OUTwright Theatre Festival

Stage & Studio: BlaQ Out blooms

In her new podcast, Dmae Roberts talks with the people behind a new incubator for Black/Queer Theatre, presented by Fuse Theatre Ensemble and OUTwright FestivaI

In this week’s Stage & Studio podcast, Dmae Roberts talks with James R. Dixon and Tyler Andrew Jones about producing the first-ever BlaQ Out.

For Pride Month,  Fuse Theatre Ensemble and The OUTwright Theatre Festival is celebrating its decade of producing their mission of what they describe as “paradigm shifting theatre.” Fuse’s new project is an incubator for Black and Queer artists to nurture and grow their work. It’s called  BlaQ Out – the brainchild James R. Dixon, who is the producing artistic director of this new incubator, and joined by associate producer Tyler Andrew Jones.

BlaQ Out features three plays: The Children of Edgar and Nina by Jarrett McCreary (7 p.m. Tursday, June 24), The White Dress by Roger Q. Mason (7 p.m. Friday, June 25) and Apologies to Lorraine Hansberry (You too, August Wilson) by Rachel Lynett (7 p.m. Saurday, June 26) as well as a  BlaQ OUT Tea Session with all the playwrights, moderated by Shareen Jacob, at 7 p.m. Sunday, June 27.s.

James R. Dixon and Tyler Andrew Jones

More about the producers of BlaQ Out:

James R. Dixon, producing artistic director of BlaQ Out, is a Portland-based director, actor and arts administrator. He’s also an intersectional equity facilitator, a member of the Accountability Collective, and an active member of Fuse Theatre Ensemble, where he directed the hit show Bootycandy  by Robert O’Hara. Other directorial credits includeThe Mysterious Affair at Styles with LineStorm Playwrights, MATTER by Charles Grant at Portland Playhouse, and  a film documentary called Gender-fication, centered on transgender, femme, and nonbinary humans of color, in honor of the 50th anniversary of Stonewall. Favorite acting credits include Bakkhai with Shaking the Tree and Two Trains Running and The NO Play at PassinArt.

Tyler Andrew Jones, associate producer of BlaQ Out. As an actor Jones has toured Egypt as Matt in The Fantasticks for Artist Repertory Theatre’s RA Project production. He’s played Jack in Into The Woods at Broadway Rose Theatre. He was in Boom crackle fly at Milagro Theater and originated the role of X-Ray in the world premiere production of Small Steps at Oregon Children’s Theatre. Jones is also an alum of Third Rail Repertory Theatre’s Mentorship Company, and he’s creating his first solo cabaret, Little Dark Star, set to premiere in early 2022. Jones also co-hosts a podcast with Brittany Myles called Family Meeting, celebrating and exploring Black intersectionality. IG: @t.andrew.jones

In this podcast hear about the three plays and about…

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Drama Watch: A clown’s tale

"Going Down in Flames" traces a great clown's fall. Plus: critical changes at The New Yorker, what's up on Oregon stages in June.

One of the things about Joan Mankin was, she was always a surprise: always in the moment, rarely the same thing twice, an improvisational spirit whose free-form antics could throw her fellow performers for a loop, delight her audiences, and send her shows spinning into another dimension. So when the sound of a train rumbling down the tracks behind The Headwaters Theatre during a performance of Going Down in Flames on Saturday night broke the action and prompted Joan Schirle, who was playing the late, great American clown Mankin, to break into an ad-lib wisecrack, it was like a side-splitting visitation from beyond: Queenie Moon, upending expectations and stealing the scene again. And the audience cracked up.

Jeff Desautels (left), Joan Schirle as Joan Mankin, and Michael O’Neill in Danny Mankin’s Going Down in Flames at The Headwaters.

Mankin, or Queenie Moon, as her famous clown persona was called, was a shining light of the West Coast new vaudeville/agitprop theater scene that thrived from the 1960s forward, employing old-fashioned theatrical styles for new and often culturally subversive purposes. She worked with the San Francisco Mime Troupe and the physical-theater stalwarts the Dell’Arte Players, as well as a lot of mainstream companies. I remember her best, and most fondly, as a star of the Pickle Family Circus, the wonderful San Francisco-based acrobatic and clowning company whose traveling shows I would seek out whenever they were in rational range, from Grant Park in Northeast Portland to the Southwest Oregon timber town of Coquille.

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