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Maine Playwrights Festival coming to Orono

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ORONO - The 2017 Maine Playwrights Festival, the state’s most vibrant incubator for new plays by local playwrights, is coming to Orono for the first time on May 7. 

Following their initial April 27-May 6 run at the Portland Ballet Studio Theater, this year’s sixteenth annual festival - featuring the world premiere performances of six new plays by Maine playwrights – will land in Orono at the Cyrus Pavillion Theatre on the University of Maine campus.

“We’re extremely excited to be premiering these six new plays that feature such a wide range of styles and topics,” says Daniel Burson, the festival’s Artistic Director. “In one evening of theater, audiences will see comedies and dramas, set in places from a Downeast laundromat to an army post in Afghanistan, and all of them written by terrific writers who call Maine their home!”

The six new plays in the 2017 festival were written by Maine playwrights Lynne Cullen, Elaine Ford, Ron Kanecke, John Manderino, David Susman, and David Vazdauskas. Their plays were selected from a pool of nearly 50 scripts submitted by playwrights from across Maine by a committee of local theater professionals.

The writers have been developing and rehearsing their plays this spring working with visiting guest playwright-in-residence Kate Snodgrass (the Artistic Director of Boston Playwrights Theatre), as well as local professional directors and a cast of 17 actors based in Southern Maine.

Following the initial seven-performance run in Portland, the festival plays will also be performed at the Cyrus Pavilion Theatre in Orono on May 7. This touring performance to Eastern Maine is the first time that the Maine Playwrights Festival has staged a full performance outside of Southern Maine.

“Bringing the festival to audiences in Eastern Maine is an important new step for us,” says Burson. “For the festival to truly showcase the best new plays written in Maine each year, it is vital that audiences beyond Southern Maine get a chance to discover and appreciate these new plays and that writers from every part of Maine can see the value to them in submitting their work to us.” 

Tickets for the Orono performance are will be available at the door on a pay-what-you-can basis.


The plays in the 2017 Maine Playwrights Festival are as follows:

“Connection” by David Vazdauskas

Following a horrific event, the struggle between forgiveness and revenge is complicated by the possibilities of the future.

“Elwood’s Last Job” by Elaine Ford

After forty years of doing menial jobs in a small Maine town, Elwood is about to change his life—and the local laundromat—in dramatic and surprising ways.

“Miracles” by Ron Kanecke

Two characters who operate a shady business trafficking in miracles are left asking themselves if there may be more truth than they thought in their operation.

“The Thing Carol Saw” by John Manderino

On a contentious car ride home, sometimes it can be hard to know where the line between reality and the imagination really lies.

“The Wild Hunt” by Lynne Cullen

When retired military bomb-sniffing dog Woltan is adopted by an affluent socialite, his former army handler fights to reclaim him.

“Walter Likes Henny Just Fine” by David Susman

During a chance encounter in a ladies’ restroom, an elderly woman counsels her young counterpart on love, life, and the importance of a good lipstick.


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