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Gary Cole presents Black Box: Page to Stage
August 14 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm$50 – $100
Note: Gary Cole and CoHo Productions are offering a 25% discount on tickets purchased by Aug. 15th if you use the promotional code “LITPDX” when purchasing tickets! If at least 10 purchases are made with the code, an additional drawing for a “Book Club Bonus” package (10 signed copies with free shipping and author call-in) will be offered for those purchasers. Purchasing a ticket for any date will provide you with access to all scenes captured on video and invitations to live talkbacks, in addition to a copy of the book (and a custom inscription and book club call-in, if applicable).
CoHo Productions Co-founder Gary Cole presents
Black Box: Page to Stage
A Virtual Limited Run in Support of Covid-19 Arts and Culture Relief
As CoHo Productions works to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are experimenting with ways to share theatre with our audiences from a distance. Artists across the board are grappling with this same dilemma, adapting their work for new platforms that allow instant-access, enabling artists to share the spontaneity and immediacy of live performance from the safety of your home.
In response to these new realities, CoHo Productions’ cofounder Gary Cole is bringing a virtual experience to CoHo as a unique fundraising campaign for COVID-19 relief, benefiting area arts and cultural organizations. On July 24th, the red carpet will be rolled out for the digital opening of a limited “Page to Stage” run featuring scenes adapted from Black Box, Gary Cole’s debut novel. Black Box revolves around a black box theater very much like CoHo’s home in Northwest Portland. Scenes from the novel will be performed live for socially distanced media representatives and captured on video. Due to the continuing public health restrictions on Portland theaters, there will be no subsequent live performances, but each week of the run will feature an online event, such as the release of a new scene on video, or an interactive “talkback” with the actors, author, and CoHo Producing Artistic Director. The virtual run will continue until Portland theaters have fully reopened and plays can be staged without restrictions. Funds raised from this campaign will go towards direct relief for local arts and cultural organizations through the Oregon Arts and Cultural Recovery Program, established by the Oregon Community Foundation.
Tickets are on sale now through CoHo’s online box office, and will be priced at a suggested donation amount. A patron purchasing a “Box Seat” (suggested donation of $50) will receive a copy of Black Box and invitations to the online talkbacks. Patrons purchasing a “Front & Center Box Seat” (suggested donation of $100) will receive a signed copy of the novel with a custom inscription and a call-in by the author to a book club of the patron’s choice, as well as invitations to the online talkbacks. All ticket prices include shipping and handling fees for the distribution of Black Box.
Set largely in Portland, Black Box is a suspenseful story of players, on stage and off, making deals to save or sell their souls. Several actresses, a critic, and a patron form a set of dramatic triangles as their ambitions collide within the confines of a black box theater. The scenes that will be performed during the run portray the increasingly intimate relationship between Karin, an actress turned socialite who decides to make a return to the stage, and the younger Ned, a privileged writer who is forced to take a job as a theater critic after the mysterious death of his father. The role of Ned will be played by James Luster, and Karin by Marcella Laasch. Videography by Robert Randall.
Black Box author Gary Cole also wrote the first play produced by CoHo back in 1995. The company is marking its 25th anniversary this year. Cole, now a resident of Chapel Hill, NC, has agreed to donate 500 copies of the novel in support of this campaign and to provide additional copies at cost, if needed.
“We are delighted to collaborate with Gary on this innovative campaign raising desperately needed funds to relieve the devastation of COVID-19 on arts and culture in our region,” says CoHo Producing Artistic Director Philip Cuomo. “While we know it’s only a limited run, we are also thrilled to have performers back in the CoHo Theatre and to be able to offer those performances to an online audience.”
75 percent of campaign proceeds will be donated to the Oregon Arts and Culture Recovery Program established by the Oregon Community Foundation. The remaining proceeds will be retained by CoHo, to cover the substantial operating losses incurred during the closure, and cancellation of numerous performances.
OF NOTE: Seats purchased as part of “Black Box: Page to Stage” do not include tickets to any future performances at CoHo Theatre. Black Box contains mature content and is intended for adult audiences.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gary Cole is a co-founder of CoHo Productions, a theatre entrepreneur, attorney, and a long-standing supporter of the arts. Gary was raised in the Chicago area and graduated from Williams College and Stanford Law School, where he acted in numerous theater productions. Gary practiced law at the Central Intelligence Agency before writing a play based loosely on his Agency experience. While in private practice at a Portland law firm, Gary in 1995 co-founded CoHo Productions with Robert Holden. Cole and Holden collaborated on the company’s maiden production, Bodyhold. The production was mounted in 1995 on the lower level of the city’s venerable Benson Hotel. After 5 years of producing plays in makeshift venues, CoHo converted a former bookbindery in what was then a gritty industrial section of Portland to a 99-seat black box theater in 2001, moving into the location on Raleigh Street that we still inhabit today.
About the Oregon Arts & Culture Recovery Program
Supported by the Oregon Community Foundation, the Oregon Arts and Culture Recovery Program will provide flexible resources from a cohort of participating funders to support the arts and culture community who have been adversely impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19.
This program supports the adaptive capacity of both arts organizations and arts funders. Nonprofit organizations can submit a single application, which will reach numerous participating foundations, public agencies and individuals.
Generous community partners are supporting this program. Partners supporting this effort currently include: The Collins Foundation, James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, Oregon Community Foundation, Regional Arts & Culture Council, Oregon Cultural Trust, Oregon Arts Commission, The Reser Family Foundation and Schnitzer CARE Foundation / Jordan Schnitzer.
You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder’s website.