Theater (150)

Parallel lives: Arcadia brings cerebral passions to the stage

Heat is at the heart of us, whether it be that of life, lust, love, or the fervor of creation and discovery, and the hard truth is that we are constantly, irreversibly leaching it. Tom Stoppard’s erudite and luminous "Arcadia," a modern classic, is at once elegy and celebration of the fate of human bodies in the universe. This comedic drama of poetry, lust, love, and the second law of thermodynamics receives a discerning, ardent…

Stepping into history: The Irish … and How They Got That Way basks in the feeling of a family reunion

The story of the Irish is a storied and revered one in American history, and beloved Irish-American novelist Frank McCourt pays homage to it in a wry musical revue of a tribute: The Irish … and How They Got That Way is a potpourri of history, popular music and comedy. It runs now at Portland Stage Company, in its inaugural collaboration with Brunswick’s Maine State Music Theatre, with an ensemble cast featuring some of MSMT’s…

Ancestral hijinks: Terminal Bar pairs husband and wife for story of rediscovered lineage

The dark comedic play Terminal Bar is, in a couple senses, a family affair: written by revered local playwright and actor David Butler, this story of an Irish con-man is inspired by family history, and it mounts in a production that Butler co-directs with his wife, venerable Portland actress Maureen Butler. This exploration of identity closes the 80th anniversary theater season of the beautiful Deertrees Theatre, in Harrison. Terminal Bar began with a game-changer in…

Outdoor musings about love: Antics abound in All's Well by MaineStage Shakespeare

Shakespeare’s comedy All’s Well That Ends Well is the one with the “bed trick”: resolute Helena (Charlotte Foster) so desires the love of her ward’s son Bertram (Josh Goulding), despite his aggressive lack of reciprocation, that she resorts to Bard-style switcheroo shenanigans, in bed. MaineStage Shakespeare presents a nuanced and energetic outdoor production, acted by fine actors from beyond the state, in Kennebunk’s Lafayette Park.   On a simple two-story set with a balcony, marble-esque…

Midsummer guide: Cultural highlights abound in August theater

Summer’s not over yet, and a lot remains on the theater horizon. Here are some upcoming and continuing shows to help us soak up August.   An original show with deep native cultural importance, the Penobscot Theatre Company’s Transformer Tales: Stories of the Dawnland, goes up Aug. 12-14 at the Indian Island School, the Bangor Opera House, and Acadia National Park. This new work was created over a yearlong collaboration between the theater company, Penobscot…

Midsummer of the 1980s: Bare Portland slips over the top with crazy Dream

Puck’s famous observation about the human species – namely, what fools we be – applies especially well to the 1980s. And so Bare Portland’s ‘80s-infused Midsummer Night’s Dream – riddled with punk rock, pink tutus, and a throwback soundtrack – is an easy sell and a balm of glittering, occasionally over-the-top silliness. Under the direction of Carmen-maria Mandley, Midsummer’s energetic cast of over twenty actors, many of them young or emerging actors, careens gamely through…

A restrained Henry V: Theater at Monmouth delivers nuanced production

Shakespeare’s Henry V is a coming-of-age story – Henry, once known as Hal, the young regular of taverns and Falstaff, finally comes into manhood and kingship. But Henry V is also an overtly theatrical story about war, about both a battle (the Battle of Agincourt, near the end of England’s Hundred Years War with France) and battle itself. Mark Mineart directs a clarion, beautifully restrained, affecting production, at the Theater at Monmouth.   Henry V…

The Bard in the park: Ample laughs from Much Ado About Nothing

Al fresco Shakespeare season is upon us, and ah, how well suited summer is for the silliest and most confectionary of the Bard’s romps. Such is Much Ado About Nothing, the plot of which – a villain bastard, a wronged maiden, a faked death, et cetera – is really secondary to the verbal explosions between two witty curmudgeons, Beatrice (Sally Wood) and Bendick (Rob Cameron) who first abuse and then fall adorably in love with…

An island amid chaos: Fort Gorges performance work emerges from a dream

As the violence of the last week has us reeling anew, a new dance work, Spectacular Black Death, will bring participants out to an island for a lyrical meditation on race and a ritual for healing. Spectacular Black Death, a performance work of movement, music and verse by knightworks dance theater, will be staged this Saturday at Fort Gorges, as part of the arts events series A Long Wait. Spectaular Black Death seeks to pose…

A nose for nostalgia: Theater at Monmouth excels with Cyrano

Beauty and eloquence seem an unmeetable twain in Edmond Rostand’s 1897 play Cyrano de Bergerac, in which the title poet thinks so little of his own over-proportioned nose that he woos his beloved only on behalf of a handsome other. Contemporary playwright Jo Roets has adapted Rostand’s classic, which called for dozens of players, into a pared-down show for just three actors. The Theater at Monmouth presents a tender, affectingly conceived production, in repertory, under…
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