Apprentice Solo Show Spotlight: Jake Simonds

HEY PORTLAND, WE LOVE MONDAYS! 

Okay, mostly just this Monday. Why? Because our apprentice company's solo show festival, INHALE, 9 Questions is TOMORROW.

Haven't bought your tickets yet? Don't worry. There's still time to do so here, or you can simply show up and buy your ticket at the door on Tuesday or Wednesday night. Regardless, you will want to be in attendance for this show. Don't miss your chance to see eight brave and beautiful souls spill their deepest selves on the stage for you.

As we wrap up our Solo Show Spotlight blog series with our kickball MVP Jake Simonds, the apprentice company is smack in the middle of their final dress rehearsal where they are performing for some invited guests. If you were one of the lucky ducks who got to see INHALE, 9 Questions today, we would love to hear your feedback in the comments below. 

1. Describe your creation process? (example prompts: What were your expectations in creating? Were they fulfilled or altered? Did you keep your initial idea? What challenged, delighted, or surprised you?)

For most of this process, we were making 3-5 minute composition off of prompts from Nikki Weaver. And while my solo show is actually just an idea I had on my own, my creation process was fueled by all the creation we did earlier this Spring. It was invigorating to create lots of short pieces, and this rapid fire creation helped me trust myself, and gave me the confidence to make the piece I eventually made. 

2. What is your solo show title? What can we expect/what is it about (in one or two sentences)?

"The People I've Loved"-- It is a story, told in rhyming verse, about people that I do or have loved. 

3. What do you hope the audience brings to your show and/or takes from your show?
 
I'm not picky. I just hope people come, and then I hope they enjoy it. I know I will. 

4. Why should people come see the solo shows?

People should come see the solo shows because I bet it's going to be better that whatever they had previously planned for their Tuesday/Wednesday evening.

INHALE, 9 Questions
7pm, June 9th and June 10th
$10 at the door, but no one turned away
602 NE Prescott Street, Portland, OR 97211

Buy Tickets Online

(Ask a performing apprentice about Monday afternoon's invited dress if you cannot attend!)

Apprentice Solo Show Spotlight: Sasha Belle Neufeld

ONLY 3 DAYS TO GO!

When did that happen?! We're wrapping up tech week for INHALE, 9 Questions and, let us tell you, this show is breathtaking. The apprentices are pouring their souls out onto the stage and they are inviting you to share their joy, sorrow, love, anger, and hope. The solo show festival is a well renowned spectacular at Portland Playhouse as well as our apprentice company's final farewell to their ten month apprenticeship with the company. We guarantee if you ask anyone who has attended in previous years they will tell you this is a show that is not to be missed! If you haven't already, buy your tickets online here. We'll see you at the church.

We're nearing the end of our solo show spotlights, so check out what Sasha Belle Neufeld has to say about her work in INHALE, 9 Questions.

1. Describe your creation process? (example prompts: What were your expectations in creating? Were they fulfilled or altered? Did you keep your initial idea? What challenged, delighted, or surprised you?)

I started with a message that I wanted to convey. I know I have a very distinct style so I just wanted to trust that and see where it would take from a core theme.

2. What is your solo show title? What can we expect/what is it about (in one or two sentences)?

I think my title is "I Share therefore I am".

3. What do you hope the audience brings to your show and/or takes from your show?

Anything.

4. Why should people come see the solo shows?

I don't know. I guess for the same reason you do anything new. If you're feeling open minded and want to support some young aspiring artists for the sake of supporting the future of the arts; that would be a good reason.

INHALE, 9 Questions
7pm, June 9th and June 10th
$10 at the door, but no one turned away
602 NE Prescott Street, Portland, OR 97211

Buy Tickets Online

(Ask a performing apprentice about Monday afternoon's invited dress if you cannot attend!)

Apprentice Solo Show Spotlight: Adriana Bordea

Less than 7 days, friends!

Did you hear about the epic kickball showdown between our Porltand Playhouse Apprentices and their friendly rivals the Third Rail Repertory Mentees on Monday at King School? An epic and bloody battle between worthy adversaries ending in a nail biting tie game!

If you didn't make it to the game, there are other ways to show support for our outgoing Apprentice Company... If you have not already heard, our apprentices are waist deep in tech rehearsals for their end of the year solo show festival, INHALE, 9 Questions. This will be their final farewell to their ten month apprenticeship with Portland Playhouse. Make sure you don’t miss out on this bittersweet spectacular. When else do you get to see eight vastly difference performances in only two hours? Exactly. Make sure you buy your tickets ASAP and we’ll see you at the church. Also, if you want to see the show and cannot make either performance, contact any of our eight performing apprentices to learn more about our invited dress rehearsal. In the meantime, we continue our apprentice solo show spotlights. Check out what our lovely and lively Adriana Bordea is doing for her piece INHALE, 9 Questions!

