Nobody expects the Festival

The Portland Stage Company’s 18th annual Little Festival of the Unexpected
By MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  May 9, 2007

It’s time, once again, for something theatrically different: Portland Stage Company’s 18th annual Little Festival of the Unexpected. Since its debut in1990, the Little Festival has been an opportunity for chosen playwrights, in residence throughout the production of their works, to further develop their scripts with the feedback of actors, directors, and audience members. The Little Festival will feature staged readings by PSC’s Affiliate Artists of winning scripts from 2006’s prestigious Clauder Competition, and for the first time will be joined by works from a new initiative, the Young Writers Project.

Tension and temptation run the Grand Prize-winning script, Magnetic North, by William Donnelly. In this play, which will receive its world premiere on the PSC Mainstage in April 2008, a young husband in crisis courts shadows when he meets a woman from his past. As the Gold Prize winner, Monica Raymond’s The Owl Girl concerns itself with two families living, playing, and vying in the same house, along with one girl’s stricken dreams of flying.

Also appearing at this year’s Little Festival is a work by accomplished thespian Daniel Noel, written for this summer’s bicentennial birthday celebration of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. In his original play, Longfellow: A Life in Words, he weaves phrasing from the poet’s memoirs, letters, poems, and plays, along with the words of his friends and family. Via a pastiche of scenes, Noel’s script will portray the man as warm and enduringly relevant to today’s culture.

For the inaugural Young Writers Project, PSC’s Affiliate Artists received 10-minute script submissions from schools across central and southern Maine, and chose three that they found particularly creative and theatrical: In The Cool Kids, by Hilary Hanson of Rockland; Appointments, by Gina Stevensen of Cape Elizabeth; and Dammit Janet, by Westbrook’s Sagan Clifford.

Performances run through May12, will be held in the Portland Performing Arts Center’s Studio Theater, and are pay-what-you-can. For a complete play schedule, go to or call 207.774.0465.

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