Cast and Creative Team of Antigone Project

Meet the amazing team of artists that are bringing Antigone Project: A Play in 5 Parts to the stage.

In addition to the artists listed below, String House Theatre is creating one of pieces in this show. Read all about that collaboration, HERE.


Lauren Modica
Lauren Modica is thrilled to perform with Profile Theatre. A Portland native, she has performed with Portland Center Stage (Twist Your Dickens, Our Town, JAW), Artists Repertory Theater (The Skin of Our Teeth), Defunkt (In the Forest She Grew Fangs, Undiscovered Country), PHAME, Action/Adventure, Willamette Shakespeare, PAE, and many others.

Chris Murray

Chris is an actor and producer in Portland who was last seen at Profile Theatre was The Sam Shepard Festival of One Acts. Previous shows at Profile include The Sisters Rosensweig, A Few Stout Individuals and Six Degrees of Separation.Locally, he has been seen at Portland Center Stage in Great Expectations, Our Town, Futura, Sometimes a Great Notion, and 10 years at the JAW festival. Artists Repertory Theatre (The Liar, Playboy of the Western World, Xmas Unplugged, I am Still (The Duchess of Malfi), Mr. Marmalade, Take Me Out), Third Rail Repertory Theatre (A Bright New Boise, Penelope, The Aliens, A Skull in Connemara) and several shows at CoHo Productions, Portland Playhouse and more. Chris has been in many feature films you’ve probably never heard of. A few TV shows you probably have, and was called a pinhead by Bill O’Reilly on The O’Reilly Factor for his portrayal of Jesus in Everclear’s music video, Hater.

Cecily Overman

Cecily Overman has been active in Portland theatre for over ten years, both teaching and performing. Some of her favorite roles recently include: Lady Macbeth in Macbeth,  White Witch in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, and Mother in The Giver.  She has taught in the community for Artist Repertory Theatre, Portland Center Stage, Oregon Children’s Theatre, and Northwest Children’s Theater. Cecily is also committed to her work with PlayWrite Inc. where, as a coach, she helps youth on the edge find their voice through theater. She holds Bachelor’s degrees in both Psychology and Theatre from Whitman College.

Seth Rue

Seth is super excited to be working with Profile again, and especially on Antigone Project! He’s just returned from the Folger Theatre in DC for the world premiere of Aaron Posner’s District Merchants and you may have seen him in Blue Door last spring in a Drammy-nominated performance. Seth believes that illustrating rejection of oppressive and repressive patriarchy and defending the voiceless will always be one of the most urgent functions of art and he is grateful that these playwrights have done that so beautifully and accessibly. Check out their other works – you will be glad you did.

Andrea White
Andrea White is a Portland native. She moved to Los Angeles for a decade pursuing film and television. She had guest roles on Family Matters, NYPD Blue, and Living Single. She also played Jeannie in the 30th year revival of Hair. Since returning to Portland 10 years ago she has been seen in the following: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Radio Golf, Gem of the Ocean (Portland Playhouse); Lesson Before Dying, American Daughter (Profile Theatre);  The Udmurts (Defunkt Theater) and Love and Information (Theatre Vertigo) She is a two time Best Supporting Actress Drammy Award winner for her work in Two Sister’s and a Piano (Artists Rep) and Hell Cab (Theatre Vertigo). Andrea is also a former faculty member and Acting Instructor at the Portland Actors Conservatory.


Dawn Monique Williams
Dawn Monique Williams, drawn to heightened language and magic realism, is a resident artist at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival where she’ll direct Merry Wives of Windsor in 2017. She’s directed a range of plays including the English language premiere of Gracia Morales’ NN12, Othello, Twelfth Night, In the Blood, Steel Magnolias, Children of Eden, The 25th Annual Spelling Bee, Little Shop of Horrors, Burial at Thebes, Medea, and La Ronde; international directing credits include Scapin the Cheat, Anna Bella Eema, and The Tempest. Most recently Dawn directed August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson and Lynn Nottage’s By the Way, Meet Stark. She was the 2013 Killian Directing Fellow at OSF, a TCG Leadership U awardee, and a 2011 Directing Fellow of the Drama League. She holds an MA in Dramatic Literature and an MFA in Directing.

