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Proscenium Live Free Festival of New Work Arrives from Portland Shakes & Proscenium Journal

Proscenium Live Free Festival of New Work Arrives from Portland Shakes & Proscenium JournalPortland Shakespeare Project and Proscenium Journal, in association with Artists Repertory Theatre, present the third annual Proscenium Live Festival of New Work. All performances are free and begin at 7:30pm on Artists Rep's Alder Stage.

The 2017 festival will offer new plays each night featuring five outstanding playwrights. Full-length plays will be presented on Friday, August 4 and Saturday August, 5; three short plays commissioned by Portland Shakes and Proscenium Journal will be offered on Sunday, August 6. The three-night festival features new plays written by award-winning playwrights Steve Rathje , C.S. Whitcomb, Aleks Merilo, Susan Mach and Patrick Wohlmut and are performed in a staged reading format featuring more than a dozen of Portland's most talented actors on Artists Rep's Alder Stage.

The festival is supported in part by an Ozy Genius Award, awarded to Steve Rathje by Ozy Media, and by Portland Shakespeare Project.

Proscenium Live Festival of New Work 2017

VENUE: Artists Repertory Theatre, Alder Stage, 1516 SW Alder St., Portland

DATES: August 4-6, 2017

PERFORMANCES: Friday - Sunday @ 7:30pm


August 4 @ 7:30pm Signs by Steve Rathje. Directed by Michael Mendelson.

August 5 @ 7:30pm Santos by C.S. Whitcomb. Directed by Michael Mendelson.

August 6 @ 7:30pm A Maiden of Venice by Aleks Merilo. Directed by Josh Rippy.
Coyote Play by Susan Mach. Directed by Josh Rippy.
Patchwork Dreams by Patrick Wohlmut. Directed by Brenda Hubbard.

TICKETS: FREE - General admission seating, no reservations


August 4 @ 7:30pm: Artists Repertory Theatre's Table|Room|Stage Oregon Play Prize Winner
Signs by Steve Rathje

Directed by Michael Mendelson

Cast: Chris Harder*, Crystal Muñoz*, Sarah Overman*, Claire Rigsby, Joshua J. Weinstein*

Signs is a surrealistic comedy about love, purpose and the little things that seem to matter so much to us. April reads horoscopes. Lydia writes horoscopes. April reads them devoutly, using them to guide her life choices. Lydia just makes them up, using the money she makes from them to support herself while she completes her novel. When April comes in contact with Lydia, the all-too-familiar force who has been transcribing April's fate through her horoscopes all along, the story turns upside down.

Steve's recent play Signs is winner of the $10,000 Oregon New Play Prize and is being developed and produced at Artists Repertory Theatre. Signs was also a finalist for the National Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference. Steve's plays have been published by Samuel French, Inc. and Dramatics Magazine, and have been produced at Portland's Fertile Ground Festival of New Works, the International Thespian Conference, Stanford University, and more. Steve won first place in Stanford's Bocock/Guerard Fiction Writing Prize for his new play The Placebo Addict, and has also been recognized by the International Thespian Playworks Competition and YoungArts. Steve studies Psychology, Symbolic Systems, and Creative Writing at Stanford University.

August 5 @ 7:30pm

Santos by C.S. Whitcomb

Directed by Michael Mendelson

Cast: Claire Aldridge, Bobby Bermea*, Michel Castillo, Anthony Green, Matt Sepeda, Julana Torres, Lolly Ward*, Danielle Weathers*, Mamie Wilhelm

Santos is a new play set in Pasadena, California, circa 1968. Rafael Santos, in his heart, is

Don Quixote, but in the real world is just trying to get cast as a bandito bit player while teaching high school drama and keeping his family together. A comedy with a side of tango.

C.S. Whitcomb wrote last year's Proscenium Live offering Dracula's Father (Stoker). Whitcomb was commissioned by Portland Shakespeare Project to write Lear's Follies, presented in 2012. Recently produced in Portland have been her plays Seven Wonders of Ballyknock (Lakewood Theatre) and Holidazed (with Marc Acito, Artists Repertory Theatre). She has been nominated for the Angus Bowmer, Emmy, Drammy, Edgar Allan Poe and Writers Guild Awards. She has written roles for Jason Robards, Ellen Burstyn, Anjelica Huston, Martin Sheen, Gena Rowlands and many others. Her play Parnassus on Wheels will be produced at Lakewood Theatre beginning in January 2018.

