A Special Dark Week Project Announced at Portland Stage

A Special Dark Week Project Announced at Portland Stage

This winter, Portland Stage unveils the Dark Week Project, three staged readings of beloved playwright Sarah Ruhl's Dear Elizabeth while the Mainstage is 'dark', a technical term to signify that the theater is in a transition week between regularly scheduled productions. Dear Elizabeth will be performed by a rotating cast of Portland Stage Affiliate Artists and is directed by Todd Brian Backus.

Portland Stage announces three performances of a staged reading of Dear Elizabeth by Sarah Ruhl featuring a rotating cast of Portland Stage Affiliate Artists.

· Friday, January 12 Moira Driscoll* & Ron Botting*

· Saturday, January 13 Maureen Butler & Daniel Noel*

· Sunday, January 14 Callie Kimball & Dustin Tucker*

*Member of Actors Equity Association

Enjoy Sarah Ruhl's captivating play, Dear Elizabeth, with a rotating cast of Portland Stage Affiliate Artists. The Dark Week Project will present three staged readings of Ruhl's play on the Mainstage, while the theater is 'dark,' a technical term to signify that the theater is in a transition week between regularly scheduled Mainstage Productions.

Dear Elizabeth is a moving and innovative play based on one of the greatest correspondences in literary history. >From 1947 to 1977, Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell exchanged more than four hundred letters. Describing the writing of their poems, their travel and daily illnesses, the pyrotechnics of their romantic relationships, and the profound affection they had for each other. These missives are the most intimate record available of both poets and one of the greatest correspondences in American literature.

Playwright Sarah Ruhl fell in love with these letters and set herself an unusual challenge: to turn this thirty-year exchange into a stage play, and to bring to life the friendship of two writers who were rarely even in the same country. As innovative as it is moving, Dear Elizabeth gives voice to a conversation that lived mostly in writing, illuminating some of the finest poems of the twentieth century and the minds that produced them.


Sarah Ruhl's plays include How to Transcend a Happy Marriage; For Peter Pan on her 70th Birthday; The Oldest Boy; In the Next Room, or the vibrator play; The Clean House; Orlando; Late: a cowboy song; Dear Elizabeth; and Stage Kiss. She is a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and a Tony Award nominee. Her plays have been produced on Broadway at the Lyceum by Lincoln Center Theater, off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons, Second Stage, and at Lincoln Center's Mitzi Newhouse Theater. Her plays have been produced regionally all over the country and have also been produced internationally, and translated into over twelve languages. Ms. Ruhl received her M.F.A. from Brown University where she studied with Paula Vogel. She has received the Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, the Susan Smith Blackburn Award, the Whiting Award, the Lily Award, a PEN award for mid-career playwrights, and the MacArthur "genius" award. Her book of essays 100 Essays I Don't Have Time to Write was published by Faber and Faber last fall. She teaches at the Yale School of Drama and lives in Brooklyn with her family.


Portland Stage is a hub of creative activity and energy known for its professional Mainstage Theater Productions, its creation of vital Education Programs, both in-schools and in-house, and for cultivating new voices in theater through New Work Programs that foster experimentation and artistic risk. Visit www.portlandstage.org to engage with all we do.


Portland Stage's Affiliate Artists are an artistic collective of local theater professionals who choose to devote themselves to this community. During each season, these actors, directors, and educators present and participate in a range of programs dedicated to exploring new theatrical works, bringing the written word to the stage, and welcoming the community into the theater.

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