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PDX Playwrights Presents 27 plays by 26 diverse, emerging playwrights – several of them from Camas and Clark County – in 15 separately ticketed events (9 different runs-of-show) in 10 days!

PDX Playwrights returns for its tenth consecutive year as Fertile Ground’s “Festival Within the Festival,” presenting works ranging from ten-minute shorts and one-acts to musicals and full-length performances. About half the shows are off-book performances, with the remainder being presented as staged readings.

All shows will be performed at Hipbone Studios, 1847 E. Burnside St., Portland, OR. All tickets are $10, available at fertilegroundpdx.org  or at the door (unless sold out).

Camas’s own Gary Corbin, known primarily in recent years from his mystery and crime novels such as Lying in Judgment and The Mountain Man’s Badge, acts as PDXP’s “Producer in Chief,” overseeing production of all 27 of PDXP’s Fertile Ground shows. He contributed a ten-minute comedy, “Streaming Jesus,” to the group’s “Daisy Dukes Shorts Night” premiering January 25, and serves as the Festival’s pass coordinator and box office guru.

Other Clark County-based PDXP contributors include Camas’s Louise Wynn, who contributed a ten-minute piece to “Daisy Dukes” entitled “Toaster,” and Vancouver’s Dale Payne, with a full-length dramatic comedy, “The Sequelz.”

In addition to PDXP contributions, Camas resident Nicole Lane acts as overall Festival Director for Fertile Ground.

Highlights of PDXP’s lineup include the return of its flagship show, the “Daisy Dukes Shorts Night,” a collection of nine “short-shorts” all inspired by a common theme. This year’s theme, “The Disconnect,” inspired nearly 30 submissions, with nine selected by a blind jury, all directed by William Barry and performed by a 6-member ensemble cast. The show runs for only two performances, including kicking off PDXP’s run on Friday, January 25 at 7 PM, and a reprisal performance on Friday, February 1 at 9 PM.

The lineup also includes the third consecutive year of PDXP’s “Crazy Dukes Instant Play Festival,” where six playwrights selected by producer Katie Bennett will develop ten-minute plays in 48 hours based on random casting assignments and four prompts obtained from the “Daisy Dukes” audience on Friday January 25. This popular show runs only once, on Sunday, January 27, at 7 PM.

PDXP also presents seven “co-produced” shows with playwrights from among its hard-working ranks of emerging voices in Portland theatre. PDXP takes care of logistical issues such as venue (Hipbone Studio, 1847 E. Burnside), ticketing and box office, concessions, promotion assistance, casting assistance, and an army of show-night volunteers, while co-producers do the heavy lifting on the creative side: writing, directing, rehearsing, and performing the show.

Co-producers in 2019 include veteran PDXP Fertile Grounders such as Brad Bolchunos, Karen Polinsky, Redmond Reams, Gary Corbin, as well as newcomers Rebecca Petchenik, Olivia MacFadden, Caitlin Beckwith-Ferguson, Tracy Locke, Johanna Courtleigh, and Dale Payne.

Playwright

About PDX Playwrights

PDX Playwrights is a group for playwrights who want to meet, hear their scripts read aloud, and share feedback in a welcoming, constructive environment. We welcome playwrights at all stages of their career, from beginners to seasoned veterans.

Typically we have about twenty people at each meeting: playwrights, actors, and friends. Plays are read aloud by whomever is at the table that night (which may include actors recruited by the playwright). Our regular readings occur on the first Tuesdays and third Tuesdays of each month and are open to anyone who enjoys hearing new stage work being read aloud.

We also hold “Fifth Tuesday” workshops when applicable. These are open to anyone interested in developing their craft learning more about PDX Playwrights.

 

Vancouver, WA — Journey Theater Arts Group presents Disney’s “The Lion King Jr,” which will run for two weekends, November 16-25 at Fort Vancouver High School.

