay, and Judd Hirsch, the critically acclaimed actor, was attached to the project in the title role. The picture never got enough financing, and last year, with an ever growing consciousness of oppression in race, class and gender, Ratner turned it into a stage play.
Blind is supported by Third Rail Repertory, Ronni Lacroute and the Regional Arts and Culture