Emily Gregory
Antigone Arkhe Director
Emily Gregory is a director, playwright, and the proud co-founder of String House, a new works laboratory and producing title for experimental, home-grown works of theatre.  Past work with String House includes Waxwing (playwright; 2012), …And the Great Refraction! (playwright/director; 2013), and Rosencrantz Are Guildenstern Are Dead (director, in collaboration with Anon It Moves; 2014).  Emily was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, but is now proud to call Portland, Oregon her home.  She is thrilled to begin a masters in Writing For Performance at Goldsmiths University of London this fall.

Kaye Blankenship
Scenic and Props Design
Kaye is a props, scenic, and lighting designer originally hailing from Sammamish, Washington. She earned her BA in theatre from Lewis & Clark College, and after a year working in New York, she is back in Portland and excited to work with Profile once again. Favorite past shows include: Annapurna (Third Rail), Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood LIVE (Mills Entertainment), A Winter’s Tale (Anon It Moves), Static (Third Rail Repertory Theatre), Ramona Quimby (Oregon Children’s Theatre), Snowstorm (CoHo), In The Next Room (Profile Theatre), and Waxwing with String House Theatre, where she is a founding member.

Jennifer Lin
Lighting Design
Jennifer Lin is a freelance lighting designer and stage technician who has been working in Portland theatre, dance and opera since 2008. She attended Portland State University from 2006-2008, and received The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival’s Achievement Award for her lighting design for PSU’s production of Electra.  Jennifer is a company member of Third Rail Repertory Theatre, and upcoming projects include Third Rail’s production of The Nether.

Sarah Ludeman
Costume Design

Sara is a local costume designer. Born and raised in Portland,  she graduated from PSU with her BA in History. In addition to her production work, she also assists with Profile’s Hand’s On Theatre program in the Portland Public Schools. Her credits include: Into the Beautiful North and American Night (Milagro Theatre), The Call and Passion Play (Profile Theatre), Peter and the Starcatcher (Portland Playhouse) and High School Musical (Enlightened Theatrics).

Phillip Johnson
Sound Design

Phillip is a theatrical artist based in Portland Oregon and the Technical Director of Ridgefield High school’s Drama program. His recent productions include Hands Up (Red Door Project), Worse Than Tigers (ACT Theater/Red Stage), Contigo Pan y Cebolla (Milagro Theater), A Lady Onstage (Profile Theater), and The Importance of Being Earnest (Valley Repertory Theater).  When he isn’t designing or teaching Phil is traveling the world spreading art education to impoverished areas. He most recently taught theater in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya. He has a B.F.A. and M.A. from Ohio University. For updates, Downloads and links to show soundtracks please visit

Miranda Russ
Stage Manager
Miranda Swineford has a BA in Drama with Honors in Stage Management from University of California, Irvine and an MFA in Stage Management from Columbia University in the City of New York. Her professional credits include: Gigi on Broadway; Othello at Classic Stage Company; Birds of Paradise at New York International Fringe Festival; Summer Valley Fair at New York Musical Theatre Festival; and more.  Having recently moved back to the West Coast, Miranda is absolutely thrilled to be working on her first production with Profile Theatre.

Karen Hill
Production Manager
Karen is thrilled to be working with Profile and such wonderful fellow artists.  Continuing to be a part of this theater community is joyful gift.  Karen also works with Artists Repertory Theater, Portland Shakespeare Project, and has previously worked at Oregon Children’s Theater, Third Rail, Portland Center Stage, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.  One million thanks to Mike for supporting this crazy lifestyle.

Melissa Sondergeld
Production Assistan
Melissa is thrilled to be working with Profile Theater again, after working on Dead Man’s Cell Phone last season. She is a recent graduate of Warner Pacific College, with a degree in Music Education and Theater. She is currently working as a teacher at Mayer Christian Academy. Past productions include Encounter, As You Like It and The Spitfire Grill at WPC, Hello Dolly at Manestage Theater Company and Eurydice at Portland State.

