Today kicks off the start of Portland's Fertile Ground Festival, a new-ish festival launched in 2009 by Portland Area Theatre Alliance. Especially exciting for us SW PDX parents is the play produced by Robert Gray Middle School called Awkrad, the only play in Fertile Ground that exclusively showcases the acting talents of young actors aged 11-17.
Awkrad takes place in 1984, and centers around Mark Moon, a 16-year old student at Awkrad Senior High. He's going through the trials and tribulations of his high school speech class and is continually challenged by a preppy nemesis. The show takes cues from 1980's highlights like Welcome Back Kotter, Woody Allen and 80's costumery, and of course is soundtracked by glorious 1980's music (yours truly's musical heyday). The producers write that Awkrad is "both heartbreaking and funny, addressing issues of self-esteem, bullying and teenage angst."
Awkrad was written by auGi Garred, who’s appeared on NBC’s Last Comic Standing and is a graduate of The Second City in Hollywood. Directed by Robert Gray theater program's artistic director and Portland parent Jules Moorhouse, whose past productions include Dracula, High School Musical, Northwest Nonsense, Willy Wonka and The Canterbury Tales.
Showing at Eliot Center, First Unitarian Church, 1011 SW 12th Ave in Portland, Awkrad opens tomorrow evening January 25 at 6:30 pm and continues through February 3.
Tickets are $10 adults $7 students/seniors and are available at the online Robert Gray box office.