Bag&Baggage Theater's second annual SoloFest returns to downtown Hillsboro this week, but the event's name doesn't mean you should come alone.
For the span of four days, from Thursday, Feb. 7 to Sunday, Feb. 10, the professional theater company is hosting a series of performances with one artist per show sharing their personally written projects.
"I'm so excited about the opportunity to bring such a diverse array of stories to The Vault stage," B&B Associate Artistic Director Cassie Greer said. "Each of the solo pieces that are part of this season's festival are powerful and insightful, and I can't wait for our audiences to experience this unique work."
On Thursday and Saturday, evening at 7:30 p.m., the festival will showcase two plays. "None of the Above," and "Sea/Sick."
"None of the Above," a comedic piece focusing on the intersectionality of gender, sexuality and race written and performed by Jennifer Lanier. According to Bag&Baggage, the audience participates while Lanier portrays several characters — including her 6-year-old self, her father and an Austrian psychiatrist.
"Sea/Sick" is a one-act play adapted by Lawrence Suilagi and performed by Amber Leilani Await. As the rising cost of living forces a teenage girl and her mother to leave their home in Hawaii for Arizona, the play explores what it means to have a native culture uprooted from their ancestral home.
"Much like the rising waters due to global warming, island natives are slowly driven out of their own place by high rents and low wages," Bag&Baggage said in a preview of the plays. "It is a story of becoming an outcast; of being a brown female cast into a predominantly white, conservative city."
Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., SoloFest will showcase two other productions, "Not My Revolution" and "The Importance of Being Frank."
"Not My Revolution" by Elizabeth Huffman tells the story of a once wealthy woman in Istanbul who
took refuge in a filthy, rat infested squat where she has an unusual encounter with French queen Marie Antoinette, herself imprisoned in a cell a few hours away from her execution.
Rusty Tennant's "The Importance of Being Frank," unravels a lifetime of studying William Shakespeare into a battle between our collective history and the lies we tell ourselves when creating history. Weaving stories from his past with what we know — and don't know — about the famous playwright, the play explores stories about gender and sexuality, and questions who the Bard really was and what we know about ourselves.
Tickets to each performance are $10. Greer said it was important to keep costs low to help spread the series' messages to the community.
"As important as it is to bring these underrepresented voices to our stage, it is equally important to make sure that our audiences are not barred from experiencing them by huge ticket costs," Greer said.
"None of the Above" and "Sea/Sick" will be performed on the Thursday and Saturday evenings of the festival, while "Not My Revolution" and "The Importance of Being Frank" will be performed on Friday evening and Sunday afternoon.
Tickets and more information can be found online at bagnbaggage.org, or by calling the box office at 503-345-9590.
Performances take place at The Vault Theater, 350 E. Main St. in downtown Hillsboro.
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