CoHo Productions presents


New works in progress from the CoHo Lab
August 19, 2018  |  8:00pm
Tickets: Pay What You Can


CoHo Lab launched in August 2016 for CoHo Productions to provide dedicated space, time and resources to theatre artists developing new works of performance. As studio spaces become less accessible, and methods of collaborative theatre-making become more project-specific, CoHo Lab provides a crucial service and extends CoHo’s mission to nurture and support exceptional Portland-based theatre artists. Selected artists receive a 20-30 hour workshop residency to develop their work and artist stipends are provided. Each Lab includes a private/invited showing for the artists to receive professional feedback, then culminates in a ticketed showing for a public audience.

Artists in this Lab cohort will workshop their performances at CoHo between August 6 and 19, culminating in a public showing of pieces of their works in progress on August 19.


Samantha Shay, lead artist
With collaborators Brenna Frederickson and Nini Julia Bang

HOUSE OF THE LIVING is a new dance theatre piece inspired by Henrik Ibsen’s feminist masterpiece Hedda Gabler, developed by an interdisciplinary team and performed by dancers, actors, and singers. It is a psyschosexual grande ballet, and a personal reckoning, excavating the buried selves that live within the forms we call man and woman. House of the Living is a performative poem, where words are heard but do not act as the center of the performance. House of the Living greets the audience with a flattering sheen of Apollonian beauty that descends into an emotionally ravenous underworld, enveloped by the chaos of Nature bound up in society’s definitions of gender.

Emerging with great controversy in the late 1800’s, Hedda Gabler is a play that centers around one of the greatest dramatic roles written for the theatre. The main character, Hedda, has been historically interpreted across a broad and complex spectrum, from a victim of the patriarchy, an evil villain, to a feminist hero. Hedda Gabler is a mysterious and tragic story of the female experience. House of the Living tells the story in a novel, refreshing way, and it stands on its own as a new piece.

Samantha Shay is a young American director of theatre and film, performer, and producer. She creates multi sensorial poetic landscapes, reminiscent of a living dream. Her work is at it’s best, a collaboration between the body and its senses, performing on the body like a welcomed hallucination. She is the founder of internationally recognised artist collective Source Material, and frequently collaborates with musicians to make films, including K Á R Y Y N, JFDR (Jófríður Akadóttir), Jodie Landau, and Sóley (Sóley Stefánsdóttir). Under the umbrella of Source Material she premiered an original piece titled of Light, which garnered the attention of world renowned artists such as performance artist Marina Abramovic, who mentored Shay through the creation of the work, and Björk, who listed her as one of her artistic inspirations in The Guardian after attending the premier, and a composition from the performance was named Best New Track on Pitchfork in fall of 2017. She premiered A Thousand Tongues in the world renowned Theatre Olympics as part of the European Capital of Culture 2016, a co-production between Source Material, and the Grotowski Institute. Samantha holds a BFA in Acting from the California Institute of the Arts, and is currently a teacher in training at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA.

CoHo Lab Elektra

A.R. Nicholas, lead artist
With collaborators 
Ashley Mellinger, Jessica Hillenbrand, Nick Ferrucci, Cecily Overman, Alan Burrell, Brian Shnipper, Brooke Totman & Ron Orbach

Girl v Troll, loosely based on the experiences of a real woman who refuses to be “kept in her place,” explores what might have happened if she had tracked down her worst online troll to find out why he felt compelled to torture her. It is a play for the internet age, but what elements could make it timeless? Nicholas aims to experiment with the idea of adding a Greek choral element represented by the iconic character Elektra, as well as investigate the effectiveness of naturalistic vs heightened, lyrical language in the storytelling.

A.R. (Anna) Nicholas has returned to Portland after 20 years in Los Angeles and New York. Produced plays include Petting Zoo Story (Primary Stages ESPA & NY Shorts Festival), Villa Thrilla, Our Dark Connection, The Elegant Dinner, Searching for Mary Jane (commissioned for THEATRE IN THE DARK, Odyssey Theatre, LA Weekly Theatre Award nominee), Lu/Lou (Dorothy Lyman), The Beaver Suite (Friends and Artists Theatre & Metropolitan Stage, NYC) Buddha Belly and Incunabula, performed for radio by LA Theatre Works, available on Audible. Other plays produced at Sacred Fools, Interact, EST, The Ape Theatre and Rogue Machine (LA), Portland Women’s Theatre and Women’s Theatre Project, Ft. Lauderdale. She is a winner of the Mach33 Science in Theatre prize at Caltech (2018), and a 2017 participant in the William Inge Play Lab. Her plays have been finalists at The Dennis & Victoria Ross Foundation, the Sundance Theatre Lab, Ebell, Susan Glaspell Prize, Route 66 (Chicago), Centenary Stages (New Jersey) and the Lila Acheson Wallace fellowship. Nicholas is the winner of the Santa Barbara Screenwriting Competition, Tent Square, Oregon Screenwriting and Scriptapalooza TV Writing Competitions, and is the recipient of Walden and Tano Media Writing Fellowships. Producing credits include Tom Jacobson’s Captain of the Bible Quiz Team for Rogue Machine Theatre as part of its award-winning 2016 season and her own Villa Thrilla. She has taught writing at the University of Oregon and has worked with the Ojai Playwrights Conference as Managing Director and dramaturg. She is a core writing and acting member of EST/LA as well as company member of Rogue Machine, Circle X, The Victory, Sacred Fools and The Ape Theatre companies. She blogs for the LA Female Playwrights’ Initiative and is a member of The Dramatists Guild, Alliance of LA Playwrights, RWA Published Authors Network, SAG/AFTRA and Actors Equity Association. She holds a BA from Mills College, a Master of Laws from Pepperdine University and an MFA from the Wilson-Churchill School of the Arts. She is an artistic board member of The Odyssey Theatre.

