Theater (161)

Rhyme and reason: Hoagland on exerting ‘the focusing power of poetry’

Tony Hoagland is not a poet of formal meter and highfalutin language. Plainspoken, by turns poignant and irreverent, he’s written about sex, bathing his dying mother, drinking beer with men who “celebrate their hairiness,” and finding salvation in the word dickhead. He reads in Portland on April 16, at USM’s Hannaford Hall Auditorium, as the inaugural speaker of the new Words Matter Visiting Poets Series, sponsored by HM Payson, Honeck O'Toole CPA's, the Maine Writers…

Looking beyond disabilities: The Boys Next Door delves into character traits and quirks

One of the most refreshing stops on a First Friday in Portland is often The Art Department, the gallery for work by developmentally disabled artists, whose art is surprising, unpretentious and brimming with giddiness. And there are many similarly surprising and giddy moments in The Boys Next Door, a play about four developmentally disabled men who share a group home, narrated by their decent, weary social worker. Charlie Marenghi directs a funny, poignant and sensitively…

Garden in the air: Taking the ball and running with it, Circus Conservatory interprets ‘Earthly Delights’ artwork

The mind-blowing painting “In the Garden of Earthly Delights,” a triptych by 15th century Dutch artist Hieronymous Bosch, is a phantasmagorical vision of life on Earth. In the left panel is an Edenic landscape; in the right panel is a dark place of lust and torment; and in the middle panel, sensual naked figures cavort — including an angel carrying a red ball. That red ball became such a talisman to Peter Nielsen and Hilary…

Horrors of now: Challenging Marat/Sade imposes big ideas on the audience

Before the show starts, the inmates are being subdued with iPads. Chained to the wall, moaning, they press the flickering screens against their faces. Other inmates trickle in until the house is loud with a toy piano, unsteady laughter, a pill bottle shaken, a hand slapping its own head.It’s a big night at the Charenton Asylum, because the Marquis de Sade (Gary Locke) is directing his fellow inmates in a play, The Persecution and Assassination…

True colors: Portland Stage production tackles primal artistic debates

In 1958, Abstract Expressionist painter Mark Rothko was awarded a luxury commission to paint a series of panels for the dining room of the Four Seasons Hotel, in New York’s much-anticipated new Seagram Building. By this time, at age 55, his style had evolved into his signature emotionally charged rectangles, and he’d gained commercial success, but he felt

Laws and myths: Brunswick production tackles banality of bureaucracies

“The spring is wound up tight,” says the Chorus of Jean Anouilh’s Antigone, on the very convenient nature of tragedy. “The least little turn of the wrist will do the job.” There is no hope, only insoluble systems and destiny, in Jean Anouilh’s 1944 adaptation of the classical myth and the Sophocles play, which Anouilh wrote and first staged in Nazi-occupied France. Al Miller directs a creditable community theater production, with some experienced and some…

A yarn about racial politics: Alligator Road tackles big themes with light touch

What can any one of us do to serve freedom, to make up for its absence, or to feel free ourselves? Sometimes we just have to work with what we have. What Kathy (Christine Louise Marshall) has is a hardware store in Florida, which belonged to her late husband, and her plan is to give it away – much to the incredulous fury of their college-age daughter Candace (Marie Stewart Harmon). The terms of and…

Battle wounds: Women at War in Iraq explores abuse, hostility in the ranks

In Helen Benedict’s play The Lonely Soldier: Women at War in Iraq, the women of the play are engaged in more than one war: They must contend not only with a hostile enemy, but with the disrespect, hostility and even aggression of their own fellow troops. The Lonely Soldier tells the true stories of seven real women whose experiences in the military left them disillusioned, hurt or damaged. This superb and important production -- a…

8 DAYS A WEEK: SO MUCH BLUEGRASS, AND CONCUPISCENCE FOR THE REST OF US

THURSDAY 3/19THE GLITTER DIVINE | Need an excuse to get glittery for a cause? On Thursday, Portland's venerable high-end eatery GRACE hosts THE TELLING ROOM'S annual SPARKLING LITERARY BALL to honor donors. It's called GLITTERATI. It's fancy, it's fun and it puts you in the same room as five featured, nationally-known authors, and free donuts (cost included in your ticket, that is). It'll cost you $50, at the base level — unless you and seven…
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