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The festival of new works brings wide range of work to venues around town, Jan. 30-Feb. 9

COURTESY PHOTO: EDIS JURCYS - 'Naked at My Age,' part of the Fertile Ground Festival, is about a woman's sexual renaissance, by Charla Hathaway, age 71. Fertile Ground features some 120 new works at more than 40 venues around Portland.Creative minds converge for the 11th annual Fertile Ground Festival of New Works, which fills Portland venues Jan. 30-Feb. 9.

Playwrights, actors, dancers, designers and producers are involved in the incubator of new creations — theater, musical theater, puppetry, circus and aerial arts, comedy, animation, dance and more. A complete list of events, and ticket information (festival passes, $70), can be found at www.fertilegroundpdx.org. Here are some highlights:

• "Naked at My Age" has a subtitle that says it all: "Grandma's surprising sexual renaissance leads to risk, lust and healing in the oldest profession." Charla Hathaway, now 71, took a yearlong sabbatical from her marriage at age 50 and lived to tell the tale. And sing a few songs about it.

"I think theater, on the stage, is a great place to talk about this. We're so shamed and silenced from other sections of society. I just had to get out and do it," she said. The boomers are OK!

6:30 p.m. Jan 30-31, Feb. 1, Feb. 6-8, Prism House, 5516 S.E. Foster Road, $10-$15

• Louise Wynn's play, "Cloning the Colonel," is about a highly narcissistic, Middle Eastern tyrant who is driven out of his country into the desert by the people who supposedly love him. He's so desperate to create a legacy he has three clones created of himself. Hilarity ensues.

In a two-for-one deal, also see Wynn's play "Everywoman," which is a take on the tedious medieval morality play "Everyman." Death comes to take her away, but God tells him to give her another chance. After a life feeling constrained by all the rules, she gets a chance to confront people. She's called Nora after the lead in Ibsen's "A Doll's House."

7 p.m. Feb. 8, Hipbone Studio, 1847 E. Burnside St., $10

COURTESY PHOTO - S. RENEE MITCHELL• The former Oregonian columnist S. Renee Mitchell, has built a following as a spoken word artist. With "Three by Ten & More," in collaboration with PassinArt: A Theater Company, she serves up three 10-minute plays for the Instagram set. "Love Me Right" is a Valentine's Day tale about a single woman and a married couple. "Blood is Thicker Than Color" concerns a Native American family during slavery. "Shaping an Avalanche" is about a bullied girl's suicide and its surprising aftermath.

7 p.m. Jan. 31, Feb. 1, Feb. 7-8; 3 p.m. Feb. 2, Self Enhancement Inc., 3920 N. Kerby Ave., $10

• Bonnie Ratner's autobiographical play "Blind" is about a Jewish shoe store owner in an 85% African American neighborhood in Brooklyn in 1968. He operates his one-man store behind a locked door, only opening it for women, not black men. A female community activist who is a Muslim walks in and gives them hell. Two hours, six actors and each of the characters has a blind spot. Do you?

7:30 p.m. most shows, 2 p.m. some shows, through Feb. 9, Chapel Theatre, 4107 S.E. Harrison St., Milwaukie, $25

• "Fly Away, Breath" is a full-length staged comedy by Karen Polinsky about a family of vampires with some political commentary mixed in. The play links vampirical lore and anti-Semitism. The main character is a disowned son who's coming back to the town of his birth with his fiance to introduce her to his family. He wants to close down the family mine out of spite but his brother, a socialist, wants to keep it open so that there are jobs for everyone. He's also a gay hippie with a club foot. The vampires escape persecution, in part by allowing themselves to be bit and go into hiding.

9 p.m. Feb. 7; noon Feb. 9, Hipbone Studio, 1847 E. Burnside St., $10

Again, for a complete list of events and information, see www.fertilegroundpdx.com Here are some photos of other productions:

COURTESY PHOTO: BRIAN MCDONNELL - NEO Youth Company performs in 'Groovin' Greenhouse' by Polaris Dance Theatre.

COURTESY PHOTO: CHEREMAR PHOTOGRAPHY - 'Interplay' is by Echo Theater Company.

COURTESY PHOTO: CALVIN HODGSON - 'Jephthah's Daughter' is by Katie Bennett.

COURTESY PHOTO: MICHAEL COE - StoryBuilding presents Randi Douglas' play, '2020 — the New 1920? (Why Vote? Just Ask History!'

COURTESY PHOTO: ANTHONY ARNISTA - 'Terran's Aquarium' is by Whorls of Wonder Puppet Theater.


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