A lively stage adaptation of the Academy Award-winning 1994 Disney animated film, “The Lion King Jr.” is the story of a young lion prince living in the flourishing African Pride Lands. Born into the royal family, precocious cub Simba spends his days exploring the sprawling savanna grasslands and idolizing his kingly father, Mufasa, while youthfully shirking the responsibility his position in life requires. When an unthinkable tragedy, orchestrated by Simba’s wicked uncle, Scar, takes his father’s life, Simba flees the Pride Lands, leaving his loss and the life he knew behind. Eventually companioned by two hilarious and unlikely friends, Simba starts anew. But when weight of responsibility and a desperate plea from the now ravaged Pride Lands come to find the adult prince, Simba must take on a formidable enemy, and fulfill his destiny to be king. With music and lyrics by Elton John and Tim Rice, additional music and lyrics by Lebo M., Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, and Hans Zimmer, and book by Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi, Julie Taymor’s vision has been brought to life for audiences all over the world.

Performances are November 16-25, 2018 at Fort Vancouver High School, 5700 E 18th St, Vancouver, WA 98661.   Tickets are on sale now at journeytheater.org or by calling 360.750.8550.  Pre-sale adult tickets are $12.  Youth and senior tickets are $10. Tickets for all performances will be $4 more at the door.  Saturday November 17 is family day with all tickets at $10.

Public Performances

Friday, November 16th – 7:00 pm

Saturday, November 17th – 7:00 pm

Sunday, November 18th – 2:00 pm

Friday, November 23rd – 7:00 pm

Saturday, November 24th – 2:00 pm

Sunday, November 25th – 2:00 pm

About Journey Theater Arts Group

Our mission: “Growing youth in character, confidence and creativity, in a Christ centered community.”  Throughout the Portland/Vancouver area, Journey offers dozens of classes for ages 6-18, in drama, dance, voice and more.   In addition, we produce 12 Broadway style shows in four locations during the school year, improv competitions, multiple summer camps and professional-level community theater musicals for all ages in summer.  Journey is a nonprofit educational organization, with offices located at 1400 NE 136th Ave, Suite 201, Vancouver WA, 98684.  Contact at 360.750.8550 or www.journeytheater.org.

Camas, WA — When Camas High School senior, Omar Shafiuzzaman, walks into the doors of London’s Royal Central School of Speech and Drama this October, he’ll be living his dream.

After attending a workshop last summer at London’s Globe Theatre, he knew he wanted to attend school in the United Kingdom. So, he applied to four schools in the area, and ended up being one of nine young men from all over the world to receive an unconditional offer to enter the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama’s acting program. The school has a one percent acceptance rate.

Shafiuzzaman, known for his work in Camas Theatre productions over the past few years, says the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama is the top-ranked acting school in the United Kingdom, one of the top 10 in the world, and boasts of several prestigious graduates: Dame Judi Dench, Sir Laurence Olivier, Andrew Garfield (of the “Spider-Man” movies), and Sonia Friedman, among others.

“This is everything I ever wanted,” said Shafiuzzaman. “This is the best possible outcome for me.”

Shafiuzzaman has been gaining local attention for his work in plays such as “Brigadoom,” “The Laramie Project,” and most recently, “Little Shop of Horrors,” for which he has received a 5th Avenue Award nomination for Best Supporting Role. 5th Avenue is the top Washington state acting honor a student can receive.

So, how did he get here? His acting journey started in 6th grade, but it didn’t become a passion until years later.

“It was a gradual realization to want to be an actor,” he said. “I was in 6th grade (in Las Vegas) — in my first play, which was ‘Peter Pan’. I played Mr. Darling, Wendy’s dad. Then I moved to Camas in 8th grade and started doing it more, and researched how to get the best training. Mr. Kelly at Camas has been a huge help.”

Following his year at Skyridge, he enrolled in Drama 1 Class at CHS, which is taught by Sean Kelly.

“He teaches you how to memorize lines, basic acting techniques, movements, blocking, how to connect with partners,” said Shafiuzzaman. “He teaches vocabulary for theater. For my sophomore year, I enrolled in Advanced Drama, which is independent, and you get to write your own work. You work on more advanced skills.”

Initially, he didn’t find his strengths.

Omar

At the close of “Little Shop of Horrors.”

