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BREWER – One of the region’s most beloved summertime cultural traditions is back in action in Brewer. Or should I say – the Forest of Arden.

Ten Bucks Theatre Company is presenting its annual Shakespeare Under the Stars production. This year’s offering is the pastoral comedy “As You Like It.” The show runs July 22-25 at Brewer’s Indian Trail Park, followed by a final weekend – July 29-Aug. 1 – at Fort Knox in Prospect. All performances start at 6 p.m.; tickets are $15 and available at www.tenbuckstheatre.org.

It’s a story of palace intrigue, love, family ties and the many ways in which country life and court life differ – as well as a few in which they are very much the same.

Published in Style
Wednesday, 17 March 2021 13:22

Get a clue with ‘Who Killed Zolan Mize?’

BANGOR – The latest offering from Penobscot Theatre Company is a mystery unlike any you’ve ever seen. It’s a tough one to solve – and you’re part of the solution!

“Who Killed Zolan Mize?” is an interactive livestreaming murder mystery created and executed by Rachel and Brendan Powers, a married couple of actors based in Florida. The show is part of PTC’s ongoing Digitus Theatrum season, with performances streaming through April 3. To purchase a link or to find more information, visit the PTC website at wwws.penobscottheatre.org or call the box office at 942-3333.

The show plays out live for a limited audience – there are only 20 tickets available for each performance – as a pair of hardboiled detectives question a number of weird and wacky suspects, all in an effort to solve this heinous crime. But here’s the thing – the detectives aren’t alone … because they have YOU!

Published in Style

Teenage pressure is universal. It comes in different forms and flavors for every generation, but every generation must deal with it. And remarkably, for many, the memories of those pressures largely dissipate as we grow older, leaving behind gauzy memories of pleasant vagaries. We forget because it hurts to remember.

Being a teenager is HARD. And in many ways, it has never been harder than it is today.

The demands on their time, the unending deluge of activities and extracurriculars, all in service to a relentless pursuit of what comes next. You have to get the right scholarship to the right school. You have to fill your calendar to bursting, leaving nary a minute unspoken for, all so that you might have a shot at whatever brass ring of higher education you’ve spent the last decade grasping at.

The latest production from the University of Maine School of Performing Arts is a reflection and representation of that struggle. SPA is presenting Sarah DeLappe’s play “The Wolves,” directed by Marcia Joy Douglas; due to COVID-19 restrictions, the show cannot be performed live, but on-demand streaming is available through March 14. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased through the School of Performing Arts website at www.umaine.edu/spa.

The play looks at this omnipresent pressure through the lens of a girls’ soccer team. It is a sharp, darkly funny glimpse at the inner lives of teenagers who have spent their entire existence defined by expectations of the looming future. It is a world where adults are rarely heard and even more rarely seen, leaving the girls to play out all of their hopes and fears alongside one another, even as they play the beautiful game on the field.

Published in Buzz

BANGOR - A little rocket science keeps theatre alive. 

Penobscot Theatre Company continues to innovate to fulfill its artistic mission in the face of the pandemic. “Flyin’ Solo,” the latest offering in the company’s “Digitus Theatrum” 47th season, combines original works and technical know-how to make possible a live-to-your-home production.  

Published in Style

BREWER – The spirit of live theatre is alive and well in Brewer, courtesy of the spirits of the dead.

Local companies Ten Bucks Theatre and True North Theatre have come together in collaboration for their outdoor production of the Edgar Lee Masters classic “Spoon River Anthology.” The show – which has limited audiences and socially distanced seating – is running at Brewer’s Indian Trail Park, with performances at 1 and 4 p.m. on October 24 and 25. Tickets, as well as information about safety protocols and guidelines, are available at www.tenbuckstheatre.org.

“Spoon River Anthology” was first published in 1915, a collection of free verse poems that purported to be epitaphs of the now-deceased residents of the titular town, based largely on Masters’ hometown of Lewistown, Illinois. Consisting of 212 characters and, in all, nearly 250 accounts of their lives in small-town rural America. In the years since, it has become a mainstay of theatrical groups of all levels – a rare work that allows for production flexibility while also remaining evocative and compelling. That flexibility makes it an ideal offering for the current time and place.

Published in Style

BREWER – When it comes to Ten Bucks Theatre Company’s annual Shakespeare Under the Stars production, the show must go on – pandemic be damned.

This summer’s offering – directed by Amy Roeder – is “The Taming of the Shrew,” with performances at three different venues: Brewer’s Indian Trail Park (July 16-19, 23-24), Old Town’s Hirundo Wildlife Refuge (July 25-26) and Fort Knox in Prospect (July 30-31, Aug. 1-2). All performances start at 6 p.m.

Due to the current circumstances, social distancing measures will be in place (including for the cast). Audiences will be limited to 50 people and the show will be presented without an intermission.