Karen Hartman
Hang Ten
Karen Hartman held the Playwright Center’s 2014-15 McKnight Residency and Commission for a nationally recognized playwright. Current: Roz and Ray (Alley Theatre), The Book of Joseph (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), Project Dawn (People’s Light & Theater Company), and a Yale Repertory Theater commission about the landmark Supreme Court case Ricci vs DeStefano. Her new dialogue for Mozart’s The Magic Flute appeared at Meany Center in Seattle, 2015. Goldie, Max, and Milk premiered at Florida Stage and the Phoenix Theater. Other works: Goliath, Gum, Leah’s Train, Going Gone; Girl Under Grain; Wild Kate, ALICE: Tales of a Curious Girl Troy Women; and MotherBone, score by Graham Reynolds. New York: Women’s Project, National Asian American Theatre Company, P73, the New York Fringe, and Summer Play Festival. Regional: Center Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse, Dallas Theater Center, the Magic, and elsewhere. Publications: TCG, DPS, Playscripts, Backstage Books, and NoPassport Press. Awards: Sustainable Arts Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation at Bellagio, the N.E.A., the Helen Merrill Foundation, Daryl Roth “Creative Spirit” Award, Hodder Fellowship, Jerome Fellowship, Fulbright Scholarship. Prose: New York Times and The Washington Post. An alumna of New Dramatists and longtime Brooklynite, Karen is now Senior Artist in Residence at the University of Washington School of Drama.

Tanya Barfield
Tanya Barfield’s plays include: Bright Half Life (Women’s Project Theatre), The Call (Playwrights Horizons/Primary Stages), Blue Door (South Coast Rep, Playwrights Horizons), Feast (co-writer, Young Vic/Royal Court), Of Equal Measure (Center Theatre Group), Chat (New Dramatists’ Playtime Festival), The Quick (New York Stage & Film).  A recipient of a Lilly Award, the inaugural Lilly Award Commission and a Helen Merrill Award, Tanya is an alumna of Dramatists and a member of The Dramatist Guild Council. In 2016,  Profile Theatre is devoting their entire season to her work.  TV credits include: The One Percent and The Americans.

Caridad Svich
Antigone Arkhe
Caridad Svich received a 2012 OBIE Award for Lifetime Achievement in the theatre, a 2012 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award and NNPN rolling world premiere for Guapa, and the 2011 American Theatre Critics Association Primus Prize for her play The House of the Spirits, based on the Isabel Allende novel. She has won the National Latino Playwriting Award (sponsored by Arizona Theatre Company) twice, including in the year 2013 for her play Spark. She has been short-listed for the PEN Award in Drama four times, including in the year 2012 for her play Magnificent Waste. Seven of her plays are published in Instructions for Breathing and Other Plays (Seagull Books and University of Chicago Press, 2014). Five of her plays radically re-imagining ancient Greek tragedies are published in Blasted Heavens (Eyecorner Press, University of Denmark, 2012). She has edited several book on theatre including Innovation in Five Acts (TCG, 2015), and Trans-Global Readings (Manchester University Press, 2004). She sustains a parallel career as a theatrical translator, chiefly of the dramatic work of Federico Garcia Lorca. She is alumna playwright of New Dramatists, associate editor of Contemporary Theatre Review (Routledge,UK), and founder of NoPassport theatre alliance and press.

Lynn Nottage
A Stone’s Throw
Lynn Nottage is a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright and a screenwriter.  Her plays include SweatBy The Way, Meet Vera Stark (Lily Award, Drama Desk Nomination), Ruined (Pulitzer Prize, OBIE, Lucille Lortel, New York Drama Critics’ Circle, Audelco, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Award), Intimate Apparel (American Theatre Critics and New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards for Best Play), Fabulation, or The Re-Education of Undine (OBIE Award), Crumbs from the Table of Joy,  Las Meninas, Mud, River, Stone, Por’knockers and POOF!.
Nottage is the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellowship, Steinberg “Mimi” Distinguished Playwright Award, the Dramatists Guild Hull-Warriner Award, the inaugural Horton Foote Prize, Lilly Award, Helen Hayes Award, the Lee Reynolds Award, and the Jewish World Watch iWitness Award. Her other honors include the National Black Theatre Fest’s August Wilson Playwriting Award, a Guggenheim Grant, PEN/Laura Pels Award, Lucille Lortel Fellowship and Visiting Research Fellowship at Princeton University. She is a graduate of Brown University and the Yale School of Drama, where she has been a faculty member since 2001.  She is also an Associate Professor at Columbia School of the Arts.

