PCS Blog

2014 JAW Line Up Announced!

Posted by Claudie Fisher | 12 June 2014

JAW: A Playwrights Festival 2014

JAW (short for Just Add Water) is Portland Center Stage's annual developmental festival of new work for the stage.
 Every summer, we get reminded of the vitality of this ever-changing, crazy fun, wild world of theater. JAW: A Playwrights Festival takes over the Armory as the universe of artists required to make a play  writers, directors, dramaturgs, actors, stage managers  gathers to pull apart, and then put back together, the newest work from some of the country's most exciting writers. At first the work is done in separate rooms, play by play; thoughtfully assembled groups with intense focus and brave brains. Then, as the two weeks reaches its final days, the building opens wide with The Big Weekend, inviting hundreds of audience members to become part of the creation by joining us for staged readings of these spanking new scripts  and a slew of performances from other Portland theaters and arts ensembles.

JAW is always free and open to the public. Join us!



This year, three playwrights will make their JAW debuts with exciting new scripts – Penny Penniston’s surprising Keys of the Kingdom, Tommy Smith’s electric db and Mat Smart’s mysterious The Royal Society of Antarctica – and Portland favorite Adam Bock will return with his new play, A Life, commissioned by Portland Center Stage. 


July 24, 8 p.m. in the Ellyn Bye Studio
This year's JAW fest will kick off with staged readings of new scripts from six Portland-area high school playwrights. Come ready to celebrate and socialize!


July 25 & 26, 4 p.m. & 8 p.m. on the Main Stage 
After two weeks of rehearsals, rewrites and rethinking the meaning of life, we are ready to give you a first glimpse into new stories for the American theater. Read about the exciting line up.


July 25 & 26, 12-3 p.m.
Artists from across the nation will conduct labs for our local community. Admission is FREE, but in order to maintain a high level of quality, attendance for each lab is limited and determined by random lottery. The deadline to enter the lottery is July 18.

Learn about this year's Community Artist Labs. 


July 25 & 26, 3-8 p.m.
Dynamic performance pieces hand-selected for JAW will animate the building and engage audience members before every reading. Dancers, puppeteers and musicians will pop up throughout the building before and after readings.

Check out the Press Play schedule.

JAW FESTIVAL LINE Up: the plays and playwrights!


July 25 & 26, 4 p.m. & 8 p.m. on the Main Stage 

Here's the exciting line up for this year's JAW fest.

**The below dates & times are subject to change.  That's the way new work rolls. ***


By Penny Penniston
Friday, July 25 at 4 p.m.

As assistant to the celebrity pastor of an evangelical mega church, Arthur obeys orders, attacks paperwork, and guards against sin.  Arthur is surprised when the church pastor commissions a mural from Irene Hoff, an atheist New York artist married to another woman. Arthur is even more surprised when the pastor explains that he believes Irene has been chosen by God. But the biggest surprise of all is what happens when Irene shows up and starts to paint. 

Penny Penniston is the author of now then againSpin7 Years at the Mayfair MallMiss Julie (an adaptation), and The Roaring Girl (co-adapted with Jeremy Wechsler). Her work has been produced/developed in Chicago with Theater Wit, Bailiwick Repertory, Shakespeare’s Motley Crew, Collaboration, Stage Left Theatre and Lookingglass Theatre. Also, Gorilla Rep (NY), the Depot Theater (NY), the Blank Theater (CA), The Old Globe (CA), Milwaukee Repertory Theater (WI), plus numerous others. Awards include multiple Joseph Jefferson citations for excellence and the Sloan Prize at the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival.  


By Tommy Smith
Story by Teddy Bergman and Tommy Smith
Friday, July 25 at 8 p.m.

Thanksgiving weekend 1971. A man calling himself D.B. Cooper boards a plane in Portland, hijacks it for $200,000 at the SeaTac Airport, then parachutes into a snowstorm over Mount Rainier, never to be seen again. db brings to life this electric story, showing how the enduring myth of Cooper has created a canvas for regular Americans to act out fantasies of heroism, celebrity, revenge, retribution and rage.

