Greetings, just in case you were celebrating surviving 2020, here’s Brett Campbell's grim little 10-minute play about a near-future pandemic, just in time to bum you out again. Written last March just as the shutdowns began, Safe Distance is streaming in Portland’s 2021 Fertile Ground Festival of New Works, which opens this Thursday, January 28. It’s included in PDX Playwrights Epic Shorts showcase, an hour-long, juried selection of five pieces exploring the theme “No Place Like Home.” The stream premieres at noon Friday, January 29 and is free to watch through Feb. 15 at fertilegroundpdx.org/portfolio-item/epic-shorts/.
About Safe Distance: In the near future, the latest pandemic mortally strikes mostly people over 40. The government imposes strict restrictions on those under 40, who can be carriers, but avoid fatal symptoms. A protest movement is emerging among young people against the restrictions and the climate crisis caused by older generations — and violence is surging. Against this backdrop, a 20-something physical therapist gives hands-on treatment to his grandmother, a government official. Both know secrets the other doesn’t. Each has an agenda, and they’re about to collide.
About the festival: Because of you-know-what, this year’s Fertile Ground Festival is a bit different: smaller (36 shows), curated, online, and it’s FREE, although donations to FG and PDXP, both vital Oregon arts institutions, are welcome at the links below. The shows are prerecorded, and will drop "live" at designated times from the opening (Thursday, January 28) through the end (Sunday, February 7). You can watch any of the shows as they drop, or tune in till Feb. 15 to catch any that you missed. Check out the full lineup of shows here, and in particular, PDX Playwrights’s several showcases.