Chiori Miyagawa
Red Again
Chiori Miyagawa is a playwright based in New York City. She conceived Antigone Project in 2004—during Bush’s second presidential campaign—to pull together women’s political voices and share them with audiences. Chiori’s plays have been produced off-Broadway (Vineyard Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop, Women’s Project, Culture Project), at renowned performance houses in NYC (HERE Arts Center, Performance Space 122, Ohio Theater, La Mama) and regionally. This Lingering Life premiered in San Francisco in June 2014 at Z Space and was a finalist for Theater Bay Area Best Premiere of Play Award. A collection of seven of her plays, Thousand Years Waiting and Other Plays, is published by Seagull Books; and another collection of five plays, America Dreaming and Other Plays is published by NoPassport Press. She is a recipient of many fellowships including a New York Foundation for the Arts Playwriting Fellowship, a McKnight Playwriting Fellowship, an Asian Cultural Council Fellowship, a Rockefeller Bellagio Residency Fellowship, and a Radcliffe Institute Fellowship at Harvard University. She is an alumna of New Dramatists, a Usual Suspect of New York Theatre Workshop and Playwright in Residence at Bard College.







Antigone Project Media Kit

For additional information, please contact Marketing and Communications Manager Natalie Genter-Gilmore at or call 503.242.0080.

Antigone Project Media Release

Click on the thumbnails below to download the Photos files.

Andrea White and Cecily Overman in “Hang Ten,” part of Antigone Project: A Play in 5 Parts playing at Profile Theatre September 7-11, 2016. Photo by Owen Carey.


Seth Rue in “Hang Ten,” part of Antigone Project: A Play in 5 Parts playing at Profile Theatre September 7-11, 2016. Photo by Owen Carey.

Lauren Modica in “Medallion,” part of Antigone Project: A Play in 5 Parts playing at Profile Theatre September 7-11, 2016. Photo by Owen Carey.

Chris Murray in “Medallion,” part of Antigone Project: A Play in 5 Parts playing at Profile Theatre September 7-11, 2016. Photo by Owen Carey.

Alex Leigh Ramirez in “Antigone Arkhe,” part of Antigone Project: A Play in 5 Parts playing at Profile Theatre September 7-11, 2016. Photo by Owen Carey.

Andrea Whittle in “Antigone Arkhe,” part of Antigone Project: A Play in 5 Parts playing at Profile Theatre September 7-11, 2016. Photo by Owen Carey.

Andrea Whittle in “Antigone Arkhe,” part of Antigone Project: A Play in 5 Parts playing at Profile Theatre September 7-11, 2016. Photo by Owen Carey.

Andrea White in “A Stone’s Throw,” part of Antigone Project: A Play in 5 Parts playing at Profile Theatre September 7-11, 2016. Photo by Owen Carey.

Seth Rue and Lauren Modica in “A Stone’s Throw,” part of Antigone Project: A Play in 5 Parts playing at Profile Theatre September 7-11, 2016. Photo by Owen Carey.

Cecily Overman and Chris Murray in “Red Again,” part of Antigone Project: A Play in 5 Parts playing at Profile Theatre September 7-11, 2016. Photo by Owen Carey.

Cecily Overman and Andrea White in “Red Again,” part of Antigone Project: A Play in 5 Parts playing at Profile Theatre September 7-11, 2016. Photo by Owen Carey.



Antigone: A Timeless Tale of Defiance

Antigone is the gut-wrenching finale to Sophocles’ soul-and- spirit-wrenching Oedipus trilogy, which details the rise, fall, and inevitable fulfillment of prophecy of Oedipus. Following his timely death in the previous installment, Oedipus at Colonus, his lifelong battle with fate is passed down to his next of kin – sons Eteocles and Polyneices and our titular heroine, daughter Antigone. Their prophecy, foretold by the prophet Teiresias, states that the two brothers will kill each other in a battle for their late father’s seat as the King of Thebes. Antigone returns to Thebes, hoping to halt this prophecy, only to discover her brothers already dead and Polyneice’s body rotting in the town square. Creon, believing Polyneice a traitor, has made it illegal for him to receive proper burial rites. Refusing to accept Creon’s word as law, Antigone decides to bury her brother, leading to her imprisonment. Knowing she likely faces torture and death, Antigone hangs herself in her cell, defying Creon once again. In the wake of her suicide, Creon’s son (Antigone’s fiance) is stricken by grief and kills himself as well, leaving Creon to end the play in anguish.

