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Portland actress to play lead in Bountiful

Jane Fellows says playwright captured agings complexities


by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Jane Fellows plays Carrie Watts, a woman who wants to make one last journey to her childhood home, in The Trip to Bountiful, Feb. 18 in Gresham.As our hair turns gray, so does our understanding of what motivated us to do what we’ve done. Past decisions, once seen in black and white terms, are now understood as made with a sense of ambivalence rather than surety.

So says Jane Fellows, a noted Portland actress who will portray Carrie Watts, the lead character in Horton Foote’s “The Trip to Bountiful,” the latest undertaking of Readers Theatre of Sandy Actors Theatre. Foote also wrote screenplays for “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Tender Mercies,” and his “Bountiful” also was adapted for the silver screen in 1985.

Fellows, who has played Watts before in a fully staged production, says the late Foote was the kind of playwright who created real-life characters, not cardboard cutouts, particularly women with a sense of ambiguity about their lives.

“I think all of us feel trapped by something, and it’s the courage to take the steps to do what you need to do to maintain your courage and strength,” Fellows says of what she draws from “Bountiful.” “We all have baggage. It’s very interesting to think about a trip and baggage and what happens to everybody.”

Watts wants to see her childhood home in Bountiful, Texas, and the play revolves around her ongoing attempts to return there. Fellows says she thinks Gresham audiences will enjoy the sparse production, which consists of actors reading from scripts as opposed to being on a stage with props and sets.

“The beautiful thing about this play is it doesn’t seem like a lesson,” Fellows says.

Watts discovers, in the ruin and decay of time’s passage, a renewed connection to her past and the realization that your homeland is forever a part of you. Readers Theatre will present the play at 8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 18, in Gresham Chapel & Evening Event Center, 257 S.E. Roberts Ave. Tickets are $8 general admission (no reservations).

For information on “Bountiful,” call 503-869-6183, or visit sandyactorstheatre.org.