1. Describe your creation process? (example prompts: What were your expectations in creating? Were they fulfilled or altered? Did you keep your initial idea? What challenged, delighted, or surprised you?

 My creation process has definitely been a wild one! Throughout the rehearsal process I have done so any things I never thought I would do, some successes and some fails, but all ridiculous and awesome in their own quirky ways. I have loved watching my fellow crew creating art just as much as me. I'm in a room full of dreamers and its awe inspiring, there's nothing like it, we are literally throwing ourselves down on that stage, and it’s scary as hell but can’t wait to jump all in! P.S. Shout out to Nikki and Gretchen, they have been such a support to us through all this, much <3!!!!!!!

2. What is your solo show title? What can we expect/what is it about (in one or two sentences)?

I thought I had a title for my piece, but now I'm not sure anymore, my indecisiveness coming out. I'm waiting for something to hit me in the face and be like "Yes, that's my title!". My piece is about confronting a fear of mine, and imaging my future and what it could be if I do overcome it. Love.

3. What do you hope the audience brings to your show and/or takes from your show?

I hope the audience brings there open hearts and stories, will ask the audience members a question and I can’t wait to hear what people have to say! What I hope they take from the show is to possibly rethink their own connection to how they view love and how our imagination is not just something made up, but reality if we really believe in it.

4. Why should people come see the solo shows?

Because solo shows are truly one of a kind. Like people, you are never going to find two the same, they are all different. And if you can find a connection to someone's piece, I believe we did our job. Plus I want to see y'all lovely faces in the audience! Hope to see ya there! :)

INHALE, 9 Questions
7pm, June 9th and June 10th
$10 at the door, but no one turned away
602 NE Prescott Street, Portland, OR 97211

Apprentice Solo Show Spotlight: Andy Haftkowycz

11 days to go!

Rumor has it our apprentices had an extra exciting day in their first full run-though of INHALE, 9 Questions yesterday! These shows are going to be sensational! Their hard work and creativity is certainly not going unnoticed around the church. The whole playhouse is buzzing with eagerness! It was only fitting that we spent our Friday checking in with the always endearing Andy Haftkowycz about his piece in the solo show festival.

1. Describe your creation process? (example prompts: What were your expectations in creating? Were they fulfilled or altered? Did you keep your initial idea? What challenged, delighted, or surprised you?)

Oh Man, creation. I’d love to change the world “creation process” and use the term, “just f___ing do something”. Walking into this process, I had so many, many ideas of in my head of what would happen, of who would think what about the things I was doing, and by the time I got up and performed them, they were so far removed from my “image” of what my creation would be. I would do something onstage and in my head go “GOSH! That was awful, that was the dumbest thing I’ve ever done,” but then we would talk about it as an ensemble critiquing each other’s work, and I would find out that that thing I was doing, that “so awful” thing was actually very interesting.

2. What is your solo show title? What can we expect/what is it about (in one or two sentences)?

My initial idea, my passion, was to create a show about Ukraine, since they are in a conflict and the whole region and heritage is defending itself in contemporary times, and I wanted to create a show about that. For anyone who doesn’t know, or hasn’t seen my last name, my family was forced out of Ukraine, and it is in my blood, that passion for a people I was removed from. As the process went on, I realized that this story of mine is only a chapter of who I am as a person, and that creating a whole show about something I’ve never experienced in person (the War in Ukraine) would not be true to myself or the art, so I decided to focus on my experiences.

My Solo Show is entitled “Boxes full of _____” Get it? It’s alliteration. I’ve had many struggles in my life, so has everyone, and a big part of my life has revolved around moments that have defined me, scars that have cut me deep, and loss. I guess if there’s anything my solo show is about, it’s how to handle Grief, and how the things we do in this life are only as relevant as the things we create in the future we have yet to live.

3. What do you hope the audience brings to your show and/or takes from your show?

I hope the audience brings flowers to the shows and showers me with them. No, but seriously, I hope the audience leaves my show understanding the moments in life that really weighed them down, those Atlantic moments where you can’t possibly think that anything can get better; my show explores mine, and explores the reason why I kept going.

4. Why should people come see the solo shows?

People should come see solo shows because there are very few chances in an actor’s career where they open up their own heart, put themselves under the spotlight, and say “This is who I am, not just those characters you see me play onstage”. You’re not coming to see 8 performers, you’re coming to see 8 hearts.

