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Prepare for the fall

Looking ahead at the season's dramatic arts
By MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  September 18, 2014

theater_wellofhorniness_mai 

LEARN YOUR FIXATIONS The USM Theater Department stages The Well of Horniness by Holly Hughes, Sep 25-28.

Ok, let’s launch the theater preview with a few newish—and sometimes provocative—upcoming works on stage in the Portland area. And why not start with something called The Well of Horniness (September 25-28, at USM)? This “farcical radio play” concerns the murder of the husband of a “reformed” ex-lesbian sorority member, the investigation of whom falls to one Detective Garnet McClit. Need I mention that the subject matter is meant for the “mature”?

I’m also pleased to report the hot-off-the-presses news that Dramatic Repertory Company will be staging a production of Caryl Churchill’s A Number (November 14-22, at the Portland Ballet Studio Theater). Churchill’s challenging 2002 play, written in the aftermath of the cloned sheep Dolly and other experiments, tells the tale of a father forced to confront a series of his own cloned sons.

Another compelling premise and recent script comes in Snowlion Repertory Company, Moral and Political Lessons on Wyoming (November 14-23, at the Portland Stage Studio Theater). This show takes as conceit a near future in which theater as we know it has been banned; the action takes place during the censors’ cautionary reading of the bad-old-days show Wyoming.

The fall will also feature an array of modern favorites and classics, starting with Neil Simon’s coming-of-age-in-the-Depression comedy Brighton Beach Memoirs (Portland Stage Company, September 23 through October 19). Good Theater mounts another show set in the Depression, The Rainmaker (October 1-19), about a spinster and a con-man—and they report they’ll be giving it a new look, plus color-blind casting. In South Portland, Mad Horse will stage Arthur Miller’s wrenching A View from the Bridge (October 3-19); and more classic Miller comes to Seacoast Repertory, in Portsmouth, with The Crucible (October 3 through November 2). William Inge’s comedic drama Bus Stop (October 31 through November 9), about strangers stranded in a Midwest diner, goes up at the University of Southern Maine; and, finally, the recent Brian Friel favorite, Dancing at Lughnasa—which recounts a narrator’s childhood summer in 1936 County Donegal with his mother and aunts—will be staged by the Originals, at the Saco River Grange Hall.

Just a few of theater’s more classic classics will make it to stage this fall; they include a production of King Lear (November 6-9) at the Footlights at Falmouth; and Moliere’s School for Wives (November 14-30), at the New Hampshire Theatre Project. Additionally, Naked Shakespeare will present its characteristic language-focused Bard work on October 16 and 18 at the Portland Museum of Art.

Quite a number of fall shows extend the season of music-driven theater. Lyric Music Theater offers the politically incorrect puppets of Avenue Q (September 19-October 4) and the classic Oliver! (November 21 through December 7). Musical lovers might also look to Les Miserables at Portland Players (September 26 through October 19); Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Sorcerer (September 18-28), at the Theater at Monmouth; a musical version of The Witches of Eastwick at the Ogunquit Playhouse (through September 27); and Godspell at Seacoast Repertory (also through September 27). Finally, Souvenir (Portland Stage, October 28 through November 16), comically showcases the tone-deaf recitals of actual soprano Florence Foster Jenkins.

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ARTICLES BY MEGAN GRUMBLING
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  •   HOW TO DRESS A WOUND  |  October 24, 2014
    Kayleen and Doug first meet when they’re both eight years old and in the school nurse’s office: She has a stomachache, and he has “broken his face” whilst riding his bike off the school roof. Their bond, though awkward and cantankerous, is thus immediately grounded in the grisly intimacy of trauma.
  •   TRAUMATIC IRONY  |  October 15, 2014
    A creaky old oceanfront Victorian. Three adult siblings who don’t like each other, plus a couple of spouses. A codicil to their father’s will that requires them to spend an excruciating week together in the house. And, of course, various ghosts.
  •   OVEREXTENDED FAMILY  |  October 11, 2014
    “I’m inclined to notice the ruins in things,” ponders Alfieri (Brent Askari). He’s recalling the downfall of a longshoreman who won’t give up a misplaced, misshapen love, a story that receives a superbly harrowing production at Mad Horse, under the direction of Christopher Price.   
  •   SOMETHING'S GOTTA FALL  |  October 11, 2014
    While it hasn’t rained on the Curry family’s 1920’s-era ranch in far too long, the drought is more than literal in The Rainmaker .
  •   SURPASSED MENAGERIE  |  October 03, 2014
    Do Buggeln and Vasta make a Glass Menagerie out of Brighton Beach Memoirs? Well, not exactly.

 See all articles by: MEGAN GRUMBLING



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