Tommy Smith’s plays, including White Hot, ZeroFiremenPTSD, Pigeon, The Wife, Sextet, Caravan Man (music and lyrics by Gabriel Kahane), Demon Dreams, A Day In Dig Nation, and Air Conditioning, have been produced at Ensemble Studio Theatre, P.S. 122, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Here Arts Center, The Flea Theater, Access Gallery (NYC), Echo Theater Company (LA), Washington Ensemble Theatre, The Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference, The Public Theatre, La Mama, The Warhol Museum, MCA Chicago, ICA Boston, On The Boards and PICA: TBA, among others. Tommy is the recipient of the PONY Fellowship at The Lark, a two-time winner of the Lecomte du Nouy Prize, a recipient of the E.S.T. Sloan Grant, a winner of the Page73 Productions Playwriting Fellowship, a member of the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writer’s Group at Primary Stages, a recipient of the Creative Capital award, and a two-time winner of the MAP Fund.  Publications include Pigeon for Dramatists Play Service, Streak by Vintage, and White Hot in the New York Theatre Review. Tommy is a graduate of the playwriting program at the Juilliard School. He lives in New York City and Los Angeles.


By Mat Smart
Saturday, July 26 at 4 p.m.

Dee is the only person ever born at McMurdo Station in Antarctica. Shortly after giving birth, Dee’s mother mysteriously disappeared. Now, 24 years later, Dee returns to the otherworldly brightness at the bottom of the earth to work as a janitor – scrubbing toilets 60 hours a week and discovering something about what it means to disappear.

Mat Smart is the recipient of the 2014 New Voices Award from the William Inge Center for the Arts. Plays include: Naperville (Slant Theatre Project, Fall 2014), Tinker to Evers to Chance (Geva), The Steadfast (Slant, published by Dramatic Play Service), Samuel J. and K. (Williamstown Theatre Festival, Steppenwolf, Passage Theatre), The Hopper Collection (Magic Theatre, Huntington Theatre Company) and The 13th of Paris (City Theatre, Seattle Public Theatre, LiveWire). An avid baseball fan and traveler, Mat has been to all 30 current MLB stadiums, all 50 states and 6 continents – including a stint working as a janitor at McMurdo Station in Antarctica.  He lives in Manhattan.


By Adam Bock
Saturday, July 26 at 8 p.m.

Nate Martin is a simple man, living his simple life in a simple world. Sort of. Well, I guess, not
really, actually.

This world premiere play was commissioned by Perkins Coie’s “Innovative Minds,” a philanthropic program designed to recognize and reward intellectual curiosity in our communities.

Adam Bock’s plays include The Colby Sisters of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Tricycle Theater, London), Phaedra (Rose Riordan - director, Shotgun Players, 8 BATCC nominations), A Small Fire (Playwrights Horizons, Drama Desk nomination for Best Play), the book for We Have Always Lived in the Castle, with music by Todd Almond (Yale Rep), The Receptionist (MTC, 2008 Outer Critics nomination, Best Plays of 2007-2008, The Evidence Room with Megan Mullally), The Drunken City (Playwrights Horizons, 2008 Outer Critics nomination), The Thugs (Soho Rep, 2007 OBIE Award for Playwriting, JAW: A Playwrights Festival 2005), The Shaker Chair (2005 Humana Festival, Kesselring nomination), Swimming In The Shallows (Shotgun Players, Second Stage Uptown, 2000 BATCC Award, Clauder Prize, GLAAD nomination), Five Flights (Encore Theatre and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, 2002 Glickman Award), The Typographer’s Dream (Encore Theatre/Shotgun Players) and Three Guys and a Brenda (Heideman Award). Adam is the resident playwright at Encore Theatre, and a Shotgun Players Artistic Associate. He is a 2012 Guggenheim Fellow, a NEA grantee, a Guernsey Award-winner, a three-time resident at Yaddo, a former member of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, and a TDF Open Doors mentor. Adam’s plays are published by Samuel French, Dramatists Play Service and Playscripts, Inc. He is an alumnus of New Dramatists.


JAW performances are free and open to the public. No reservations are required! 



PCS is committed to making our performances and facilities accessible
 to all of our patrons. 
For more information, visit pcs.org/access


JAW is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and a grant from the Oregon Cultural Trust: Oregonians sustaining, developing and participating in our arts, heritage and humanities. Additional support is provided by the Regional Arts & Culture Council/Work for Art and the Oregon Arts Commision.

Comments (0)

There are no comments for this entry yet.

Join the conversation!

Portland Center Stage welcomes your comments and criticism.

We invite you to share your comments with us on our Facebook page.


For current and upcoming shows, please see our Season Calendar.

Sign up for the PCS email list.

Season Sponsors