INHALE, 9 Questions
7pm, June 9th and June 10th
$10 at the door, but no one turned away
602 NE Prescott Street, Portland, OR 97211

Buy Tickets Online

Apprentice Solo Show Spotlight: Sarah Gehring

OH LOOK! Our apprentices are fancy! The solo show festival INHALE, 9 Questions is now LIVE in our online ticketing system. You can secure your spot in advance by buying your tickets online right now.

Okay, now that you’ve purchased your tickets – you have, right? If not, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! – check out what our directing apprentice Sarah Gehring has been devising for her piece…

1. Describe your creation process? (example prompts: What were your expectations in creating? Were they fulfilled or altered? Did you keep your initial idea? What challenged, delighted, or surprised you?)

This show started out as a 3 minute poem I performed at the Portland Slam called, "Things I Learned on the Mountain". I began to physically explore it, which inspired new, improvised lines, and it's been constantly shifting since. I really have no idea yet what this show will look like in the end.

2. What is your solo show title? What can we expect/what is it about (in one or two sentences)?

A woman tries to find a life unaltered by her brain's dysfunction, searching through pages, through motion, and eventually trying to find answers on a mountain. The show is titled "The Fastest Way Down".

3. What do you hope the audience brings to your show and/or takes from your show?

Bring: what you have. Take: what you need. If even one person hears something they needed to hear, I'll be happy.

4. Why should people come see the solo shows?

Because it's fun to fall in love.

INHALE, 9 Questions
7pm, June 9th and June 10th
$10 at the door, but no one turned away
602 NE Prescott Street, Portland, OR 97211

Buy Tickets Online

Apprentice Solo Show Spotlight: La’Tevin Alexander

Only 15 more days and we could not be more excited…

What are we counting down to? The Portland Playhouse Apprentice Company solo show festival, of course! We are also excited to announce that there will be an open reception at the Playhouse immediately following our June 9th performance. Consider this your extended invitation! In the meantime, while our anticipation grows, check out what our La’Tevin Alexander has to say about his piece in INHALE, 9 Questions

1. Describe your creation process? (example prompts: What were your expectations in creating? Were they fulfilled or altered? Did you keep your initial idea? What challenged, delighted, or surprised you?)

My process is weird. I'm like Sherlock Holmes solving a mystery. I deduct all the possible ways I could solve the riddle of "What in the hell am I going to do?!" until what's left is the best, most powerful choice.

2. What is your solo show title? What can we expect/what is it about (in one or two sentences)?

I don't have a title at this point. I just know it's gonna be about a Black man's experience in good ol' Amerikkka.

3. What do you hope the audience brings to your show and/or takes from your show?

I hope the audience brings an open mind to understand where I'm coming from, good vibes, and a willingness to see this country truthfully and/or an unapologetic black man. They should leave holding on to real, raw experiences of this Black man and many others who look like me.

4. Why should people come see the solo shows?

People should come see the solo shows because not often do you get see eight original pieces in one night. Also, because the pieces will be so different from each other that the audience will go away learning something new about themselves, their culture, or even other cultures and we know that we grow as human beings the more we learn about ourselves and others so this is a great opportunity to expand your humanity.

INHALE, 9 Questions
7pm, June 9th and June 10th
$10 at the door, but no one turned away
602 NE Prescott Street, Portland, OR 97211

Buy Tickets Online

Apprentice Solo Show Spotlight: Emma Bridges

Our stage is seeing a lot more action than just Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play this week. From dancing and singing to tears and screaming, our Portland Playhouse Apprentice Company has been deep in the devising and rehearsal process for their solo show festival as well. Today, we continue our solo show spotlights on each of our eight acting apprentices with the ever effervescent Emma Bridges! Less than three weeks until the apprentices leave it all on the stage! Are you coming to INHALE, 9 Questions?

1. Describe your creation process? (example prompts: What were your expectations in creating? Were they fulfilled or altered? Did you keep your initial idea? What challenged, delighted, or surprised you?)

I had no idea what I wanted to write about and was inspired by a self-help book that I stumbled upon in Broadway Books. At that moment I didn't connect it to my solo show, but it became something incredibly relevant.

2. What is your solo show title? What can we expect/what is it about (in one or two sentences)?

Right now it looks like it's called something along the lines of "the epic journey" but that's not it either. Maybe it's called "scaredy cat." Or maybe just "cats." Oh wait, that's taken! Shoot.

3. What do you hope the audience brings to your show and/or takes from your show?

I hope the audience feels free to laugh at the ridiculousness of my show and also rides along with my ups and downs.

4. Why should people come see the solo shows?

Come see the solo shows because it's rare that you get to see something this raw and exciting and relatable and moving.