CoHo Lab Crucible

Philip Cuomo, lead artist
With collaborators from the CoHo Clown CoHort

Drawing on Arthur Miller’s classic 1953 play The Crucible as source material, Philip and the CoHo Clown Cohort will examine the conflict between repression and freedom through the lens of clown performance. What happens when young women strike back by any means necessary against an existing white male power structure? When so many rumors are going around, who do we believe and why? What sparks the transition from Puritan servitude to creative rebellion? And can any of this be effectively addressed through physical comedy-based theatre with minimal dialogue?

Supported by a Creative Heights grant from the Oregon Community Foundation, the CoHo Clown CoHort was created to cultivate an experimental ensemble of clown performers and contextualize the value of clowning in the modern theatre landscape.

Philip Cuomo is a director, actor, educator, Third Rail Repertory Theatre core company member, and CoHo’sProducing Artistic Director. His recent directing credits include The (Curious Case of the) Watson Intelligence by Madeleine George (CoHo Season 22), The How and The Why by Sarah Treem (CoHo Season 21), The New Electric Ballroom by Enda Walsh, Or by Liz Duffy Adams, Belleville by Amy Herzog, The Mystery of Irma Vep by Charles Ludlam and Crooked by Catherine Trieschmann (CoHo Season 18). He has created and directed multiple shows, including La Carpa Del Ausente and La Carpa Calavera for Portland’s Milagro Theatre (Drammy winner for outstanding achievement in directing), and the clown shows Philip’s Glass Menagerie (Fertile Ground Festival and CoHo Summerfest 2018), Pas Deux Bits, Box O’ Briefs and Exaggeration On A Theme. As an actor he has appeared at Lincoln Center, The Hartford Stage, The Civic Theatre of Central Florida, Third Rail, Artists Repertory Theatre, Shaking the Tree, and Imago Theatre. Philip is an adjunct faculty member at Portland State University teaching movement and clown, and a founder and faculty member of the Institute for Contemporary Performance.


Eve Johnstone, lead artist
With collaborators Danny Gray and Meredith Laubert

Inspired by John Gardner’s Grendel, Fire & Meat explores the relationship between Grendel (a monster from the epic poem Beowulf) and her mother, as well as her own struggle to find her place in human society. Grendel will interact with her bedridden mother, an old monster represented by a massive puppet upstage. The challenge of the project is to create conflict and a dynamic relationship between Grendel and her mother with very little dialogue between the two. The majority of the text is spoken by Grendel as monologue with brief interruptions by her mother. My question for this project is: can a woman be neutral? When a story centers around men, those characters encapsulate humanity as a whole, whereas plays centered around women are typically about womanhood and the problems facing a woman in patriarchal society. There is little room for women to exist as individuals in the story of humanity without having to represent the female experience. What I want to know is whether or not a woman can be a vessel for humanity, especially if a woman plays a character who is not clearly gendered, let alone human. Can she simply be that character without necessitating the representation of womanhood? Can this be a story of man vs. monster and the challenge of fitting into society, or does a woman carry with her connotations that cannot be erased?

Eve Johnstone is a writer and director who often works with puppetry, non-human characters, and finding new ways to create theatre magic. She received her BFA in Drama from NYU Tisch’s Experimental Theatre Wing where she learned devising, physical theatre, and the ins and outs of self-producing. Previous writing credits include: An Interlude in Birdsong (Rutabaga Story Co, NYU); Unless I Jump (Columbia Gorge School of Theatre); and 13 Ways (NYU). She has directed all of her written work, and produced a number of shows including Shenandoah: A One-Woman Show at the Prague Fringe Festival. She currently works as a teaching artist at Northwest Children’s Theatre, and is a founding member of Rutabaga Story Co.

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