Since moving into the Vault Theater in September of 2017, Bag&&Baggage Productions, Hillsboro’s resident professional theatre company, has programmed a host of performances alongside their mainstage season of shows, working to expand opportunities for Washington County audiences to hear stories and see work that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to access.
“Our inaugural SOLO FEST last February was a remarkable celebration of the diverse experiences of people in our community,” says B&B Founding Artistic Director Scott Palmer, “and we are thrilled to bring SOLO back this year for its second season at The Vault.”
Bag&Baggage’s Second Annual SOLO FEST will take place on February 7, 8, 9, and 10; this season’s festival will feature added post-show discussion opportunities following the Saturday and Sunday performances. Audiences can experience four solo shows over the four days, with one pairing of pieces presented Thursday and Saturday, and the other pairing presented Friday and Sunday.
B&B’s SOLO FEST was created to ensure that underrepresented voices and performers have a home in Hillsboro, and to celebrate the solo performance format which gives audiences the chance to fully invest in the experience of a single performer.
“I’m so excited about the opportunity to bring such a diverse array of stories to The Vault stage,” says B&B Associate Ar-s-c Director Cassie Greer, who curates the festival along with Palmer. “Each of the solo pieces that are part of this season’s fes-val are powerful and insightful, and I can’t wait for our audiences to experience this unique work.”
The 2019 SOLO FEST productions are:
• None of the Above, wri\en and performed by Jennifer Lanier, is a comedy focused on the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and coming out with Diana Ross. Lanier takes on several different characters throughout the show, including her six-year-old self, her Daddy the Colonel, and her Austrian psychiatrist, as she hilariously and poignantly guides us through the experience of a mul-ethnic lesbian figuring out her place in the world.
• Sea/Sick, adapted and directed by Lawrence Siulagi and performed by Amber Leilani Awalt, represents the story of native cultures uprooted from their ancestral home due to the paradise lust of dominant cultures. The play follows the experiences of a teenage girl as she must leave her beloved Hawaii for the more affordable Arizona desert. Sea/Sick invites us to consider the story of becoming an outcast; of being a young, brown female cast into a predominantly white, conserva-ve city.
• Not My Revolution, written and performed by Elizabeth Huffman, follows a formerly wealthy Syrian art dealer, as she gets caught up in a series of circumstances that ultimately leave her squatting in a rat-infested room in Istanbul. During the night, she has an unusual encounter with Marie Antoinette, another woman whose life has been destroyed by revolution, and who found herself imprisoned in rat-infested cell a few hours before her execution.
• The Importance of Being Frank, written and performed by Rusty Tennant, unravels a life-me of Shakespeare study into a battle between our collective history and the lies we agree to in order to create or erase that history. Weaving in personal stories addressing gender and sexuality issues, Tennant takes us on a fast-paced journey that leaves us questioning what we think we know about the Bard and, quite possibly, about ourselves.
None of the Above and Sea/Sick will be performed on the Thursday and Saturday evenings of the festival; Not My Revolution and The Importance of Being Frank will be performed on Friday evening and Sunday afternoon. Tickets are $10 for each day of SOLO FEST.
“As important as it is to bring these underrepresented voices to our stage,” says Greer, “it is equally important to make sure that our audiences are not barred from experiencing them by huge ticket costs. I’m thrilled that B&B supporters Segun and Devinka DeSilva have stepped forward to sponsor SOLO FEST 2019, ensuring that these incredible stories can be witnessed
for just $10.”
SOLO FEST 2019 performances take place at The Vault Theater, located at 350 E. Main St. in downtown Hillsboro on February 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th. Show-mes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 7:30pm; and Sunday afternoon at 2:00pm. Tickets and more information can be found online at bagnbaggage.org, or by calling the box office at 503-345-9590.
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