community dream productions
Plays and Presentations
Original Creative Work with Discussions
by Bonnie Ratner
Hazardous Beauty, Part of the 2016 Fertile Ground Festival
by Bonnie Ratner
Two women—one black, one white—attend a memoir writing class at a Portland college. As writers, they have license to critique each other’s work, but because this is a class on memoir, what results is often a laser-like critique of each other’s lives—sometimes painful, sometimes sad, sometimes joyful, and often very funny. And because they are here to write about their lives, not just talk about them, they are charged with “coherence,” with making sense of love, work, art and aging, and, together, to explore what all this means at the intersection of gender, race and class. Can they be allies for each other on this writer’s journey or will hard words fly, old wounds fester, and women weep? And what does it matter?
What the audience had to say…
"Last night's staged reading of Bonnie Ratner's new play Hazardous Beauty was a fascinating, multilayered exploration of the idea that (to quote Bonnie) 'the truth is in the paradox.' The audience is challenged to question their assumptions along with the characters who are not really whom we assume them to be at the beginning of the play. This is a play of deep ideas as revealed through the conversations of two women whose differences are not in the end as great as their shared humanity. I was glad to experience the play in a full and enthusiastic house of people of many ages, races, and backgrounds,which enhanced the love and joy with which the play culminated. Congratulations to playwright, director, and actor Bonnie Ratner; to actor Skeeter Greene; to Assistant Director Jocelyn Seid; and to Stage Manager Ann Moore. Well done, my friends—well done indeed." –Ronni Lacroute
Social media comments:
- "Wonderfully provocative!!! Beautifully written and performed!"
- "Such a great experience tonight with this performance!"
- "Witty and complex!"
- "What an amazing play and performance! It was awesome to see two strangers meet and peel through the world's stereotypes and misconceptions to reveal the hearts of two such richly talented, yet scarred individuals. Brava!"
- "A great play!"
- "Absolutely brilliant script and performance!"
- "Looks like you have a hit on your hands!"
- "Wonderful work from Bonnie Ratner and Skeeter Greene. So glad we were able to make the reading of this powerful one act... and looking forward to its continuing evolution."
- "Drove in from Newport on the beautiful central Oregon coast to see the presentation. Well worth the drive. Thanks."
My Walk Has Never Been Average
by Bonnie Ratner and Roberta S. Hunte
My Walk Has Never Been Average was presented at the 2013 Fertile Ground Festival. It is based on Professor Roberta S. Hunte's dissertation of the same name. Professor Hunte conducted in-depth interviews with 15 African-American women in all aspects of the building trades. In collaboration with Professor Hunte, I adapted these stories into a piece for the stage. Walk has been performed several times as a staged reading since that first Fertile Ground performance. It has been funded by Oregon Humanities Foundation and was given assistance by Portland Playhouse, the August Wilson Red Door Project, and—especially—Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc. In collaboration with Professor Hunte, I am presently writing a new version that will transform "Walk" into a fully realized play.
Stay tuned for future performances and conversations.
Presentations and Panels
In my humble opinion, in order to bring about real change, we need to go deeper in our thinking. We need to bust through the sound bites and "buzziness." And we need to be able to have charged conversations about heady ideas. That's how we fuel our alliance building—we go deep.
Watch for these learning opportunities, in collaboration with community partners, as this idea develops.
Popular Culture Seminars
My Community Learning Dream
This is another new idea under development. For years, I've wanted to use popular culture (think great series like The Wire) as a way to deepen understanding of ourselves and our communities. It's possible that I will do this in a hybrid way, both online and on the ground. I've taught literature this way before, and I think it would be great fun to explore acclaimed TV dramas or movies in an informal learning group over time.