INHALE, 9 Questions
7pm, June 9th and June 10th
$10 at the door, but no one turned away
602 NE Prescott Street, Portland, OR 97211

Buy Tickets Online

Apprentice Solo Show Spotlight: Corinne Gaucher

Our Portland Playhouse Apprentice Company has officially announced their solo show festival, INHALE, 9 Questions! As a tribute to all of their hard work and a count down to the big event, we will be posting spotlights on each of our eight performers and their shows. Up first is our very own Corinne Gaucher!

1. Describe your creation process? (example prompts: What were your expectations in creating? Were they fulfilled or altered? Did you keep your initial idea? What challenged, delighted, or surprised you?)

I was surprised how fluid the creation process was. Over the course of these last two months we've each created 10 different shows, which is absolutely bonkers to fathom. That's a whole 80 shows between us all! A lot of credit belongs to Nikki Weaver (Education Director and certified rockstar) who made the creation process loose and structured at the same time. Having prompts to respond to, or tasks to complete, was exponentially easier to let my imagination wander into realms I never thought I'd end up exploring. My solo show is about something completely different than what I expected it would be, but it is really exciting to see some snippets from my ten previous pieces roll over into my final show.

2. What is your solo show title? What can we expect/what is it about (in one or two sentences)?

My show is titled gut. An ode to physical awareness and body image, gut is a dissection and exploration. I don't want to give to much away, but you can expect physical surprises both big and small, and a whole lot of raw honesty.

3. What do you hope the audience brings to your show and/or takes from your show?

I hope the audience brings open hearts. I hope they take away a fresh outlook, or shifted perspective. I'm not holding anything back in this one.

4. Why should people come see the solo shows?

Come see INHALE, 9 Questions if you are seeking both inspiration and fulfillment for a price you can handle. Come see the solo shows if you are looking for truth. Come see the solo shows if you are looking for answers to what it means to be human. Come see the solo shows if you want to see the power eight individuals have to make you laugh, cry, question, and cheer. 

INHALE, 9 Questions
7pm, June 9th and June 10th
$10 at the door, but no one turned away
602 NE Prescott Street, Portland, OR 97211

Buy Tickets Online

THE OTHER PLACE: The Life of an Understudy

written by Acting Apprentice Jake Simonds

As part of my experience as a Portland Playhouse Acting Apprentice this year, it is my job to understudy one of the roles in THE OTHER PLACE by Sharr White (opening this week!). 

One interesting thing about being an understudy is the reactions you get when you tell people you are, right now, understudying a role. Because even though everyone's heard of the understudy, very few non-Theatre professionals have encountered one in the living flesh. As an understudy, I am a myth and a cliche. The over-eager, under-experienced kid silently mouthing lines to himself in the back row during rehearsals, secretly hoping the lead falls ill with some mysterious yet ultimately harmless disease (kidding!).

Sometimes I tell people I'm an understudy, and if they have any first-hand experience with the practice, they look at me like I told them a relative just passed away. "I'm so sorry!," they say, "Let me know if you need anything." In these cases, I find myself frantically trying to explain that it's OK, it's a cool opportunity being an understudy. Yes, it's boring at times. Most of the time, even. But what you get is the opportunity to come to a rehearsal room without all the worry and pressure that comes with knowing you have to perform a role.

As an actor, when I come to a rehearsal room, I carry a lot of extra crap with me. I'm thinking about whether I know my lines well enough, my costume, what the director's thinking, what my scene partner is thinking... I'm thinking about the scene we rehearsed yesterday, and all the choices I could make to improve on it today. And, I'm thinking about the scene we'll do tomorrow, and how it's going to be its own unique challenge.

When you're an understudy, a lot of that stuff goes away. Not all of it, and not all the time, but a good chunk of it just sort of vanishes. And then it's just you, in a rehearsal room, watching people work. The story and the performances of others open up in ways you might not notice if you were in the middle of all of it. You resolve that the next time you're the featured actor you'll pack a little lighter, and bring a little less baggage. You will try to remember to act like an understudy.
___________

Jake Simonds is understudying Jean-Luc Boucherot (The Man) in THE OTHER PLACE by Sharr White, opening March 21! Get your tickets by clicking here. 

Want to see the show for only $20? Check out our previews, this week, Wednesday-Friday at 7:30pm. Or get in our rush line at any of our performances for $20 cash at the door! 

