December 17, 2017
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Maine play grapples with romance among baby boomers, mental illness

By Ryder Schumacher, Journal Tribune
Submitted photo courtesy of the Journal Tribune | BDN
Submitted photo courtesy of the Journal Tribune | BDN
Actors Elizabeth Freeman and Stephen McLaughlin during a scene of "Our Fallen Angels." The play will open Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the Storm Warnings Repertory Theatre in Kennebunk. Ticket sales will be donated to a Puerto Rico hurricane relief fund.

For residents of southern Maine, the Storm Warnings Repertory Theatre has functioned as an oasis for locals craving the taste of big theatrical productions, destined for big city audiences, set in a small theater atmosphere.

The theater will again be showing one of those productions. From now until Nov. 5, and from Nov. 9 through Nov. 12, the theater will put on “Our Better Angels,” written and directed by established playwright, theater artistic director and Kennebunkport native Paul Dervis.

“Our Better Angels” follows the lives of two Mainers: Jill Chambers, a performing jazz musician, approaching middle age, who spends her days in a cubicle settling accident claims, and nights alone along the coast of Maine, and George Shapiro, a 60-year-old divorcee living an uninspiring life who now runs an art gallery with his old college roommate, Hal.

The two share a passion for art, specifically a certain artist whose work Jill owns, and meet at an art gallery. From there, Jill and George enter into a romance of ups and downs, bouncing from “the euphoric to the lowest depths and back again” according to a press release from the theater’s media department.

The play is intended for mature audiences.

One of the lead characters in the play suffers from a mental disorder; a disorder that Dervis says has manifested itself in the life of someone close to him.

“It’s really quite difficult when you know someone struggling with it,” Dervis said during an interview with the Journal Tribune, adding that he felt it was necessary for the effects of the disorder be illustrated by one of the characters.

For Dervis, “Our Fallen Angels” marks the latest of dozens of productions he’s produced for the theater. He is credited with writing plays that have shown in New York City, Montreal and Boston. One of his most prominent plays, titled “Making Tracks,” won the New York One Act Play Festival at the Nat Horne Theatre in Manhattan.

Elizabeth Freeman, a resident of South Portland, plays the role of Jill, while Stephen McLaughlin, of Portland, takes on the role of George.

Dervis said he has worked with both actors on multiple occasions and is blown away by their abilities with each production.

“They are some of the most talented and devoted individuals I’ve had the pleasure of working with,” Dervis said.

The play’s cause is arguably as emotionally riveting as its plotline. All ticket sales from the eight days the production is shown will be donated to Puerto Rico, which recently had its infrastructure ravished by Hurricane Maria.

Tickets are $15 dollars, but on Thursday’s attendees are asked to pay what they can. The play will be shown at the Brick Store Performing Arts Center, located at 117 Main St., Kennebunk. The show starts at 7:30 p.m., with Sunday matinees starting at 3 p.m.

For more information, call the box office at 441-8163 or visit stormwarningstheatre.com.

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