Antigone is, at its heart, a story of defiance, of civil disobedience, of doing what is morally right in the face of unjust laws. The entire Oedipus trilogy revolves around these themes but the previous two installments focus mainly on the conflict of free will vs. fate (or prophecy). The battles are heady and internal and in many cases a character’s enemy is themselves, or what they may one day be. But Antigone is unique in that the prophecy has been fulfilled before Antigone ever enters Thebes. Her brothers lay dead and the wrong person is in power. So, what is she going to do about it?

For once, it is up to her.

As long as we as a society have governments and centralized powers, stories of civil disobedience will resonate. We often hear of protests and boycotts, walk-outs and sit-ins; in this Post-Ferguson, Post-Occupy world, people are realizing the power of like-minded groups. But what if you have no group? Antigone stands alone throughout the play. Her family is dead and the city she once called home is against her. She is a young woman fighting for what she knows to be right in a patriarchal society which views her as objectively lesser. It is not an uphill battle; it is a gravity-defying climb up a jagged rock face in a storm. Still she is defiant to her last breath.

Antigone is the perfect example of fighting for what is right, of overcoming the odds, of looking fate in the eyes and saying “not today”. Many ancient Greek plays became archaic long ago – but Antigone holds up and speaks as true today as the day it was written.


-London Bauman
Profile Dramaturgy Intern


Get tickets to Antigone Project: A Play in 5 Parts




Mythic Heros Through a Different Lens

What does it mean to be a character? What does it mean to be a person? How many lives can one person live? How can Spider-Man be black?

The answers to all of these questions usually mix together and boil down to two key principles of story-telling: the speaker and the audience; or, what the story means to the person telling it and who they are shaping it for. Perhaps they change certain important aspects of the story and yet keep others. Maybe a character changes gender or the setting is shifted a thousand years. It is very rare for a story and all its details to stay enduringly unique forever – which is why modernized Shakespeare plays are the norm and why in the current Marvel canon, the man under the Spider-Man mask is Miles Morales – an outcast black teen from New York – following Peter Parker’s death in past issues. One explanation is simply that the next man to receive Spidey’s superpowers just happened to be of African-American descent; a coincidence.

But nothing in storytelling is a coincidence.

So, the other explanation is that the story of Spider-Man, a nerdy teen who didn’t fit in from New York (a city which is 30% Black), resonates with young African-Americans and tells a story which makes sense and inspires a demographic who doesn’t typically get to see themselves represented by super heroes. A classic story of heroics and redemption is taken and reworked when a new storyteller took up the pen and a new audience was designated as the listeners.

The exact same mechanic is at work amid all 5 stories of  Antigone Project, as 5 different playwrights take the basic framework of the ancient Greek story Antigone and dissect it, scrutinizing it’s details and fitting them into a fresh skin with new words and characters but the same few strands of truth present in all of them. In Tanya Barfield’s Medallion, Antigone is embodied in Antoinette, a young African-American woman demanding she receive the purple heart she believes is owed to her deceased brother from Carlton (Creon), who tells her she “oversteps herself” with her requests. It is a story of civil disobedience and rightful burial just as Sophocles’ 2500 year old play is and the same resonant strands are present, but it is a new tale told by a new teller and for a new audience. It is not a rendition, nor it is an homage, but a retelling – allowing Antigone and her fight to breathe in the air of 1918 and show how different times are … or, exactly the same.

All 5 playwrights within Antigone Project offer their own personal reworking of Antigone and her struggle while mixing in their own intimate impressions of the ancient woman they write about. Sometimes it is startlingly different, sometimes entirely familiar. It all depends on who tells the story and who they tell it for.

