The fall season lights up Maine theaters

Epic irreverence
By MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  September 14, 2011

RETURNING The cast of Good Theater’s fantastic 2010 production of August: Osage County reprise their roles.

First on my fall list, in both chronology and anticipation, is irreverent LOREM IPSUM's arts-warehouse production of the show I've been hankering after for years: Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's Threepenny Opera, whose careening ironies will surely sell out the Apohadion's 40-seat house (September 16-24).

Another must-see fall production has been in the works for over a year: OPEN WATERS THEATRE ARTS' collaborative civic theater venture, Of Farms and Fables, began with theater artists spending last summer in residency on three local family farms, working and hearing the stories of farm workers, which led to a script deal with both personal and larger farming issues (October 27-30, at Camp Ketcha).

Speaking of issues, the folks of the island of Inishmore, Ireland, have got some treacherous ones: Somebody's mangled the cat and only friend of Padraic, a mad Irish National Liberation lieutenant with a searing temper. See what goes down when MAD HORSE THEATRE COMPANY stages black-comic master Martin McDonough's The Lieutenant of Inishmore, at Lucid Stage, October 6-23.

The cat is bigger and has more agency in Tigers Be Still, another dark comedy about a young art therapist struggling against the economy, familial dysfunction, and an escaped tiger. DRAMATIC REPERTORY COMPANY mounts Sherry Wickman's script October 27-November 6. (Also watch for their new Patron's Club Reading Series, an informal staging of scripts, with the first slated to be Woyzeck, by Georg Büchner, on November 1.)

Art may or may not be considered therapeutic when one white canvas proves provocative in Yasmina Reza's ART. FREEPORT FACTORY STAGE extends the season with this pointed comedy (September 15-October 2). Fans of Reza can have another dose at PORTLAND STAGE COMPANY, with God of Carnage (November 1-20), in which two liberal couples brought together by their brawling kids become unsettlingly uncivilized. (PSC opens its season with The Morini Strad, September 27-October 23).

Couples are never more at a more vicious nadir than in Edward Albee's classic Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, with which ACORN PRODUCTIONS launches its Studio Series in Westbrook (November 11-27). Other hefty classics: Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge, at USM (October 7-16); and Ibsen's proto-feminist A Doll's House at BOWDOIN (October 27-29). Finally, Tracy Letts's devastating modern family epic August: Osage County, produced so magnificently last year at GOOD THEATER, is being revived with nearly exactly the same cast (November 2-20).

For the lighter side of love, how about a French farce full of mistresses and caterers? That would be Don't Dress for Dinner, which runs at Biddeford's CITY THEATER, November 11-22. Or how about the boss-marrying designs of Thoroughly Modern Millie, at LYRIC MUSIC THEATRE (September 23-October 8)? There's also Funny Girl, the musical bio of star Fanny Brice, at PORTLAND PLAYERS (September 16-October 2), or if her theatrical ego isn't enough for you, try the principals (and the nude frontals!) of Little Dog Laughed, at AQUA CITY ACTORS THEATER (September 16-24).

And here's the quintessence of "theatrical egos": Orson Welles attempting to direct Laurence Olivier in Ionesco's Rhinoceros. It's not pretty in Orson's Shadow, at the PLAYERS RING (September 23-October 9).

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