“His first year as a freshman, he was emotionally closed off and was pretty quiet in my class, oddly enough,” said Kelly. “He didn’t take a lot of risks at first, so I think for Omar his biggest victory was overcoming this idea that he is not good enough at this, and he had major breakthroughs last year that have put him where he’s at. He has confidence in his craft. He’s meticulous. He likes to have a lot of tools at his disposal. He can really embrace the sloppiness of being human. He has the confidence and comfort level to do so. I told him to stop playing it safe, because the risks are where you have growth. He also started taking acting lessons outside of class, which I highly recommend.”

His family is very supportive, but they also keep him grounded — and he needs to find a summer job before heading to London.

“We never really had this planned for Omar,” said his mother, Kylee. “We told him to follow his dreams. And this is what he’s super passionate about. It’s exciting to see opportunities come. He’s really worked hard.”

Omar loves his craft because each acting experience is different.

“Actors are very lucky because they get to experience everything they could ever want to in life,” said Shafiuzzaman. “They can learn how to be a doctor, then they study and pretend to play a doctor. You can be a king. It’s a dream job. You can do what you want as an actor. You get to meet really smart people. You can’t just really feel emotions — there’s an intellectual side to it, as well. You have to get other people to believe you, you have to know how the world works, and be very knowledgeable about the world. You have to talk to a lot of people.”

Omar has been in six main stage productions, and two student productions, which are one acts. Plus, he did two other shows in Drama class.

“My mom helped put them up, which were cancer fundraiser shows,” he said. “We raised $6,000 last year, and $2,000 this year. One was ‘Chemo Girl’ and this year we did ‘Sillyheart.’ My favorite play was ‘Musical Comedy Murders of the 1940s.’ That was the first time I’d done a show since 6th grade. When I finally got to perform again it was exhilarating. It introduced me into the whole world of theatre. It was just amazing. I played Eddie and he was the hero of the show. He had the most lines. Ended up saving all the people at the end. My favorite character that I played was Jeff Douglas, an alcoholic man who went to Scotland with his best friend, in ’Brigadoom.’

“It’s exhausting at times because everything is out in the open. We talk about what we feel isn’t right. Theatre is the best way to express yourself. It’s a way to spur change or make a statement. There’s also the entertainment side, as well. It’s mostly a good thing that all these things are coming to light, and then we can talk and solve problems.

Omar

Omar in a scene from Camas Theatre’s “Little Shop of Horrors.”

“My friends are very, very happy for me. I live in a very supportive community of kids in the theatre group. They’re all really nice about it.”

Kelly said memorization is essential to being a good actor.

“At first, it’s very hard, and it’s really the donkey work of acting,” he said. “You just repeat the lines over and over again. And, then repeat them without looking at script. You just have to memorize it. You either do it, or you don’t. It gets easier as you do it more and more. After memorizing so many lines, then once the show is done, they go away really quickly.”

Entertainment is becoming part of the family business. He has an older sister, Sophia, attending Northern Colorado University, working on light and set design. And, Omar’s younger brother, Aiden, is involved with the Skyridge Middle School choir, and he also appeared in “Alice in Wonderland.”

During summer break, Shafiuzzaman will play a Pakistani teenager in a short film called “Death from Above.” The film talks about the Middle East.

It’s great that he’s attending such a prestigious acting school in London,” said Kelly. “The British approach is much more technical, and I think this will be a good fit for him.”

Omar

Camas Theatre director, Sean Kelly, has high praise for Omar.

 

Camas, WA — My sons looked at me funny when I told them I was attending Evening On Broadway instead of the hoops battle between Union and Camas Friday night. We’re a little short-staffed this week, so it was one or the other.

Sorry basketball players. We think you’re awesome, but we thought the choir needed some attention. We’ll get you all at the next game.

Watching these kids belt out some challenging songs, dance, act and entertain us was well worth the 2+ hours at Camas Theater. Led by Musical Director, Ethan Chessin, and accompanied by pianist Detelinka Dimitrova, “Evening On Broadway didn’t disappoint. Liz Borromeo was the choreographer.

Opening with the entire choir singing “The Circle of Life” as they walked among the audience onto the stage was dramatic, and it was introduced by actors Omar Shafiuzzaman and John Elder, who acted out a Muppet theme throughout the production — and it was their “Man or Muppet” performance mid-way that stole the show. They can sing, dance, and act.