-London Bauman
Profile Dramaturgy Intern







In Dialogue Events: Antigone Project

Profile Theatre is proud to be partnering with Blacque Butterfly Presents on the In Dialogue Main Stage events for The Antigone Project: A Play in Five Parts.  We have collaborated to feature a series of local spoken-word artists performing in our lobby prior to each performance of the production.  Mirroring the collection of diverse voices embodied in Antigone Project, the artists are from varied backgrounds, experiences and perspectives, all of which come to bear on the profound and provocative  work that they will be sharing with our audiences.

To find out more about Antigone Project, click here.
To see past In Dialogue Events, click here.

Wednesday, September 7th:
Angela Davise | 6:55pm

Thursday, September 8th:
ShaRhonda McCauley | 6:55pm

Friday, September 9th:
Nafisaria Scroggins-thomas  and Akela Jaffi | 6:55pm

Saturday, September 10th Matinee:
GG Warren and Anayla Warren-Premsingh** | 1:25pm

Saturday, September 10th Evening:
Habiba Addo | 6:55pm

Sunday, September 11th:
Wilma Alcock and Blacque Butterfly** | 1:25pm

(**): Mother-Daughter Pairing

Additionally, as part of our year-long collaboration with Geezer Gallery, we will be displaying the work of Farooq Hassan in our lobby for the duration of this production.  Mr. Hassan’s varied exploration of the female form and the female psyche reflect the versatility of expression embodied in The Antigone Project.

Artist Bios:

Habiba Addo is a native of Ghana, West Africa.  She holds a degree in Theater and a Certificate of Dance from Portland State University.  She has performed and taught in the United States and internationally for over fifteen years.  She teaches and performs dance, rhythm and stories from Ghana, Guinea, Gambia and Senegal.  She also shares the rich African cultures present today in Cuba and Brazil. A guest teacher and performer for Portland Public Schools for over fifteen years, Habiba has also performed and taught the community in dance, storytelling and theater through organizations such as Young Audiences, White Bird, Oregon Ballet Theater, Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center, Tygres Heart Shakespeare Company, Mambo Queens, Northwest Afrikan American Ballet, Montessori Schools, Cedarwood Woldorf School, Oregon Episcopal School, Miracle Theater, Milagro Bailadores and Portland State University’s World Dance Office. She is a recipient of the Lila Jewel award (2000), an Arts Alive grant (2000) and multiple technical assistant grants from Regional Arts and Culture Council (1998, 2002 and 2012).

Wilma Alcock – Wilma has written poetry as a Write around Portland participant and spokesperson.  She was also  featured in Give!Guide and the voice of the Portland Harbor River clean project and she is also a freedom writer.

Akela Auer “Akela Jaffi” is a Portland native. She has been performing since she was small because it’s in her bloodline and because she knows nothing else. While her craft is made up of many different mediums, dance has been her main boo for over a decade. She recognizes the power movement has to open up the darkest doors of the self and inspire others to seek within for guidance. She intends to always dance as a form of prayer and healing.

Darlene Solomon “Blacque Butterfly – Blacque Butterfly is an entertainer. Her love for the arts has allowed her to explore several layers of her calling. Be it spoken word, motivational speaking, singing, dancing, theater or event promoting she has allowed the Creator to use her ministry to inspire others to follow their calling. Darlene is a native Oregonian, born and raised in NE Portland she has released and published a chapbook entitled “Black girl can I comb your hair” and a spoken word CD entitled Collide -A – Scope (Where life, love and grace collide.) She is currently in the studio working on her sophomore project. She is featured on a variety of collaborative projects.

Angela Davise, Georgia born,  California Grown,  Portland Grounded, started her journey with musical expression several years ago.  From the time she was a child she searched for outlets to release the emotional depth of her heart through the expression of, poetry, art, and dance. The music of Angela Davise evokes an emotional response to the deepest of secret cries within the heart.  The total abandonment to the world of listeners to be completely transparent in songwriting paints a very clear picture of struggle and survival, sadness and joy, defeat overcome by victorious cries of an unrelenting hope.

Farooq Hassan spent his youth in crowded cafes and on the docks in Iraq, striving to capture on paper the colorful scenes playing out before his eyes. As a young man, he taught high school. “We did our best to create art, not politics,” Hassan recalls. For 50 years he built his standing as an artist. His work was exhibited in London, Amman, Basrah, and Baghdad. In Iraq, he was considered a national treasure.

