Six new scripts come alive on stage on the Maine Playwrights Competition – Press Herald


Numbers assist outline the scope of the Maine Playwrights Competition: six performs by six Maine playwrights that includes two dozen performers over eight nights in Portland and Bangor. However the true scope of the competition, which opens Thursday in Portland, will be measured in its affect.

Six featured playwrights at this 12 months’s competition are (from left) Thomas Spurr, Eddie Adelman, Kevin O’Leary, Danie Connolly, David Susman and Travis G. Baker. Picture by Lauren Stockless, courtesy of Maine Playwrights Competition.

When the competition started in 2001, playwrights in Maine had few avenues for getting their scripts produced. Now, theater firms throughout Portland and Maine encourage writers and compete to provide Maine’s greatest new performs. Routinely, theater firms massive and small embrace new performs by Maine writers of their season lineups.

Dan Burson, the competition’s creative director, is pleased with the competition’s position in spurring that inventive exercise. It has produced greater than 150 authentic performs by dozens of playwrights.

“When the competition started within the early 2000s, there was little or no new-play improvement taking place in southern Maine and few alternatives for playwrights,” Burson stated. “We grew to become one of many earliest organizations to encourage and showcase the work of native writers, and lots of playwrights bought their begin by submitting scripts to us. It’s been an awesome, accessible alternative for writers to submit work, get some suggestions and, if their play is chosen, to have the chance to see their work on its toes. That’s invaluable to writers creating their craft.”

This 12 months’s competition options six performs, that are between eight and 30 minutes lengthy. All can be absolutely staged, although with minimal units, and all can be carried out every night time. Performances will final about two hours, with intermission. This 12 months’s playwrights are Eddie Adelman, Travis G. Baker, Danie Connolly, Kevin O’Leary, Thomas Spurr and David Susman. Michael Kimball is that this 12 months’s playwright in residence, and the competition will produce a staged studying of his full-length play, “Endurance Boston,” at 7 p.m. Monday, April 29, within the Studio Theatre at Portland Stage.

Michael Kimball is playwright in residence of the Maine Playwrights Competition. Picture by Helen Peppe, courtesy of Maine Playwrights Competition.

The black field at Portland Stage is dwelling to most performances. The competition shifts to the Penobscot Theatre Firm for the ultimate efficiency on Might 5, the third 12 months Bangor has hosted a efficiency.

In earlier years, the competition chosen a dozen performs for manufacturing. At Burson’s helm, the competition minimize that quantity in half to present extra consideration to and current extra full productions of every. Along with staging the six performs, the competition presents readings of performs that didn’t make the ultimate minimize, in addition to a showcase of performs by highschool playwrights. Burson and Maine playwright Callie Kimball labored with college students from Bonny Eagle Excessive College in Standish and Casco Bay Excessive College in Portland on authentic scripts. The highschool scripts can be carried out at three p.m. Saturday at Portland Stage.

The competition operates underneath the umbrella of South Portland-based Acorn Productions, which additionally produces the Bare Shakespeare sequence and different packages. Whereas the competition has grown and expanded in recent times, it stays a lean operation with an annual funds of $13,000, all of which comes from ticket gross sales, grants and donations.

“It’s arduous to pay for it,” Burson stated. “We’re a small group with no full-time workers in a troublesome funding atmosphere. Nevertheless it’s value going on the market and attempting to find the assist.”

There’s plenty of selection on this 12 months’s scripts. In “O’Hare – Gate 44” by Adelman, two former highschool sweethearts meet by chance a few years later and discover that means. Spurr tells the story of divorced mother and father who discover a approach to cope and mourn collectively whereas cleansing out the room of their lately deceased daughter. O’Leary wrote about confronting and coming to phrases with the previous in “Gloria Anderson,” and Baker explores the realm of synthetic intelligence in “The Retailer.” Susman envisions the return of Willy Loman, and Danie Connolly writes a few financial institution robber who selected the fallacious teller to stay up.

Burson stated the competition receives between 45 and 65 submissions every year. A committee of 4 judges them blindly, not understanding the names or experiences of the writers.

O’Leary stated he appreciates the competition due to the eye it brings to Maine playwrights.

“This can be a nice state. We’ve got nice artists, now we have nice musicians and now we have nice authors – novelists and poets and playwrights,” he stated. “Our voices are simply as related as San Francisco voices or Montreal voices.”

Bob Keyes will be contacted at 791-6457 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: pphbkeyes

WHAT: Maine Playwrights Competition

IN PORTLAND: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and three p.m. Sunday; 7:30 p.m. Might 2-Four at Studio Theater at Portland Stage, 25A Forest Ave.

IN BANGOR: 7 p.m. Might 5 on the Penobscot Theatre Firm’s training house, 51 Principal St.

TICKETS & INFO: $20 adults, $18 seniors and college students;

ALSO: A staged studying of plawright-in-residence Michael Kimball’s ‘Endurance Boston” can be at 7 p.m. Monday, April 29, at studio theater at Portland Stage. Admission is pay-what-you-can.


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