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A surreal comedy from Dramatic Rep

Fins to the left, fins to the right
Life is in upheaval for these four friends, and all of them will need to go deep to make sense of things in Swimming in the Shallows , a comedy with a touch of the surreal, by Adam Bock.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  April 24, 2013


Woolf’s Orlando on stage at USM

Shifting time and gender
Insights into both the masculine and the feminine are at the center of Virginia Woolf's Orlando , a fabulist commentary on the fluidity of gender and sexual identity.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  April 25, 2013


Carolyn Gage’s new short plays give women voice

Speaking out of silence
Women's experience of slavery, genocide, and cultural oppression, says playwright Carolyn Gage, is very different than men's: Sexual violence and women's ability to give birth makes them subject to a particularly penetrating form of colonization. And even the best-intentioned histories, she adds, often try to "disappear" that difference.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  April 10, 2013


Looking for Love(1)

In all the right vignettes of Cariani’s new play
A man and a woman in a Walmart-type store are driven into each other's arms by their Obsessive Impulsive disorder. A man has a condition that keeps him from hearing the words "I love you" from his new lover. A woman with a wife and young child searches desperately through the garage for something she's lost — herself.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  April 04, 2013


AIRE, starring the McCourt brothers

Quite a pair
The autobiographical two-man show they co-wrote and performed, A Couple of Blaguards, is onstage now starring the marvelous Paul Haley and Tony Reilly
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  March 27, 2013


Gathering together

Finding happiness amid violence
Snowlion exclusively produces works with "cultural, ethical, and spiritual value," and found both complexity and life-affirmation in Vincent Sessa's A Child's Guide to Innocence .
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  March 20, 2013


Good Theater’s odd-couple age drama

Distance in time
It's been a rough journey that brought 21-year-old Leo (Erik Moody), on a bicycle, all the way from Washington state to the Manhattan apartment of his grandma Vera (Alma Cuervo).
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  March 13, 2013


Coward’s quiet play at Portland Stage

Just-so stories
The name of Noël Coward is fairly synonymous with the biting, devastating verbal wit of his farces like Blithe Spirit , in which well-off Brits behave badly, having at each other with verbal razors.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  March 07, 2013


Mattress revival

Lyric doesn’t take these tales lying down
Fairy tales seem to have an enduring appeal — especially when they're tweaked to look just a little bit less rarified.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  February 27, 2013


Black-box results show success

Test flights
It's an on-stage-off-stage winter in Portland Stage Company's Studio Theater.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  February 20, 2013


A pair of Albee shorts on show at USM

Make my satire a double
Theatergoers who have been hankering for a shot of satire are in luck this week: The University of Southern Maine is serving up the biting spirits of playwright Edward Albee, and they're making it a double, with his one-act plays The Zoo Story and The American Dream.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  February 06, 2013


Good Theater premieres Death by Design

A theatrical mash-up
Someone doctors the Scotch early on, but it's brandy that playwright Edward Bennett (Rob Cameron) and his actress wife Sorel (Abigail Killeen) start in on first in Death by Design, by Rob Urbinati.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  February 06, 2013


Relish in the romp of Conan Doyle’s Hound

Great fare for groundlings
A certain kind of farce distinguishes itself among theatrical forms much as pigs distinguish themselves among the farm animals: by its fondness for playing in the mud, by its grinning, no-nonsense intelligence, and by the tasty saltiness with which it is often served.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  January 30, 2013


Mad Horse puts on a searing Pulitzer-nominated Iraq war play

Caging the tiger
Not too long into Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, most of the characters pacing the stage are either dead, near death, or intimate enough with it to see ghosts.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  January 23, 2013


Coward brings the upper class down a notch

Finding the medium
The most sympathetic character in Noel Coward's snarky little farce, Blithe Spirit, is neither the "astral bigamist" Charles Condomine nor the petulant ghost of his first wife Elvira, nor even his beleaguered current wife Ruth.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  January 16, 2013


Moving performances at SPACE

Warming up winter
Quite a few evolutions have taken shape over the last year at SPACE Gallery, including the opening of the Annex and the redesign of the main gallery, which just turned ten years old.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  December 31, 2012


Your cues for great shows in 2013

Places, everyone!
Both big performance festivals of 2012 promise to be even bigger in 2013: PORTFRINGE runs June 24-30 at four performing spaces, with another open call and even more performance slots available.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  December 26, 2012


2012’s many theatrical joys

A year in footlights
The past year in Portland theater saw a gain, a loss, and a move: First, summer brought us the first annual PortFringe festival and the inaugural Portland Performing Arts Festival.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  December 19, 2012


Acorn’s Jewish holiday tradition continues

A new Legend
While at this point in the season we are regularly deluged with plays set on or around Christmas, there's not usually a whole lot of holiday fare out there for Jews.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  December 12, 2012


No humbug here

But a good harrumph will do!
The singer Phoebe Snow has a great wry line about our next major secular holiday.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  November 28, 2012


NHTP’s wistful Godot

Stop making sense
Their tree is a coil of mottled cables tapering into two spindly branches, their mound for sitting on is a dull gray stone, and this terrain is simply lit by two blue and two bare lights.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  November 20, 2012

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