HOW TO END POVERTY: Week 3

Read below to find out who received $1,000 (or more!) for the final week's performances of HOW TO END POVERTY IN 90 MINUTES (with 99 people you may or may not know): 

Wednesday, February 18: EDUCATION, Marathon Scholars
Marathon Scholars supports students in 4th-12th grades whose socioeconomic status may present them with profound challenges as they strive towards the dream of higher education. They help these students to reach their full potential by providing them with an adult mentor, enrichment opportunities, college prep activities, and ultimately, a college scholarship.

Thursday, February 19: MAKING OPPORTUNITIES, Mercy Corps NW
Mercy Corps NW specializes in providing small business training and small loans to people who are caught in the cycle of poverty. They also provide assistance for people looking for employment and housing, and they have developed particular programs that assist refugees and formerly incarcerated people integrating back into the general public.

Friday, February 20: SYSTEM CHANGE, Oregon Food Bank
Oregon Food Bank is known for providing emergency food to people who are hungry through a cooperative statewide network of hnger relief agencies. However, behind the scenes, OFB also leads statewide efforts to increase resources for hungry families and to eliminate the root causes of hunger by advocating for fair public policies, strengthening community food systems and providing nutrition and garden education. 

Saturday, February 21: DIRECT AID, Monica
Monica is a resident of a transitional housing facility, a college student, and a single mother of three children (one of whom is severely disabled). She is ready to move out of transitional housing but needs financial assistance to make the move.

Sunday, February 22 2pm: SYSTEM CHANGE, Portland African American Leadership Forum
Portland African American Leadership Forum brings together African American leaders of the community to focus on civic engagement and a broad public policy agenda. Areas of concern include housing justice, education, and health in the African American community.

Sunday, February 22 7pm: SYSTEM CHANGE, Sisters of the Road
Sisters of the Road builds authentic relationships and alleviates the hunger of isolation, while seeking systemic solutions that reach the roots of homelessness and poverty to end them forever. They campaign for a Homeless Bill of Rights, food justice, and ending poverty systematically locally, nationally, and internationally.

Thank you to everyone who came to see the show, who talked about it with their friends, and who kept the conversation (and is keeping the conversation) going after the play ends. We could not be more grateful to present this work to Portland audiences. Whether you were there or not... Which approach would you choose? 

HOW TO END POVERTY: Week 2

Read below to find out who received $1,000 (or more!) for the second week's performances of HOW TO END POVERTY IN 90 MINUTES (with 99 people you may or may not know): 

Wednesday, February 11: EDUCATION, Metropolitan Family Service
Metropolitan Family Service helps people move beyond the limitations of poverty, inequity and social isolation.

Thursday, February 12: DIRECT AID, Suzie
Suzie is a single mother who was on probation and was struggling with substance dependency when she moved into transitional housing a year ago. Now, she is off probation, she’s a full time student, and she has a significant other in Salem with whom she’d like to move in. She needs financial assistance to make that move. 

Friday, February 13: SYSTEM CHANGE, Family Forward Oregon
Family Forward Oregon's mission is to create a family-forward Oregon where all families can be economically secure and have the time it takes to care for a family. 

Saturday, February 14: SYSTEM CHANGE, MRG Foundation
MRG's mission is to inspire people to work together for justice and mobilize resources for Oregon communities as they build collective power to change the world.

Sunday, February 15 2pm: DIRECT AID, Tanya
Tanya is a single, working mother of three who lost her home to foreclosure in 2009 due to a difficult pregnancy. 'she needs financial help to make rent each month, which she has only been managing by selling off her belongings, including her car and her dining room table.

Sunday, February 15 7pm: MAKING OPPORTUNITIES, Innovative Changes
Innovative Changes (IC$) helps low-income people build their long-term financial health.

HOW TO END POVERTY is almost SOLD OUT! Want tickets? Try our RUSH LINE - $20, cash only at the door, night of the show. We've hardly had to turn people away, so try your luck! 
Get your tickets by clicking here.

HTEP: A word from apprentice Adriana Bordea

Being a Part of HTEP: My Experience

Actors Alex Tey, Bobby Bermea, Sara Sawicki, and Vin Shambry; photo by Brud Giles

Actors Alex Tey, Bobby Bermea, Sara Sawicki, and Vin Shambry; photo by Brud Giles

I can't help but fill up with joy when I check people in at Box Office and am face to face with newcomers to the theatre, as well as our beloved "regulars." When I hand patrons a colored button in exchange instead of a program, right there, you know this is not your average theatre show. Seeing faces of confusion, openness, and excitement is why we do theatre. To break molds that are placed for us, to tear down the fourth wall, and to do something bold and inventive, or as simple as achieve something completely different.

