YOUNG PERFORMERS make their presence felt elsewhere in the Fringe, as well. A Company of Girls presents a staged reading of Lord of the Flies (at Mayo Street Arts), and the comprehensive Kids Fringe, at the Children's Museum and Theatre, includes work by a slew of groups: From CMTM itself come scenes from The Boxcar Children, This is about a Sing-Slash-Dance-Off (by CMTM actress Emma Dwelley), Custard the Dragon,Clowning with Dyer and Michela, and local writer Bess Weldon's Magic in the Attic. In addition, the Kennebunk River Arts Theatre Program dishes out a hiphop Peter Pan, The Theater Project's teen actors present Voices in the Mirror, and Kennebunk's the Angry Birds Band perform.
Finally, the several and varied ONE-OFFS: Acorn Productions will stage a site-specific adaptation of Shakespeare's All's Well that Ends Well, set in Victorian Portland and staged on the actual waterfront, in the Portland Company Complex Building 11 — I consider this innovation on Shakespeare's dark comedy a must-see. Dark Follies will also appear off stage, performing their vaudevillian delights right out in the open in Monument Square. Back in traditional theaters, Portland Stage Company revives 2 Pianos, 4 Hands, a comedic look at the lives of aspiring concert pianists; and Lyric Music Theatre puts on the bracingly titled Choose Your Own Adventure Karaoke.
IMAGES AND FILM MEET At the edge of the water and the beach, in Sandwiches.
It's under this umbrella that a majority of theatrical events are happening over the course of the Festival week, at Geno's, the St. Lawrence Arts Center, and Lucid Stage (for a full schedule, go to portfringe.com/shows). A healthy share of PF-12 shows feature MULTI-MEDIAL ELEMENTS. The makers of AudioBody: Physical Comedy and Music Technology profess to be planning hacking, full-body contortion, LED light shows, and the Star Wars "Imperial March." Allison Strausberg's Give Voice will use locally found soundscapes to foster compassion. In The New Man, Tasty Dude Films Theater will incorporate music, video, and sketch comedy to portray Adam Newman's rise from the primordial ooze. Film also plays a role in Astrea Campbell-Cobb's Sandwiches, which features Jamie Miller's short film Small Spaces in a "saltwater collage" collaboration about the "nooks and crannies of a sea-side mind;" and in Allen Baldwin's Brother of the Bear, which will mingle live performance with Japanese Benshi narrators of silent film and a re-interpretation of a film made in 1920s Maine. Finally, Laura Powers's video and Toby Elliot's sound design act as secondary characters to Emily Dickinson in Emily and Sue, a new play by Carolyn Gage starring Karen Ball Cabot that speculates on the anguish and skewed perception brought on by the poet's quietly endured epileptic seizures and an unconsummated lesbian love.
Recycling with Circus Ole
VAUDEVILLE has been becoming new again for years now, and PF-12 offers three distinct iterations of it, each with some modern-flavored commentary: In Circus Ole and Feast of Fools, Trash Into Art and the Gypsy Relics uses giant puppets to present an animal-free circus, aiming to raise awareness about animal mistreatment in traditional circuses. The cause is a human one in Bess Welden's Big Mouth Thunder Thighs: A Solo Vaudeville, directed by Jennie Hahn, in which Welden roller skates, does stand-up, and performs death-defying acts with chocolate cake in a one-woman show about body image and weight obsession. Finally, get your all-American fetish on with Pussyfoot Burlesque's American Booty, which entreats: "Give me your kinky, your sexy, your freaks."