I won't spend too much time on this, because I plan to write at slightly greater length about one of these shows in this week's paper, and you've missed your chance to see the rest. BUT! Just a note to say: there are some truly talented theater people -- actors, directors, and writers -- working in Portland right now. I saw four shows in four days and enjoyed each of them.
On Thursday night, I went to Portland Stage to see The Passion of the Hausfrau as part of the PSC's Studio Series.(That's the one I'm writing more about.)
Then, on Saturday afternoon, I saw the seven short plays of Acorn Production's Maine Playwrights Festival. The last two pieces were my favorite: Lara Lom's Better, Tomorrow, a beautifully sad portrayal of a relationship that disintegrates due to sickness and fear; and Reorient, by Michael Kimball, a hysterical satire of attempts to "de-gay" gays and lesbians. The actors were sharp, and the plays they performed were well-crafted.
Sunday, I saw Brighton Beach Memoirs at Portland Players during the day; the set was one of the most lovely ones I've ever seen on a community theater stage, and the performances were solid -- especially that of young Benedetto Robinson, the Windham sophomore who truly stole the show.
And on Sunday evening, I went to Speech and Debate at SPACE, and laughed, so hard, for the duration. (Here's what Megan had to say about the show in this week's paper.) The three main characters -- Howie, played by Philip Hobby; Solomon, i.e. Christopher Reiling, and Diwata, played by Rachel Flehinger -- were so spot-on, so funny (sometimes subtly, sometimes hit-you-over-the-head), and so vulnerable. Playwright Stephen Karam's writing is just terrific. Any play that drops nerdy drama references (putting Idina Menzel on par with MLK Jr.! it kills me) while making us think harder about hypocrisy and tolerance is a-okay in my book.
Bravos all around! Theater Rulz!