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The world of Aquitania is a pleasure

The play within the play
The stirrling billing for the original play Aquitania is "Alice in Wonderland meets Magritte."
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  July 11, 2012


Notes from the Fringe

Three shows not to miss
As you read these very words, the great Portland Fringe 2012 is already up and running. Herein we highlight three of the Fringe's more beguilingly strange offerings.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  June 27, 2012


Portland’s Fringes are full of energy

Living on the edge
Starting Tuesday, Portland will be briefly and absolutely awash in new, experimental, and edgy works of theater — more than 60(!) shows to be staged in a little under a week.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  June 20, 2012


Monologue peels the screen back for a look at the core of Apple

Under the smooth exterior
The narrator of Mike Daisey's one-man show has long had a worshipful relationship with Apple electronics.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  June 20, 2012


A Chorus Line explores the many, and the one

E pluribus, unum
The ensemble dancers in a big Broadway musical are meant to function like one seamless, glittering organism, with no one dancer drawing attention from the others or from (perish the thought) the stars.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  June 13, 2012


Alternatives, and standbys, for summer

Life on the Fringe
The big theater buzz this summer is of course is the Fringe, which actually comprises two overlapping programs from June 26 to July 1.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  June 06, 2012


A friendly take on fear

Stage Presence
The theologian John Calvin (Peter Brown) trudges about the set of Keith Reddin's Life During Wartime , spreading his cheery take on the human condition: "All human works are nothing but filth and defilement."
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  June 06, 2012


Wit at the Players’ Ring honors life and death

For whom the bell tolls
An array of disciplines have taken on the puzzle of life and death.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  May 23, 2012


A cautionary tale from 18th-century France

Honoring the masses
Though there's no hard evidence that Marie Antoinette actually uttered "Let them eat cake," she remains a larger-than-life symbol of ruling-class decadence and a culture of gaping wealth disparity.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  May 16, 2012


Play: Beware what lies beneath

Disaster Preparation
The US Bureau of Land Management estimates that 90 percent of existing natural-gas wells in this country use hydraulic fracturing techniques — commonly known as "fracking" — that inject pressurized water and toxic chemicals into the ground.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  May 09, 2012


Circle Mirror transcends theater

Beyond the wall
"Are we going to do any real acting?" complains the one teenager enrolled in a small Vermont community center's drama class.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  May 09, 2012


The Originals explore the soul of America

Go West, young woman
"I savor the boundlessness of it all," exalts life-loving Macon (Sally Wood) to timid Bess (Jennifer Porter), under the vertiginously open sky of 1860s Wyoming Territory.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  May 02, 2012


Acorn performs ten plays by Maine writers

Ups and downs in new works
This year, the ten short plays of Acorn Productions' 11th Annual Maine Playwrights Festival, chosen from more than 50 submitted to this year's open call, tends toward the dark: it includes specters of AIDS, the economic downturn, child abuse, and death by wild animals.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  April 27, 2012


Freeport Factory gives Holiday her due

Meeting Billie
With its low lighting, cocktail tables, scarlet-draped piano, and old-timey microphone, the scene at Freeport Factory Stage is set as a small club readied for an intimate night of jazz.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  April 11, 2012


Portland Stage’s comedy about hope and age

Taking their time
In one sense, time is the most plentiful possession of World War I veterans Gustave (Edmond Genest), Henri (Munson Hicks), and Philippe (Philip Goodwin), who live together in a military retirement home in the French countryside.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  April 04, 2012


Gibson Fay-LeBlanc plays the Ventriloquist

Speaking openly
"The center of everything," writes Gibson Fay-LeBlanc in Death of a Ventriloquist , "is the mouth."
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  March 29, 2012


Ibsen's Ghosts haunt all of SPACE

Seething spirits
Myriad Portland spirits have conspired in raising the much-anticipated new production of Lorem Ipsum, an elegant, bewitchingly multi-medial staging of and around Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts .
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  March 28, 2012


Good Theater goes big

With Neil Simon's Little Me
Of all the tenets in the American mythology, upward mobility is one of the biggies, both the most exalted and the most critiqued: We have both our Pretty Women and our Sisters Carrie.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  March 14, 2012


Dramatic Rep gets Nervous, dark

Cracking a Smile
The parents of children with severe disabilities have an almost incalculably different experience than other parents.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  March 15, 2012


Portland Stage resurrects four of Tennessee’s other works

Williams at 100
A young boy walks the railroad tracks with a delusional girl who lives alone in an old house.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  March 07, 2012


Homer’s epic, in puppets

Stringed instruments
Our story thus far: The war is over! No, not the Iraq War, but one of even more mythological origins: After ten years of battle against Troy, the victorious war hero Odysseus, whose distinctively phallic sword arm has a life of its own, is poised to finally lead his troops back home to Ithaca.
By: MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  March 07, 2012

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