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Maine Playwrights Festival landing in Bangor

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BANGOR - One of Maine’s most prestigious celebrations of new plays is making its way to Bangor once again.

The Maine Playwrights Festival – now in its 17th year – is offering public performances in Bangor for the second year in a row. Penobscot Theatre Company’s new Main Street space – located at 51 Main – will play host to this year’s five selected new plays on May 6 at 7 p.m.

There will be a week-plus of performances at the Portland Stage’s Studio Theater (located at 25 Forest Avenue) running from April 26 through May 5 before the MSF makes its way up the highway to Bangor for the Sunday evening – and final – performances for the year. Tickets and festival passes are available now at www.acorn-productions.org.

(The Bangor performance is presented in partnership with Penobscot Theatre Company and is supported by a grant from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation. Tickets will be available at the door at 51 Main Street on a pay-what-you-can basis.)

This year’s 17th annual festival features the world premiere performances of five new plays by Maine playwrights.

“It’s an exciting year for us to be premiering five new plays that were selected from our largest-ever pool of playwrights from around the state,” said Daniel Burson, the festival’s Artistic Director. “We’re also thrilled to be bringing the festival to Eastern Maine for the second year with a one-night only performance in Bangor. Performing in more communities is a key part of our mission to connect new, local plays to audiences and writers in all parts of the state.”

The five new plays in the 2018 festival are written by Maine playwrights Travis G. Baker (Orono), Ron Kanecke (Portland), Parker Lemal-Brown (Brunswick), Gordon LePage (New Sharon) and Jennifer Reck (Cape Elizabeth). Their plays were selected for the festival by a committee of local theater professionals out of a pool of 62 scripts submitted by playwrights from across Maine—the largest number of writers ever to submit to the festival in a single year.

Here are brief synopses of the selected plays:

BOY MISSING by Travis G. Baker

In a small-town bar, Darcy and Jerry are going to have a conversation about the missing boy who connects their families.

KNOCKS AND HOW TO ANSWER by Ron Kanecke

Two lonely people at crossroads in their lives meet during a hurricane evacuation.

GESUNDHEIT by Parker Lemal-Brown

After deciding out of the blue that he’s on his deathbed, a father’s cavalier attitude towards illness – and giving away his possessions – drives his daughter to desperation.

ANGELS WE HAVE HEARD by Gordon LePage

After the arrival of an unexpected young guest, a successful New York real estate agent must appraise the value of her properties past and present.

SLEEPING AT CAMPOBELLO by Jennifer Reck

Historical artifacts get borrowed and broken as the summer season at Campobello draws to a close, and a docent finds herself in a compromising position in the Roosevelts’ bedroom.

The 2018 Maine Playwrights Festival is being dedicated to the memory of Maine novelist, playwright, and teacher Elaine Ford. Ms. Ford (1938-2017) was the author of seven books of fiction, including “This Time Might Be Different: Stories of Maine,” published this month. A professor at the University of Maine for 19 years, she lived in Milbridge and, later, Harpswell. A late venturer into playwriting, Ford had plays performed as part of the festival in 2016 and 2017.

“The Maine Playwrights Festival was fortunate to get to work with Elaine, and we were all stunned by her sudden death last year,” said Burson. “By dedicating the 2018 festival to her memory, we want to acknowledge her legacy as a Mainer who proved that it’s never too late to take up playwriting and bring new worlds to life onstage.”

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