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Bob Keyes

Bob Keyes has written about the arts in Maine since 2002. He’s never been much an artist himself, other than singing in junior high school chorus and acting in a few musicals. But he’s attended museums, theaters, clubs and concert halls all his life, and cites Bob Dylan as most influential artist of any kind since Picasso. He lives in Berwick.

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Posted: July 24, 2018

Director says farewell to ‘Naked Shakespeare,’ but not before taking one last bow

Written by: Bob Keyes

A performance of “All’s Well on the Waterfront” by the Naked Shakespeare troupe of Acord Productions. Photo courtesy of Acorn Productions

It’s time to say goodbye, pass the torch and turn the next chapter. That calls for a beer, raised in a toast.

Michael Levine, founding artistic director of the Naked Shakespeare acting troupe, is stepping down after a series of performances at Fore River Brewing Co.’s tasting room in South Portland. The series continues on Mondays through Aug. 13.

“Times change, and it’s time to see next incarnation of Naked Shakespeare,” he said.

Company member Sarah Barlow is taking over.

Acorn Productions has produced the low-barrier Shakespeare performances for 14 years, presenting sonnets, soliloquies and scenes from famous plays in the old Wine Bar on Wharf Street, Battery Steele on Peaks Island, the Portland Museum of Art, Victoria Mansion and elsewhere. “We always tried to do Shakespeare in places where people didn’t expect Shakespeare,” he said. “Our first show was a guerilla show at Space during an intermission. Space was just starting out too.”

The Naked Shakespeare at the Fore River performances include a reunion of former company members as well as those currently in the ensemble and will last about an hour. Throughout the performances, actors mingle with the audience and surprise people with their spontaneity.

Although he is stepping away from his duties as artistic director, Levine plans to teach for Acorn while working on a touring lecture and performance about Shakespeare’s so-called lost plays.

Naked Shakespeare at the Fore River

WHEN & WHERE: 7 p.m. Mondays through Aug. 13, Fore River Brewing Co., 45 Huntress Ave., South Portland
ADMISSION: Pay what you can

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