There are a lot of challenges that come with trying to mount a show right now. By all appearances, Ten Bucks has met all of them with enthusiasm and passion. This is a difficult piece to do well under ideal conditions, let alone now. Yet this intrepid crew has overcome the obstacles of circumstance. The result is a charming, engaging piece of theatre – one that might help you escape, if only for a couple of hours. These days, that’s a precious gift.

Published in Style

BANGOR – One of the most challenging and beautiful theatrical works to grace an area stage in years took place at Penobscot Theatre last weekend. Alas, it saddens me to say that due to the current circumstances, you won’t be able to watch it from a seat in the Bangor Opera House.

That’s the situation with Penobscot Theatre Company’s new production. “Safety Net,” a play written by Daryl Lisa Fazio and directed by PTC’s own Tricia A. Hobbs. While the measures taken in recent days due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus mean that the Opera House seats will remain unfilled, PTC is hoping to take unprecedented action of its own.

Here’s how it’s going to work. Through this next week – up to March 22 – PTC will be presenting a livestream of the production at regular showtimes. From Wednesday through Sunday, March 18-22, the company will present a real-time video performance of the show. Tickets can be purchased in the usual way via the PTC website – www.penobscottheatre.org. Purchasers will be given instructions, a link and a password dedicated specifically to the night of their ticket purchase. It might not be the usual manner in which you see a play, but I’d advise you to take advantage of it.

Because any way you slice it, this is a remarkable piece of theatre.

(Full disclosure: I can’t speak to the experience of watching this show on video. I was one of four non-production personnel in the house for one of the early performances. But if watching it on a screen is even a tenth as impactful as seeing it on stage, it will be worth every cent and every second you spend on it.)

Published in Buzz
Wednesday, 26 February 2020 13:00

STC’s ‘Puffs’ makes theatre magic

BANGOR – Have you ever wanted to spend some time at a very special and VERY famous school of magic? Well, thanks to Some Theatre Company, now you can.

Sort of.

STC is presenting “Puffs: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic,” running through March 1. This show – written by Matt Cox and directed by company artistic director Elaine Bard – marks the company’s first-ever production at their brand-new space in the Bangor Mall.

Fans of a certain boy wizard might have occasionally asked themselves about some of the other students at this legendary school. We spent seven books (and eight movies and a stage play and so on) following him and his friends; what do you suppose was going on with the students who maybe weren’t so talented or popular? Every school has regular, average kids – even schools of magic.

That’s what you get with “Puffs.” It’s a chance to spend some time with the also-rans of the magical realm, the uncool kids who just want to get by, kids who are simply looking to get through school without having to deal with the horrifying mystic dangers that lurk around seemingly every corner. These are kids who are very aware of the magical hierarchy … and of their low place in it.

(Since you might be wondering what the deal is, the following disclaimer is featured on the “Puffs” website: “Puffs is a stage play written by Matt Cox as a transformative & transfigured work under the magic that is US Fair Use laws. Puffs is not authorised, sanctioned, licensed or endorsed by J.K Rowling, Warner Bros. or any person or company associated with the Harry Potter books, films or play.”)

Published in Buzz

BANGOR – Silly schemes and sexy shenanigans are unfolding (and undressing) at the Bangor Opera House.

Penobscot Theatre Company’s latest production is the farce “Don’t Dress for Dinner,” adapted by Robin Hawdon from Marc Camoletti’s “Pyjama Pour Six.” Directed by Chris “Red” Blissette, the show runs through February 16.

It’s a madcap whirlwind of amorous misfortune and mistaken identity, with the questionable-at-best decisions made by a group of oversexed friends and lovers resulting in an ever-escalating spiral of lies that threatens to blow up at every turn. And with every untruth, the collapse comes closer. Will any of these relationships survive the night?

All of this playing out in a high-octane dance of entrances and exits and – of course – slamming doors galore, driven by a first-rate ensemble. It’s energetic and entertaining, a frothy bit of fun that will induce some warming, welcome laughter at this ever-so-cold time of the year.

Published in Style

ORONO – They say opposites attract … but do they really? And for how long?

True North Theatre is bringing a Neil Simon classic to the stage with their production of “The Odd Couple.” Directed by Angela Bonacasa and starring TNT regulars Tellis Coolong and Tyler Costigan, the show runs through Jan. 19 at the Cyrus Pavilion Theatre on the campus of the University of Maine at Orono.

It’s the best-known of Simon’s many theatrical classics, a story about the difficulties inherent to starting over and the importance of friends who will support you even as you drive them crazy. It’s also arguably his funniest, with the mismatched pair at the show’s center an iconic stage dynamic; their relationship laid the foundation for a hundred comedies – some brilliant, others derivative, but all undeniably inspired by Oscar and Felix.

True North gets it, featuring fine performances from that central duo and a general understanding of just how hilarious this script is - an understanding that is ulitmately executed wonderfully.

Published in Style
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