February 1 — March 16, 2014
In the Ellyn Bye Studio

By Elizabeth Heffron
Directed by Gretchen Corbett
Favorite from JAW 2012

Life’s not easy for Bo-Nita. It never is for a 13-year-old, but especially one who winds up with a dead, semi-ex-stepfather on her bedroom floor. With humor, pathos and a dash of midwest magical realism, Bo-Nita follows a mother and daughter’s journey through a working-class America of dwindling resources, and the lengths they must go to stay together and keep their beat alive.

Portland loves storytelling, from The Moth and This American Life on OPB, to Back Fence PDX and local readings of Mortified. Bo-Nita fits that Portland ethos perfectly. It’s as if Bo-Nita is answering the question “what was the most outrageous day of your life?” with a hilarious—and heartbreaking—worst/best-day-of-your-life story.

Actress Kate Eastwood Norris—who audiences adored in The North Plan two seasons ago—plays Bo-Nita.

Performance times:
Tuesday - Sunday evenings at 7:30 p.m
Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.
Thursday matinees at noon

View our Season Calendar for a full list of performances and dates.

The running time for Bo-Nita is approximately 85 minutes. There will be no intermission, and as usual with Studio productions, no late seating.

Read the cast and creative team bios.

View the playbill.

Learn more about accessibility options at PCS.

Note: Most productions at PCS are recommended for high school age and up; children under 6 are not permitted. Bo-Nita contains mature content, language and sexuality.

Performance Times

Evenings: Tuesday - Sunday at 7:30 p.m.
Matinees: Saturday and Sundays at 2 p.m.,
Thursdays at noon

*Note: These are general performance times. Certain productions may have exceptions. View the season calendar for more information.

This show's run time will be posted below the synopsis at left near the date of the first performance.

Production blog

BO-NITA: Stories of The #BestWorstDay

BO-NITA: Stories of The #BestWorstDay

09 March 2014 & Posted by Alice Hodge

Leather Storrs of Noble Rot tells his #bestworstday about one stormy night early in his career at the internationally acclaimed French Laundry. Share your #bestworstday stories and win free tickets to Bo-Nita!


BO-NITA: Stories of The #BestWorstDay

05 March 2014 & Posted by Alice Hodge

B. Frayn Masters from Back Fence PDX tells her #bestworstday story of learning how to drive stick shift in Seattle with her dad. Share your #bestworstday stories and win free tickets to Bo-Nita!


Throwback Thursday: “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest”

20 February 2014 & Posted by Alice Hodge

A Small Fire and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest share almost the exact same creative team. More


Art and photography for Bo-Nita. View on Flickr »

Reviews and Features

Aaron Scott | Portland Monthly [Review 21 Feb 2014]

PCS’s Bo-Nita Is a One-Woman Cavalcade of Gumption

“There’s nothing remotely tepid about Bo-Nita and the tale she tells. Instead, our precocious 13-year-old protagonist gets herself into scalding milk that she then whips, in a mere 85 minutes, into a Dairy Queen Blizzard of black comic delight, coated in a sweet chocolate shell of, if not redemption, at least hope.”

“Norris soars in her characterizations, never once muddying the colorful personalities as she bounces back and forth in rapid succession. But perhaps even more exceptionally, her skilled acting combines with Heffron’s script to imbue a humanity that elevates each from a caricature to a character, in the eccentric sense of the word, deserving of our empathy.”

Read the full article here.

Dennis Sparks | Dennis Sparks Reviews [Review 18 Feb 2014]

“And, to put it simply and bluntly, Norris is extraordinary!  Not only is she able to portray at least a half dozen other characters, with only minimal changes in her voice or posture, but we never lose track of the story.  She is so good, I simply can not imagine anyone else doing the role.  In over 40 years in the business myself, I have rarely seen a performance to equal this!  In other words, even though the story might be off-putting to some, trust that Kate (and Elizabeth and Gretchen) will lead you through it with such a deft hand, you will feel transported by the experience.

To say the least, I highly recommend this show.  If you do go, please tell them Dennis sent you.”

Read the full article here.

Kaitie Todd | Willamette Week [Review 18 Feb 2014]

“You’ve got to find your own personal beat,” says Bo-Nita, the titular teenager of Portland Center Stage’s one-woman production. It’s a sentiment, however familiar, that the show never abandons.”

“Kate Eastwood Norris deftly embodies six characters…She nails the timing throughout, capturing a wordless, argumentative staring contest between lovers, or an uncomfortable car-ride conversation between mother and daughter.”

Read the full article here.

Marty Hughley | The Oregonian [Review 28 Jan 2014]

Here’s what The Oregonian had to say about Bo-Nita in this year’s season preview feature:

“A favorite from last summer’s JAW playwrights’ festival, this madcap comedy of mid-American family dysfunction carries dark undertones about the effects of poverty and sexual abuse on a resourceful 13-year-old, but handles such issues with sensitivity—even amid the outlandish characters and situations that had the JAW audience howling with laughter.”

Read the full article here.


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