Theater (178)

Skeletons In The Desert: Mad Horse Production probes a family secret, for greater effect

It’s Christmas in Palm Springs, complete with a buffet and a marimba band at the club, but there’s a conspicuous dearth of holiday cheer in the tony home of the Wyeths. East Coast-transplant novelist Brooke Wyeth (Janice Gardner) has returned from New York to announce to her parents, younger brother, and aunt that her new book is not a novel, but a memoir — one that resurrects a long-cached family secret — in Jon Robin…

Mill ends: Papermaker captures emotion, conflict of economic hardship

The future of Maine’s paper mills is tenuous in the age of globalization, and things have only reached new realms of corporate-loophole incomprehensibility with revelations about the one-day investment loan fake-out at Great Northern. But Maine’s mills are not just a commodity or an “issue”: they represent an industry peopled by actual men and women. Several people have very different kinds of investments in paper during a 1989 union strike in the fictional town of…

Shadow play: As You Like It enhanced with shadow-signed tale of Arden

Shakespeare’s verbal feats are famously intricate. How might the deaf see them performed, and what might it be like for the hearing to understand Shakespeare in a non-verbal language? Actors enact the Bard’s love-sick, cross-dressing foibles in both English and American Sign Language in the University of Southern Maine’s production of As You Like It, to uncommonly rich result. Under the direction of Assunta Kent, each of the comedy’s characters is played by two different…

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…
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