PTC staging ‘Northern Writes’ festival

Posted June 21, 2011, at 3:55 p.m.

BANGOR — Penobscot Theatre, Bangor’s professional theater company, is continuing the fifth annual Northern Writes New Play Festival through July 2 at Bangor Opera House, 131 Main St.

This year’s festival includes works by playwrights from around the country, as well as an evening of short plays written by local Maine playwrights. These works culminate in what has become one of the largest festivals of new theatrical work in the country.

Throughout the two weeks of Northern Writes, there will be something for everyone.  Compelling works running the gamut in subject matter from Greek gods to baseball to the physics of cold fusion and ranging in style from farce to Absurdism to tragedy, the Northern Writes Festival is sure to be an eclectic experience. New faces and voices will be featured, both on the stage and off the page.

After each staged reading, an audience discussion will be facilitated in order to aid the playwright in the continuing development of his or her work.

Northern Writes kicked off with Story Slam Bangor on June 21. Also scheduled are:

•Thursday, June 23, 7 p.m. “The Baby Game” by Michele Aldin Kushner, a drama about two couples both promised a child by a pregnant teenager looking for a family of her own.

• Friday, June 24, 7 p.m. “Cold Storage” by Orono native Dustin Sleight, a dark comedic farce that pokes fun at people’s short attention spans and growing reliance on new technologies. Sleight co-founded Bigelow Bird Theatre Co., is the associate director at the Northampton (Mass.) Center for the Arts and is a house manager for the Academy of Music Theatre.

• Saturday, June 25, 2 p.m. “The High Cost of Heating” by Craig Thornton, a comedy written in the Absurdist tradition of Ionesco with a decidedly American slant. The play was a finalist for the Reva Shiner Comedy Award. 7 p.m. “A Crap Shoot” by Richard Manley. At Quietus, death is clean, sure and final, at least that‘s what is written into the bylaws and believed by the investors. This highly profitable enterprise is threatened by those left behind, however, when their memories live on, ragged and coarse.

• Sunday, June 26, 2 p.m. “Conk and Bone” by Joe Musso, for mature audiences. Death hires Conk and Bone, two hapless men from New Orleans to prepare the  slain Greek warrior Achilles and a murdered young woman to meet Charon, the  boatman who ferries the dead to Hades. 4:30 p.m. “Closure” by James McLindon, a comedic drama about a dying man who wants to reconcile with his children and who receives advice from a different version of the Virgin Mary.

• Tuesday, June 28, 7 p.m. “Merc’y Rising” by Gloria Bond Clune, a basketball star who steals apples from a doctor is ordered to spend six Saturdays working at the doctor’s home. Secrets and personal ghosts will be revealed.

• Wednesday, June 29, 7 p.m. “Rehearsing the Cherry Orchard” by Hope Hommersand, involving the director, leading lady and producer of a Chekhov play.

• Thursday, June 30, 7 p.m. “Dark Matter” by August Schulenburg, a physicist chases after the dark matter and energy that make up 95 percent of the known universe while dealing with personal challenges.

• Friday, July 1, 7 p.m. “A Night of Shorts by Maine Playwrights.” This will include a 10-minute play by Penobscot Theatre’s advanced acting class; “Dark and Stormy Night” by Chris Orcutt; “Microbrew” by Chris Orcutt; “Beaching” by Bruce Pratt; “Nine Innings” by Allen Adams; “Parents for Pick Up” by Mark Upton; “Liferaft” by Andrew Frodahl; and “Kansas City, This Is Former Air Force One” by Chris Orcutt, set on the day President Richard Nixon resigned his office.

On Friday, July 1, ballots will be distributed for audience members to vote on their favorite full-length and short plays. As a result of last year’s festival vote, “Ink” by Alice van Buren won the Audience Favorite Award and has been selected to be a part of PTC’s 2011-2012 Mainstage season.

• Saturday, July 2, 2 p.m. “A Barrow” by William Duell, a memorial to a relationship that unravels within a maze of memories, loosely based on a few episodes from Homer’s The Odyssey. 7 p.m. “Gods and Idols” by Jason Rainey, focusing on the obsessions of a young couple.

An all-festival pass is available for $35, and day passes are available for $5 at 942-3333 or online at http://www.penobscottheatre.org.

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