August 6 @ 7:30pm: Three new plays, commissioned by Portland Shakes and Proscenium Journal
A Maiden of Venice by Aleks Merilo

Directed by Josh Rippy

Cast: John Corr, Chris Kazamar*, Claire Rigsby

In the walled Jewish Ghetto of Venice, a girl comes of age with only her money-lender father to guide her. When her father lashes back at men who have persecuted him, she is forced to choose between love, faith, and the debts we owe to family. A Maiden of Venice an adaptation of Shakespeare's most controversial play, told from the point of view of the Shylock's daughter, Jessica.

Aleks Merilo is an award winning and internationally produced playwright from Palo Alto, CA. His script, The Snowmaker, was winner of the Playwrights First Award, Winner of The Chameleon Theatre Circles New Play Contest, and Playhouse on The Square's New Works @ The Works Festival, and was a finalist for the Oregon Play Prize. His play, The Widow of Tom's Hill, played Off-Broadway at 59E59, where Broadway World called it "A truly distinctive piece of theater." His play, Exit 27, was called "The best original play to be produced this season" by the Houston Chronicle, and was voted best new play by Broadway World, Houston. He has an MFA in playwriting from UCLA, and lives in the Pacific Northwest. He is represented by the Robert A. Freedman Dramatic Agency.

Coyote Play by Susan Mach

Directed by Josh Rippy

Cast: Bobby Bermea*, Lauren Hanover*, Steve Rathje, Samson Syharath, Danielle Weathers*, Mamie Wilhelm

Coyote Play (Working Title) is a contemporary re-imagining of the French-Romanian playwright Eugene Ionesco's Rhinoceros, an absurdist piece which examines the normalization of Fascism.

Sue Mach's plays have been produced by Theatre for the New City in New York, Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, Portland Repertory Theatre, Icaras Theatre Ensemble, Artists Repertory Theatre, Third Rail Repertory Theatre, and CoHo Theatre. Her plays Angle of View, A Noble Failure, and The Yellow Wallpaper have all been finalists for the Oregon Book Award. She won the Oregon Book Award for The Lost Boy.

Patchwork Dreams by Patrick Wohlmut

Directed by Brenda Hubbard

Cast: John Corr, Robert Hamm*, Sarah Overman*, Steve Rathje, Lolly Ward*

Penny is a Patchwork: an automated, obedient servant created from the bodies of deceased people. But when an accident results in the development of consciousness, Penny becomes something much more complex, problematic, and potentially terrifying - not just to others, but to herself.

Patrick Wohlmut's writing has been produced by several companies in Portland. His play, Continuum, was a winning commission from Portland Center Stage and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and was featured at PCS's JAW Festival in 2011. It went on to be produced by Playwrights West - of which Patrick is a member emeritus - in 2012. His play, The Waves, was written for Southwest Stageworks at Wilson High School via the Teen West Project and was performed there in February 2014. He has also been a contributing writer to two productions at Shaking the Tree Theatre: 2011's The Tripping Point and 2014's Masque of the Red Death. He lives in Southeast Portland with his wife and two children.

*Member, Actors' Equity Association, the professional union of actors and stage managers.


Portland Shakes is a nonprofit theatre company in residence at Artists Repertory Theatre dedicated to educating, enriching and entertaining audiences by producing classical works and contemporary works associated with classical material. Since its founding in 2010 by Michael Mendelson and Karen Rathje, more than 4,500 people have enjoyed the company's productions of William Shakespeare's As You Like It, King Lear, The Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest, Twelfth Night and The Turn of the Screw, as well as a many audience enrichment and education events. More information at


Proscenium is the first free literary journal dedicated to publishing plays. Proscenium publications are free of charge and readily accessible online, allowing playwrights to share their work with a large, web-based audience. Proscenium Journal's mission is to support emerging playwrights, make new plays easier to discover, and make theatre easily accessible to new and wider audiences.

Proscenium Journal: Supporting playwrights. Encouraging discovery. Making theatre accessible. More information at

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