Acorn Productions to Present Maine Playwrights Festival in April

Acorn-Productions-to-Present-Maine-Playwrights-Festival-in-April-20010101

Acorn Productions has announced the performance schedule for the 11th annual Maine Playwrights Festival. This year's festival takes place during the month of April, beginning with a special fundraising event titled "Write Right Wright" on April 3rd, continuing with 2 staged readings on April 7th and 14th, and culminating with 2 weekends of fully staged performances at the St. Lawrence Arts Center from April 19th to 29th. Additionally, the festival includes an evening of 2-minute plays entitled "Take Two", which offers audiences two different intrerpretations of the same plays, and the 24-hour Portland Theater Project, an action-packed day of theater featuring several prominent directors from various professional theater companies in Portland. Ticket prices for the Maine Playwrights Festival vary in cost from $10 to $18 depending on the performance, and the staged readings and "Write Right Wright" events are free with a suggested donation. Various passes for the festival are also available; call Acorn Productions at 854-0065 or visit www.acorn-productions.org for more info or to purchase tickets.

The Maine Playwrights Festival is entering its eleventh year of presenting world premiere scripts by some of the area's most talented playwrights. Over the course of the festival's first eleven years, the festival has presented hundreds of scripts and dozens of staged reading at a number of venues in the Greater Portland area. The plays are selected each season by an open call that is issued in the fall, and any Maine-based playwright may submit their work. This year's festival features 10 short plays and 2 full-length plays that were selected from over 90 submissions. This year's full-length plays are by Lynne Cullen and Charlie Marenghi. The short plays were written by Laurie Brassard, Delvyn Case, Maureen Ann Connolly, Chelsea Cook, Larry Crane, Sarah Halford, Patricia Mew, Jefferson Navicky, David Vardeman, and David Vazdauskas. The plays are directed by Acorn's Producing Director Michael Levine, company members Harlan Baker, Laura Graham, and Stephanie Ross, along with guest artist Shawna Houston. The actors are a mixture of well-known professional actors and students from the Acorn Acting Academy. All told, over 50 creative artists are taking part in this celebration of the talented theater artists in the state of Maine.

Acorn kicks off the month of celebrating of the work of Maine playwrights with an evening of spoken word entitled "Write Right Write,"which takes place at Mayo Street Arts in Portland on Tuesday, April 3rd at 7:30pm. This event features several playwrights whose plays will be performed at the Maine Playwrights Festival reading their original works in other media, including poetry, essays and short stories. Complimentary refreshments will be available, and many of the actors, directors and of course playwrights involved in the festival will be in attendance for an informal meet and greet session both before and after the readings. As of press time, confirmed readers included Laurie Brassard, HAl Cohen, Sarah Halford, Rebecca Iren, Cullen McGough, Jefferson Navicky and MK Spain. The evening will also include performances by Naked Shakespeare, and readings by "Lowry's Lodge" curators Anne Wrobel and Jim Donnelly.

One of the new components to this year's Maine Playwrights Festival is an evening of 2-minute plays entitled "Take Two." In this unique evening, ten 2-minute plays will be presented twice, often with the same cast, but always with wildly varying interpretations of the characters' actions and feelings for one another. This performance offers audiences a chance to see the creative process at work, and appreciate how much a director's and the actors' points of view can change a work of theater in its presentation. "Take Two" features scripts by Brent Askari, HAl Cohen, Elizabeth Guffey, Sarah Halford, Rebecca Iren, Jesse Leighton, Cullen McGough, Pat Mew, MK Spain, and Michael Tooher. The line-up will be performed only once, on Saturday, April 21st at 7:30pm, and the plays are all directed by Michael Levine. Admission is $14 for adults and $12 for students and seniors.

The final day of the Maine Playwrights Festival features the 3rd annual 24-Hour Portland Theater Project, an exhilarating event in which five plays are written, rehearsed and performed in one day. All five plays must share the same line of dialogue, location and prop, and these three items are revealed only during the intermission of the Saturday, April 28th performance of the short plays. At that time, the actors and directors are also randomly assigned to the playwrights, who then go off to burn the midnight oil and produce scripts that are ready to go into rehearsal the next morning. This year's directors include Tony Reilly, of AIRE Theater, Keith Powell Beyland, from Dramatic Repertory Company, Christine Marshall, from Mad Horse Theater, and Acorn's Stephanie Ross. There will be two performances of the plays on Sunday, April 29th at 5pm and 8pm at the St. Lawrence Arts Center. Admission is $10 for all ages.

The complete schedule of plays appears below. The descriptions, as well as the production history for the Maine Playwrights Festival, can also be accessed on Acorn's website at the following URL: http://www.acorn-productions.org/pages/Playwrights.html.