When we first started rehearsal, I remember being grouped with fellow cast members; we openly discussed questions about our own experiences around poverty. As we discussed, little things came up, such as living in a small house with a ton of people, working a minimum wage job to pay for school, or even relying on food stamps. I couldn't help but think about how my parents came to America from Romania, and how poverty has played a role in our lives, whether it be looking for employment or receiving government assistance. So many additional questions came up for me during and after this discussion...Why did my parents "protect" me from poverty as a child? How has my outlook on poverty changed from childhood to adulthood? Was I supposed to be aware of it? Is that even poverty? Did others know?....I can say my thought process changed on the subject, but I have also heard thoughts and biases change personally from fellow cast, crew, staff, and audience members alike.

The discussions during the show and afterwards is what is most important. What we decide what to take with us and/or what to leave at the door once our theatre opens and we step into the real world. Are we more aware of the five approaches that are discussed throughout in the show? I can tell you first-hand, even the Apprentices grabbed coffee one day and couldn't help but start debating which approach should win the overall vote. I think that truly is the whole point of the show. To not end this discussion, but to bring the conversation beyond the walls of the theatre, and then to do something about it.

Every night is a different night, and without you this show is literally impossible to do. You are the ones who make the discussions what they are, you are the ones who have pushed yourself to coming to a "non-traditional" show, and ultimately you are the ones who will decide what approach will receive the $1,000.

Which approach will YOU choose? Come spend with us.

World Premiere
Conceived and Written by Michael Rohd and Sojourn Theatre
Directed by Liam Kaas-Lentz

What:
How To End Poverty In 90 Minutes (with 99 people you may or may not know)

When:
Running through February 22 

Where:
Portland Playhouse
602 NE Prescott St, Portland, OR 97211

Tickets:
Box office: (503) 488-5822
All tickets: $40 (+$3 ticketing fee)
Rush Tickets: $20, cash only at the door, night of the show
Arts for All Tickets (EBT card): $5, cash only at the door, night of the show, up to two tickets
Each and every show, 25 tickets are given to local organizations and to individuals who are unable to afford tickets to the show. Email our Director of Community Partnerships, Elliot Leffler, for more information: elliotleffler@gmail.com  

Get your tickets by clicking here!

HOW TO END POVERTY: A word from the chorus cast!

We caught up with some of our apprentices to see what's going on in the rehearsal room for HOW TO END POVERTY IN 90 MINUTES (with 99 people you may or may not know), which opens THIS WEEK! We wanted to know...

Portland Playhouse: Who should come see the show? What kind of audience member would enjoy it? 

Emma Bridges: I think anyone that has opinions about poverty in America, no matter what they are, should come see this show. This show is not only about making decisions towards ending poverty, it's also about community and coming together with your neighbor (that you may or may not know) and making a decision. Come see this show if you are up for a nontraditional theatrical experience, rather than your classic "sit-and-watch" play. 

Andy Haftkowycz: This show allows for audience participation in a very new way. People get a vote in the end, but when they leave the theatre, they don't necessarily leave the show. This show, the material it covers, and the conversations it allows, is very enlightening and very humbling. 

La'Tevin Alexander: EVERYONE should come see this show! Both those who have privilege and those who are in or have experienced poverty. The audience members who enjoy elevating their consciousness and engaging into meaningful dialogue/debates will enjoy this show, guaranteed. Also, those who consider themselves activists and humanitarians will enjoy this production. I was surprised at how progressive the conversations have been. People are not focusing on meaningless arguments, but instead are proactively discussing ideas and sharing anecdotes to find the most effective approach to impact poverty here in Multnomah County.

PPH: What has surprised, delighted, and challenged you throughout this devised theatre process? 

AH: A surprise has been the number of challenges that we can face doing a puppet show. We have so many amazing ideas floating around the room that at times we get slap happy and crazy trying to figure out how to make everything fit into one 2 foot by 3 foot space. Regardless, the amount of artistry that goes into devising alone is simply gratifying and humbling. Working with so many actors from Sojourn Theatre, and beyond, in Portland is a most unique experience. 

EB: A challenge in rehearsal has been creating our Hans Rosling-like puppet show with the other apprentices. Devising a puppet show is something else! I'm always delighted in rehearsal when we start the day with a round of tape ball (don't let the ball touch the floor!). We've been getting better and better, with a record score of 155 hits before the tape ball dropped!

