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Penobscot Theatre Company Presents FLYIN' SOLO

Flyin’ Solo, an autobiographical theatrical memoir, featuring twelve actors will be performed live remotely from January 21 – February 7.

Penobscot Theatre Company Presents FLYIN' SOLO

Everyone has a story. What's yours? Penobscot Theatre Company will present Flyin' Solo, an autobiographical theatrical memoir, featuring twelve actors and performed live remotely from January 21 - February 7.

In the style defined by the likes of Spalding Gray, Eric Bogosian, Eddie Izzard and Whoopie Goldberg, Flyin Solo brings personal stories to life - all written and performed by the actor. "I was involved in quite a bit of solo performance as a young actor," says producing artistic director, Bari Newport. "It is a very specific writing and performing style that is more than just storytelling. It is a powerful performance and creation method that I have wanted to share with our actors and audience since I arrived nine years ago. Covid made it possible!"

Beginning in September, the twelve actors were split into two groups of six. They engaged in bi-monthly writing workshops with Los Angeles-based solo performance instructors, Parker Mills and Susan Leslie. "Other than a limit of 1200 words, no other parameters placed on the work," says Mills. "The blank page is exciting because it holds so many possibilities," says Mills. "But it is also terrifying because it holds so many possibilities! Other than a limit of 1200 words, actors were free, and encouraged, to write whatever they wanted, however they wanted."

Adds Leslie, "On the first day, actors were given one word as a jumping off point - a word that would tie all of the individual pieces together. They didn't have to use the word, just touch on it thematically, and follow it on whatever journey it took them. The words given were Hope and Faith."

Penobscot Theatre Company audiences can expect to see familiar and new faces. Actors are divided into two casts which will rotate each performance. One group includes company members Allen Adams, Julie Arnold Lisnet, Jenny Hart and Ben Layman are joined by Los Angeles-based Orlando Bishop and well-known Syrian rapper-musician Assasi, who now resides in Maine. "I wanted to tell a story about a piece of my life most people don't know about," says Ben Layman. "...my Mormon upbringing and what is was like growing up gay in a small town in the 90s."

The second cast of actors feature audience favorites Grace Livingston-Kramer, Ira Kramer, Jeri Misler, A.J. Mooney, Dennis Price and Christie Robinson. "Through workshop and development sessions, we were challenged to find a piece of our truth that could be turned into a dramatically compelling monologue for performance," explains Robinson. "Until now, I hadn't considered turning my own life experiences into moments for the stage. It can be a scary thing, opening up your life like this! But, it's also freeing. The experience of Flyin' Solo gave me a different kind of confidence. It granted me permission to explore my voice as a whole artist. I discovered that, as an actor, before you can tell anyone else's stories effectively, you really should learn how to tell your own."

"Each actor interacts with the camera in a unique way that enhances, expands and allows the viewer into their story," remarks managing director, Jen Shepard. "Although some feel this technology can hold you at arms-length, in this case, it brings you even closer to the story and the storyteller."

Flyin' Solo is included in the Main Course subscription. Half-Season Main Course subscriptions are still available and also include The Mystery of Zolan Mize (March 11-April 3) and a surprise collaboration with Atlanta's resident Francophone theatre company, Theatre du Reve, who are creating an original film focusing on Maine's Acadian history. Subscribers save $30 and receive tickets to both Flyin Solo cast performances.

Single, household tickets for Flyin Solo are $40. Tickets and subscriptions can be purchased online at www.penobscottheatre.org or by calling the box office at (207) 942-3333.


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