See their entire performance on our YouTube page:

In total, the youth performed 26 songs from popular Broadway productions, such as “The Lion King,” “Newsies,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Funny Girl,” “Grease,” “La La Land,” and more.

It was refreshing to see the range of talent, and see kids who wrestle and swim for Camas sing a few tunes and dance their hearts out. It’s clear these kids have talents and gifts — and love to entertain.

We also have several clips from the performance at our Video Page. https://lacamasmagazine.com/video/

We can hardly wait for the next Camas play!

To learn more, visit www.chs.camas.wednet.edu

Broadway Photo Gallery

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This afternoon, a few protesters gathered in front of Camas High School to protest the current production of “The Laramie Project” by the school’s drama department. Some students interacted with the protestors, and security was called to the scene.

CHS Principal Liza Sejkora issued the following statement:

CHS Families,

This afternoon there were two individuals expressing their religious beliefs, via signs and a bullhorn, across from the Camas High School bus parking area as students were leaving for the day. This event created a commotion and, unfortunately, some strong feelings and expletives were expressed.

The CHS security team, administrators, and the School Resource Officer were on site ensuring the visitors stayed on the public sidewalk away from students. The visitors left after the CHS students departed.

This protest was likely brought to our campus in response to the CHS drama department’s presentation of The Laramie Project—the story of Matthew Shepard, a homosexual student from the University of Wyoming, who was brutally murdered in 1998. To learn more about why we selected The Laramie Project, read Director Sean Kelly’s notes.

We want you to have context about the incident today in case your student(s) have questions.

Sincerely,

Liza Sejkora
Principal

Director Sean Kelly’s Statement

I have had a difficult time trying to decide what needs to be written about this show. I suppose I need to start with a few assertions that I believe to be true: opposition to prejudice should not be a political issue, but these days it seems to be. Opposition to those who would commit violence should not be a political issue, but these days it seems to be. And most importantly, this: we desperately need to start listening to one another.

Empathy is a skill that must be practiced. The best way to practice it, in my opinion, is to listen to the stories of others’ struggles. If we consciously practice empathy while doing so, we begin to discover that we have a lot more in common than we ever imagined. It’s a lot harder to hate someone once you get to know them and what they are up against. Matthew Shepard was brutally beaten and murdered because he was gay. His story sparked a national conversation that we are still having today.

When I was a young man, I was harassed and threatened, shunned and whispered about in my hometown. Once, a couple of men in a pickup threw a 32-ounce soda at me as they drove past and yelled “faggot”. They circled the block a few times and shouted obscenities and threatened to assault me. I can’t claim to fully understand the challenges that a member of the LGBTQ community faces because I am not a member of that community, except as an ally. But my experiences as someone who was targeted by hatred based on what other people thought they saw was a revelation. How must it be to fear this every day of one’s life?

When I visited Laramie a few years ago, years after the death of Matthew Shepard, what struck me the most was how much like my hometown it appeared to be. It seemed a place that was idyllic and easy, with a beautiful view. There were places that were rough around the edges, and it seemed in every way like it could be any town in the USA. And that, I suppose, is what troubled me the most. The stories of the people in this play sounded far too familiar.

Hate groups have been reawakened. Violence and harassment have never gone away, but there has been an increase in violence targeted at minorities and LGBTQ people. We feel it everywhere we go: our relationships are strained and uneasy. Everyone is on edge about something. It has been 19 years since Matthew Shepard died, and it seems tensions around this topic are only more strained than ever. But I reassert these things that I hold true:

Opposition to prejudice should not be a political issue.

Opposition to those who would commit violence should not be a political issue.

We desperately need to start listening to one another.

Father Roger Schmitt:  “When you are called a fag, and you are called… a dyke, that is the seed of violence.”

Perfomances

“The Laramie Project” continues its performances this Friday at 7 pm, and Saturday at 2 and 7 pm.

To learn more, visit www.chs.camas.wednet.edu

Laramie

The simple set allowed free flow of discussion.

Laramie