Acorn Productions' mission is to invigorate the community of performing artists in Southern Maine. Acorn seeks to nurture new performance pieces, develop artist collaborations, train new talent, and make the arts accessible to a wide spectrum of the general public. Acorn accomplishes these goals by mounting annual festivals that are open to a variety of artists as well as professional performances by local actors in both traditional and non-traditional venues. Ticket prices for these performances are maintained at an affordable level in order to lower economic barriers for potential audience members. Acorn also offers educational programs, including acting classes and workshops, and acts as an umbrella 501(c)3 organization for grassroots organizations or individual artists seeking to become more active members of the performing arts community.

CALENDAR OF PERFORMANCES

Who: Acorn Productions
What: Write Right Wright
Where: Mayo Street Arts, Portland
When: April 3 at 7:30pm
How Much: Free (suggested donation $10)
FMI: 854-0065 or www.acorn-productions.org

Who: Acorn Productions
What: Staged reading of "Memorial Day," by Lynne Cullen
Where: Acorn Studio Theater, Westbrook
When: April 7 at 7:30pm
How Much: Free (suggested donation $5)
FMI: 854-0065 or www.acorn-productions.org

Who: Acorn Productions
What: Staged reading of "We Drew the Sky," by Charlie Marenghi
Where: Acorn Studio Theater, Westbrook
When: April 14 at 7:30pm
How Much: Free (suggested donation $5)
FMI: 854-0065 or www.acorn-productions.org

Who: Acorn Productions
What: Evenings of short plays
Where: St. Lawrence Arts Center, Portland
When: 
Thursday, April 19: Schedule A at 7:30pm (followed by talkback with authors)
Friday, April 20: Schedule B at 7:30pm (followed by talkback with authors)
Saturday, April 21: Schedule B at 4pm
Sunday, April 22: Schedule A at 5pm
Thursday, April 26: Schedule B at 7:30pm
Friday, April 27: Schedule A at 7:30pm
Saturday, April 28: Schedule A at 4pm
Saturday, April 28: Schedule B at 8pm
How Much: $18 adults; $16 students and seniors
FMI: 854-0065 or www.acorn-productions.org

Who: Acorn Productions
What: "Take Two," an evening of multiple interpretations of 2-minute plays
Where: St. Lawrence Arts Center, Portland
When: April 21 at 8pm
How Much: $14 adults; $12 students and seniors
FMI: 854-0065 or www.acorn-productions.org

Who: Acorn Productions
What: 24-Hour Portland Theater Project
Where: Acorn Studio Theater, Westbrook
When: April 29 at 5pm and 8pm
How Much: $10 all ages
FMI: 854-0065 or www.acorn-productions.org

DESCRIPTION OF PLAYS INCLUDED IN THE MAINE PLAYWRIGHTS FESTIVAL

SCHEDULE A

A DEPRESSED CHILDHOOD, by David Vardeman
A psychiatrist of dubious merit treats two patients whose cases overlap

HE TOUCHED ME, by Patricia Mew
A woman struggles with her inner demons

IT'S JUST NOT POLITE, by Laurie Brassard
An unexpected guest causes a cook to examine her beliefs on class and identity

THE NECROLOGY REPORT, by Maureen Ann Connolly
An aging mother and her visiting daughter realize how differently each sees a small town

A ROAD THAT HAPPENED TO BE BROKEN, by Jefferson Navicky
A wife goes to strange alarming degrees to procure a special birthday gift for her husband

SCHEDULE B

CHICKEN TONIGHT, by Larry Crane
Two middle-aged divorced men have an unusual encounter in the supermarket

MEMORIES OF RAIN, by Sarah Halford
Dolores and her daughter Alice stumble towards forgiveness during a family confontations

ON, by David Vazdauskas
The wife of a philandering photographer embarks on a brilliant scheme to turn the tables on both her husband and the other woman in his life

POTATOES AREN'T ENOUGH, by Delvyn Case
A single mother in Kenya must decide whether to return to the AIDS clinic for treatment

SNOWBALL'S CHANCE IN HELL, by Chelsea Cook
An out-of-work angel goes to Hell for a job interview

"TAKE TWO" PLAYS

A CUP OF TEA, by Patricia Mew
DEAD BIRD, by Brent Askari 
EXPERTY, by Michael Tooher
FIBONACCI AIRPLANES, by Jesse Leighton 
HOW LONG, by HAl Cohen
I LOVE YOU, by Elizabeth Guffey
INDRA'S NET, by Sarah Halford
NYAFAT, by Cullen McGough
PORCH, by MK Spain
PRESENTS, by Rebecca Iren

STAGED READINGS

MEMORIAL DAY, by Lynne Cullen
Memorial Day, 1960. It's the first Sullivan family barbecue since the death of their father, and Hank – the new King of the Grill - is trying to maintain order, but when he invites a stranger to the party, all bets are off.

WE DREW THE SKY, by Charlie Marenghi
Based on the real life story of Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, an artist who secretly taught children in the Terezin concentration camp.

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