Then, politics changed his life forever. Between 1980 and 1991 Hassan moved 22 times, always one step ahead of political strife in Bagdad. Life in Iraq was especially perilous. In 2010, Hassan and his wife, Haifa, joined their daughter in Portland. Hassan was 71 years old and he had lost everything: his reputation as a master artist, the paintings he had created in Iraq, and his home. So, he set about renewing himself through painting.

ShaRhonda “Rose City MissChief” McCauley is a spoken word and hip-hop performance and recording artist.  The rapoet most recently self-published and released her first anthology of poetry called Rhyme Scheme:  Power Edition Volume 1.  The Portland, OR native has performed at many community events, schools, and local concerts as a soloist and as a group as one of the original members of the hip-hop trio Rose Bent.  She recorded two projects with the group and also a limited play spoken word album and mixtape as a soloist.  She has collaborated with many other local talents and has had opportunities to showcase her talents in other regions as well.

Sherrie Warren “GG Warren”GG Warren is a writer, photographer, bass player, jewelry designer, licensed massage therapist, and proud mother. Her writing stems from emotions, and situations she has personally experienced, or what she would like to experience. Love, loss, tragedy, loneliness, triumph, and undefinable happiness are all her inspirations.

Anayla Warren-Premsingh – Anayla Warren-Premsingh is 18 years old and just graduated from Jefferson high school. She will be attending the University of Oregon in the fall. Her major is undeclared, but she’s looking into getting into international studies and minoring business, or possibly, majoring in human physiology. She started writing “creatively” when she could string words together in a sentence on a piece of paper. She writes poetry and short (and maybe one day) long, stories.





We All Have a Story to Tell

Photo courtesy of Tony Funchess

On Sunday, April 10th, a group of men of color attended the matinee of Blue Door and then had a private discussion, led by community activist Tony Funchess, in the rehearsal hall following the play. Below are Mr. Funchess’ thoughts on that discussion and Blue Door.

We all have a story to tell! The story that men tell in public, a story of confidence, strength, assuredness is not always the story they keep locked within. Lewis, the reflection of so many men of color allows us the ability to cross the chasm that exist between the full “dimensionality” of being a man, and a man of color. As we sit in the theater we are transformed into the role of primary in our own narrative as we each assume a role and identity of Lewis’ as he is visited by his ancestors on his reflective journey into his past; the road map to defining and finding himself.

This journey of introspection and liberation is not one easily taken. As the men who showed up for this experience of watching Blue Door and the post post-show discussion that took place for men of color, expressed behind closed doors. This experience of having an affinity space; a space solely for men of color, became a transformative space. Guards down, titles set aside, and brotherhood established we discussed our experiences with American theater, predominantly white spaces, and our commonalty in struggle as men of color, as well as our shared desire for liberation.

As we reflected on Lewis’ journey we discussed the recent scientific discovery of genetic memory of experiencing encoded into our DNA, the impacts of Mass Incarceration, the historical fairy tale of the black man as rapist, and our own journey’s that brought us into this circle. These men who had traveled from as far as Texas, and southern Oregon to be in this room expressed their deep need for spaces like these were the truth of our strength, and frailty can be discussed without damage to our external images.

The insomnia of Tanya Barfield’s Blue Door is the waking nightmare that many men of color experience in silence. Conditioned by society to “man up” we are often denied the opportunity to “let our hair down” and just be. As men of color there is this ever present awareness of our own presence in a room and the recognition of the multiplicity of thoughts and judgements about our presence in that room. Well thanks to Profile Theater this time the room was just ours. It was a room of breathing; exhaling the frustration of societal pressures to live up to ideologies often foreign to our internal design and historical make-up, and inhaling; the friendship, brotherhood, and healing of transparency in expression without pretense.

This room was our Blue Door the symbol of locking the evil of this world out and keeping the harmony of self and family in throughout eternity. This process of shared existence and experience is one that we must all approach in our own time and in our own way. Thanks to the intentional directorial approach to this piece, Bobby Bermea focuses with laser precision, a moon beam for us to follow out of the dark night of hidden history and identity and into the liberated space of fullness as men of color. Undeniably a need story to be told and experience to be had.

-Tony Funchess

Profile Theatre