by Tamar Shai Bolkvadze

Featuring Brad Bolchunos, David Shai Bolkvadze, David J. Loftus, Robert Nove, and Jeremy Southard

Sunday September 16 and Sunday September 23, 7:00pm

Admission is free, but we will happily accept donations to support the development of CoHo’s New Work Pipeline. Reserve your seat and/or make a donation now!

CoHo received an unprecedented number of applications for the last round of CoHo Lab workshops in August 2018, and we only had the capacity to champion 4 of the 27 submitted projects at the time. However, when CoHo’s time, space and financial resources do allow, we jump at the chance to support artists in the development of new work through CoHo Lab. We are pleased to welcome playwright Tamar Shai Bolkvadze to CoHo, where she will have the opportunity to workshop her play, Ugly Baby, Stupid Baby, in a pared-down Lab process with 2 public staged reading performances. A facilitated feedback session will follow each of the public readings. The playwright plans to incorporate relevant feedback and make changes to the script between the first reading on September 16 and the second on September 23.


The first draft of Ugly Baby, Stupid Baby was written in January of 2016. The play takes place in the Israeli controlled sector of Hebron on the West Bank, and is a “real time” piece that involves a Palestinian café owner and an Israeli settler who become trapped together during a violent protest. It is essentially a story about two middle-aged men who struggle with their feelings of powerlessness.

The playwright’s goal is to write plays that challenge assumptions and ask questions about things we think we fully understand. Playwright Lloyd Suh once wrote, “…when you’re dealing with populations that have been underrepresented or misrepresented, every representation takes on an incredible burden of responsibility.” With that in mind, Ugly Baby, Stupid Baby playwright Tamar Shai Bolkvadze has made her intentions for the workshop and public readings clear, saying, “Because one of the characters, Ibrahim, is of an ethnicity and religion different than my own, I would be most interested in inviting members of Portland’s Palestinian community to offer feedback” about the portrayal of Ibrahim to ensure that she is handling his story responsibly. She also hopes to clarify each character’s intentions while ensuring that they are complex and empathetic.


Tamar Shai Bolkvadze has completed six feature-length screenplays, two pilots, six plays, and a novel, Fireweed, for which she was a finalist for Hidden River Publishing’s Eludia Award. Tamar is fortunate to be the 2017 Oregon Literary Arts Women Writers Fellowship in drama recipient, and she was recently named a finalist in the Marin Theatre Company’s David Callichio Emerging American Playwright Prize for her play Ugly Baby, Stupid Baby. She directed a staged reading of her latest work, The Insurance Play, at the Valdez Last Frontier Theatre Conference in summer 2018. Before she began writing for the stage, Tamar spent years as an actor. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Drama from Syracuse University, during which time she had the opportunity to study acting in Moscow and London. Tamar just completed a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Fiction from the University of Alaska Anchorage. She lives near Portland, Oregon with her two sons.

Tamar would like to thank Oregon Literary Arts for their support of Ugly Baby, Stupid Baby.

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