Theater (178)

The Theater Project's exposes the beams in Lisa D'Amour's 'Detroit'

Even though neither couple’s suburban “starter home” is new, both houses feel somehow unfinished. You can see the seams in the sheetrock. Some newer construction is of bare lumber, not cut square. Even fully built parts of these houses feel low-fi, ersatz, or made of failing materials. The sliding door sticks. The lawn is a postage-stamp of turf. In the backyards of these two adjacent houses, two couples face vertiginous insecurity in the trajectory of middle-class American…

Consider 'Sex With Strangers' — Good Theater mounts a fine one

The Good Theater’s season opener is called Sex With Strangers, but don’t get the wrong kind of excited: the real intercourse behind the title is the one that happens when writers share their intimately crafted extensions of self with an anonymous, indifferent world of readers. Or, as director Steve Underwood more pithily puts it, Sex With Strangers, by Laura Eason (a writer on the Emmy-winning House of Cards) is “a play about that little old industry that…

Is it all just a game? — USM's 'Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom' peers into a possible future

As players in dark hoodies skulk through the digitally rendered suburbs, a voice intones instructions: Drink the chocolate milk. Break the lawn gnome with a hammer. Recall that “the goal during daytime is to blend in.” But as you might suspect, this game the teens are playing is not what it seems. “Ha, that sounds like something out of a horror movie,” sasses one of the teen gamers, and how right she it. In Neighborhood 3:…

Street Theater — Snowlion's 'Anything Helps God Bless' reckons with homelessness in Portland

Two street signs onstage read “Preble” and “Marginal.” A triptych of back panels presentsimages of the city intersection, and on the stage floor are the sort of concrete medians that became, not long ago, contentious territory in Portland. The stage is set to explore what Snowlion Repertory Company calls the “median strip controversy” of 2012-15, when the city attempted to ban activity — namely, panhandling, or “signing” — in the medians. After a workshop production last December, the full production of Anything Helps…

Born for a Storm — Mad Horse's 'Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson' sends up populist rage

He’s running against the elites, the establishment, and anyone other than real Americans trying to take up space in America. He cusses, shoots from the hip, refers during speeches to the length and girth of his penis, and riles supporters up about their own victimhood. Sound like any campaigns that have recently made us bleed from our ears and eyes? But hold on, because this is the story of Andrew Jackson: populist rabble-rouser and genocidal founder of…

Tracey Conyer Lee summons Billie Holiday in marvelous one-woman show 'Lady Day'

It’s 1959, at a small club in South Philly, and Billie Holiday is poised to sing nearly her last gig. Riven with heroin and alcohol addiction, trailed by Federal narcotics agents, and subject to erratic turns of voice and mood, Holiday shares with this club’s audience not just her musical best-of’s, but her rich and harrowing story, in Lanie Robertson’s music-driven one-woman show, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill. Directed by Kevin R. Free…

Modeling a Crisis: Hal Cohen's 'Intervention' Cuts Deep

We encounter the statistics almost daily now: opioid addiction is killing far too many of us. But statistics, as I once heard someone say, never made anyone change their understanding or their life. Stories do that, and in the face of the crisis, we’ve been hearing more of them, both true and invented. Local playwright and physician, Hal J. Cohen, consulted with present and former addicts, and those close to them, for his fictional “dark comedy” Intervention, which he also directs and produces (with On A Dare Productions).…

The fall theater season is here — Our roundup of dramatics to come

Tracey Conyer Lee as Billie Holliday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill.  Whenever presidential politics hit a new benchmark for gross, mean, and ignorant, perhaps some musical satire is in order. Mad Horse Theatre Company is here to help with its season opener, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (September 21 through October 15), which explores the class divisions, racism, and rabble-rousing populism of an earlier era and president — and with a rock soundtrack, too. In our…

Is this play just about music? — Portland Stage and MSMT combine for 'The All Night Strut'

If the late-summer blues, or just the mind-numbing present, have you yearning to escape into yesteryear into breezy musical nostalgia, Portland Stage and Maine Stage Music Theatre have your ticket. For their second summertime collaboration on PSC’s mainstage, they present The All Night Strut, a concert production of hits from the 1920s through the 1950s, performed by four singers and a three-piece band. There’s no story to distract from the tunes. There’s barely even any…

Listen to the Crows — Raw amateur theater forum Crowbait Club readies its fifth annual deathmatch

For five years now, brave and intrepid playwrights have risked it all in the Crowbait Club's monthly theater Deathmatches: If a contestant’s play is drawn from the hat and performed on the spot by the actors, playwrights pray that it will win the audience's raucous love, beat out the competition, and secure a place in the CBC's annual best-of fest, the King of Crows. At King of Crows V, onstage this weekend at the St. Lawrence, expect 10-minute explorations of war, nature, holiday anxiety, and…
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