World Premiere
Conceived and Written by Michael Rohd and Sojourn Theatre
Directed by Liam Kaas-Lentz

What:
How To End Poverty In 90 Minutes (with 99 people you may or may not know)

When:
February 4 – February 22 

Where:
Portland Playhouse,
602 NE Prescott St, Portland, OR 97211

Tickets:
Box office: (503) 488-5822
All tickets: $40 (+$3 ticketing fee)
Rush Tickets: $20, cash only at the door, night of the show
Arts for All Tickets (EBT card): $5, cash only at the door, night of the show, up to two tickets
Each and every show, 25 tickets are given to local organizations and to individuals who are unable to afford tickets to the show. Email our Director of Community Partnerships, Elliot Leffler, for more information: elliotleffler@gmail.com  

Get your tickets by clicking here!

Which approach will YOU choose? Come spend with us.

HOW TO END POVERTY: Approach #1

Approach #1: System Change
Written by Acting Apprentice and Chorus Cast member Jake Simonds.

Every night at HOW TO END POVERTY, the audience gives away $1,000 of money from the ticket sales to a poverty-fighting organization. At the end of the show, they vote on which approach to fighting poverty they think is most effective, and the money goes to an organization which practices the chosen approach. The five approaches we identify are Daily Needs, Making Opportunities, Education, System Change, and Direct Aid. Here is more information about System Change:

Advocates of system change see poverty as more than just an immediate lack of material wealth, but rather a cyclical, often multi-generational lack of not just resources, but opportunities to escape the cycle. When you define poverty that way, ending it becomes a bit more complicated. It is not just about getting resources to those who need them, it is about changing the system that creates such needs.

    Critics of the System Change approach would say that the approach gives money to lobbyists and lawyers instead of towards the people who need it. That argument isn't false, but it's not the whole story either. If our audience decides to give to system change, that money may go to organizations lobbying the government for more affordable housing, affordable childcare, an increased minimum wage, or more rights for the homeless. Or, it might be raising awareness about unfair treatment of particular groups in public schools, and generating community support for a solution.

    Whether or not you believe System Change is the best solution for ending poverty, it has been proven that certain policies, widespread business practices, and prejudices do trap individuals, communities, and families in poverty. There are many examples, one particularly poignant one is housing discrimination. The radio program This American Life did an illuminating hour on the subject: http://m.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/512/house-rules

World Premiere
Conceived and Written by Michael Rohd and Sojourn Theatre
Directed by Liam Kaas-Lentz

What:
How To End Poverty In 90 Minutes (with 99 people you may or may not know)

When:
February 4 – February 22 

Where:
Portland Playhouse,
602 NE Prescott St, Portland, OR 97211

Tickets:
Box office: (503) 488-5822
All tickets: $40 (+$3 ticketing fee)
Rush Tickets: $20, cash only at the door, night of the show
Arts for All Tickets (EBT card): $5, cash only at the door, night of the show, up to two tickets
Each and every show, 25 tickets are given to local organizations and to individuals who are unable to afford tickets to the show. Email our Director of Community Partnerships, Elliot Leffler, for more information: elliotleffler@gmail.com  

Get your tickets by clicking here!

 

Which approach will YOU choose? Come spend with us.

HOW TO END POVERTY: Approach #2

APPROACH #2: EDUCATION
Written by Acting Apprentice and Chorus Cast member Jake Simonds.

Every night at HOW TO END POVERTY, the audience gives away $1,000 of money from the ticket sales to a poverty-fighting organization. At the end of the show, they vote on which approach to fighting poverty they think is most effective, and the money goes to an organization which practices the chosen approach. The five approaches we identify are Daily Needs, Making Opportunities, Education, System Change, and Direct Aid. Here is some more information about: Education.

    Children born into poverty are not nearly as likely as their more affluent peers to receive a quality education. Though there is no longer a direct link in the Portland Public School system between neighborhood property values and school budgets, but a quick look at the Oregonian's high school ratings, or the Willamette Week's map of middle school elective disparity will show that schools in more affluent neighborhoods (as seen by the percentage of children who receive free or reduced lunch) tend to have better test scores, and more electives available. 

    Now, of course, there are exceptions to this rule: Take Lent Middle School, 15 blocks east of E 82nd Ave, where 82% of kids get free or reduced lunch. Their students have twelve elective programs, more than double the six (two of which are P.E. and Spanish language classes) offered at George Middle School in North Portland, where 87.9% of students receive free or reduced lunch. Another difference between these schools? George serves 358 students, more than double the 164 at Lent. For every student at Lent trying to decide between mock trial, drama, and library/technology, there are two students at George with half as many options. 

    For a student born into poverty, receiving a quality education requires a lot of things to go right. For an affluent student to receive anything less than a quality education, something has to go wrong. Cumulitively, this traps whole communities in cyclical poverty. As studies have shown, lifetime earnings are linked to the quality and duration of education. 

