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The Young Professionals Company at OCT Presents PESTILENCE: WOW!

Pestilence:Wow! will perform Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays October 28 through November 13 at Cerimon House.

The Young Professionals Company at OCT Presents PESTILENCE: WOW!

The Young Professionals Company at Oregon Children's Theatre (OCT) will present Pestilence:Wow!, a dark comedy set in France in 1348 where a third of the population has been wiped out by the Bubonic Plague. Part reality television, part psychedelic fever dream, this is a play about humans and the way we deal with real, actual tragedy: totally inadequately.

This production is the first in the Young Professionals' (YPs) 2022-2023 season and was chosen by a play selection committee made up of YP members. "Pestilence:Wow! is so relevant to the YP Company because of how it manages to portray current issues through both comedy and art," explained YP Allie Jaffe, who serves on the selection committee and will also be performing in the production. "During or following a crisis, whether it be the plague or COVID-19, it is more important than ever for people to come together."

"I'm always impressed with the YPs desire to take on new challenges," commented YP Artistic Director Dani Baldwin, "but I was particularly excited to see them choose this play. The combination of training opportunities and subject matter in the show are such a gift to work with, and its relevancy in today's culture shows that the teens are willing to take on topics that might be seen as more controversial."

Pestilence:Wow! is an absurdist-style production written by Savannah Reich, a playwright and screenwriter based in Philadelphia. The production debuted at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival in September 2018. The play examines how society responds to-and who is responsible for-crisis and tragedy, told through the lens of a bizarre reality competition show. "It's hard to describe the show and truly give it justice," explained Baldwin. "It is definitely absurd and dark, with an over-the-top show host in roller skates, and contestants participating in strange (perhaps irrelevant) challenges, all while examining historical and cultural nuance. It is a unique, hilarious, thought-provoking script and deceptively challenging! I cannot wait to see how the YPs bring it to life on stage."

In addition to serving as Artistic Director for the Young Professionals Company, Baldwin is also directing Pestilence:Wow!, after having previously directed shows for OCT including A Year with Frog & Toad and the YP Production of Jasper in Deadland. The production features teen actors Oliver Chally, Emma Fonseca Halverson, Allie Jaffe, Jason Nuesa, Aiden Shafiuzzaman, Ruth Siviglia, Ryder Thompson, and Max Young.

Pestilence:Wow! will perform Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays October 28 through November 13 at Cerimon House, located at 5131 NE 23rd Ave, Portland. Tickets are $12 for students and $18 for adults when purchased in advance; tickets are $15/$20 when purchased at the door. Due to historically-relevant language, including derogatory phrases and antisemitic comments, the show is recommended for ages 14 and up. More Information and tickets are available for purchase at octc.org/pestilence-wow.



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