If our audience decides to give to education, that money may go to organizations that provide long-term mentoring, after-school programming, summer programs to prepare ninth graders for high school, and college prep. These programs could give opportunities and attention to students who don't get enough of that during the school day. Studies have shown as much as 76% of the cost of all after school programs fall on parents, either directly through tuition or indirectly through resources or time demands. This limits the availability of such programming to underprivileged students. Choosing Education as your priority at HOW TO END POVERTY would give $1,000 to an organization working to provide more opportunities for students to succeed.

Some information of after-school and other outside-the-school-day program funding: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/time_and_learning/2015/01/the_growth_in_after_school.html

The Willamette Week's middle school extra-curricular equity map:

http://www.wweek.com/portland/equitymap

The Oregonian's School Guide:

http://schools.oregonlive.com/district/Portland/

World Premiere
Conceived and Written by Michael Rohd and Sojourn Theatre
Directed by Liam Kaas-Lentz

What:
How To End Poverty In 90 Minutes (with 99 people you may or may not know)

When:
February 4 – February 22 

Where:
Portland Playhouse,
602 NE Prescott St, Portland, OR 97211

Tickets:
Box office: (503) 488-5822
All tickets: $40 (+$3 ticketing fee)
Rush Tickets: $20, cash only at the door, night of the show
Arts for All Tickets (EBT card): $5, cash only at the door, night of the show, up to two tickets
Each and every show, 25 tickets are given to local organizations and to individuals who are unable to afford tickets to the show. Email our Director of Community Partnerships, Elliot Leffler, for more information: elliotleffler@gmail.com  

Get your tickets by clicking here!

Which approach will YOU choose? Come spend with us.

HOW TO END POVERTY: Approach #3

Approach #3: Direct Aid
Written by Acting Apprentice and Chorus Cast member Jake Simonds

Every night at HOW TO END POVERTY, the audience gives away $1,000 of money from the ticket sales to a poverty-fighting organization. At the end of the show, they vote on which approach to fighting poverty they think is most effective, and the money goes to an organization which practices the chosen approach. The five approaches we identify are Daily Needs, Making Opportunities, Education, System Change, and Direct Aid. Here is a little more information about Direct Aid.

    If you (the audience) choose Direct Aid at the end of the performance, the $1,000 goes to an organization that gets resources to individuals who specifically ask for something that will help get them out of poverty - i.e., classes to obtain a certification, job equipment, medical assistance, etc. These requests get posted on the web, where people can donate directly to individuals in need, similar to how Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaigns work.

    As of January 22nd, some of the requests on a similar organization's site include: a single mother who needs a root canal but cannot afford the 20% insurance co-pay; a father supporting two children and his elderly mother who just got his hours cut at his low-wage job; a family who had their car repossessed when they couldn't make payments while unemployed for a short stint; and a mother who lost her job, who qualifies for unemployment, but needs some help during the three weeks before unemployment kicks in. 

    Direct Aid acknowledges the gaps in the existing social safety nets. In the requests for aid, we see a woman with insurance, but insurance with a prohibitively expensive co-pay. We see a man who gets by--and provides for his family--only to find himself in a crisis when his hours get cut unexpectedly. We see a family lose their car--and all the money that was already paid into it--when they were between jobs; and we see another woman who needs to cover a temporary gap in wages while she looks for a new job. 

Not many programs address the unexpected circumstances that often put individuals and families living in or near poverty into a crisis situation. Direct Aid does. And it helps these people not by prescribing something top-down, but rather by asking, what do you need? The somewhat radical assumption behind this method is that people in poverty know poverty best. They know what they need to get out of poverty, and this is a way for them to get it. 

Below, you will find all the details. We know that $1,000 won't solve poverty, and we know it's impossible to solve poverty in 90 minutes. With HOW TO END POVERTY IN 90 MINUTES, we hope to create dialogue between audience members and impact local organizations who are working hard to fight poverty. Which approach will you choose?

World Premiere
Conceived and Written by Michael Rohd and Sojourn Theatre
Directed by Liam Kaas-Lentz

What:
How To End Poverty In 90 Minutes (with 99 people you may or may not know)

When:
February 4 – February 22 

Where:
Portland Playhouse,
602 NE Prescott St, Portland, OR 97211

Tickets:
Box office: (503) 488-5822
All tickets: $40 (+$3 ticketing fee)
Rush Tickets: $20, cash only at the door, night of the show
Arts for All Tickets (EBT card): $5, cash only at the door, night of the show, up to two tickets
Each and every show, 25 tickets are given to local organizations and to individuals who are unable to afford tickets to the show. Email our Director of Community Partnerships, Elliot Leffler, for more information: elliotleffler@gmail.com  

Get your tickets by clicking here!