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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: January 13, 2015

Theater season returns: Lorem Ipsum, Portland Stage, Mad Horse and more

After a holiday hiatus, Portland’s theater community gets back to work in January, beginning Thursday when Lorem Ipsum launches a two-play repertory cycle by English playwright Caryl Churchill.

Written by: Bob Keyes
Lorem Ipsum members Tess Van Horn, as Lisa, and Mariah Bergeron, as Marion, rehearse the company’s production of “Owners” at SPACE Gallery in Portland on Sunday.

Lorem Ipsum members Tess Van Horn, as Lisa, and Mariah Bergeron, as Marion, rehearse the company’s production of “Owners” at SPACE Gallery in Portland on Sunday. Carl D. Walsh/Staff Photographer

Lorem Ipsum Theater Collective

Lorem Ipsum Theater Collective stages “Owners” and “Love and Information” at SPACE Gallery on Congress Street in Portland. Churchill is among the best-known contemporary playwrights in the world, and these mark her second and third plays that have been staged in Portland in recent months.

Dramatic Rep produced the play “A Number” in November.

“Her work is interesting, evocative and smart,” collective member Tess Van Horn said. “She is a celebrity in England but is not as well known here. We thought this was a good opportunity to feature her work.”

The plays span 40 years. Churchill wrote “Owners” in 1972. “Love and Information” was first produced in 2012. Presenting them together enables actors and audiences to follow the playwright’s development, Van Horn said.

“Owners” examines the dynamics of power and property and their propensity to corrupt, told from the perspective of a greedy real estate developer. It is set in London in the early 1970s. Company member Deirdre Fulton directs.

“Love and Information,” directed by Nick Schroeder, features a cast of 11 in more than 100 roles across 70 scenes. Van Horn described it as “poetic and harrowing” in its dramatization of modern love.

Staging two shows simultaneously is no small feat. Each requires a different set and cast, though there is some overlap. Each will be presented within SPACE in vastly different configurations. One will utilize the existing stage at SPACE, the other will be presented more in the round.

“I like to say it’s an exciting form of craziness that we all really like,” Van Horn said. “We could have done one of the Churchill plays and done a great job, but we love the challenge.”

“Owners” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Saturday, Sunday and Jan. 23 and 2 p.m. Jan. 25. “Love and Information” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Sunday, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 22, Jan. 24 and Jan. 25. Casts include Grace Bauer, Mariah Bergeron, Maureen Butler, Ian Carlsen, Courtney Cook, Caleb Aaron Coulthard, Matt Delamater, Lisa Boucher Hartman, Christopher Holt, Bridgette Kelly, Mark Rubin, Michael Dix Thomas, Tess Van Horn, Marjolaine Whittlesey and Kacy Woodworth. Both shows cost $10, and tickets are available at brownpapertickets.com.


Portland Stage cast members rehearse “Our Man in Havana, which” previews Tuesday, Wednesday and Jan. 22 and open on Jan, 23. It runs through Feb. 15. Photo courtesy of Portland Stage.

Portland Stage cast members rehearse “Our Man in Havana, which” previews Tuesday, Wednesday and Jan. 22 and open on Jan, 23. It runs through Feb. 15. Photo courtesy of Portland Stage.

Portland Stage Company

Portland Stage Company offers the Clive Francis comedy “Our Man in Havana,” with previews beginning Tuesday. The show officially opens Jan. 23 and runs through Feb. 15. Adapted from the novel of the same name, “Our Man In Havana” is a fast-paced spy thriller. Four actors play 30 roles.

Among the cast is Katie MacNichol, who grew up in Cape Elizabeth and now lives in Los Angeles. She attributes her interest in theater to her early-life experiences at Portland Stage. She attended a student matinee of “Fallen Angels” by Noel Coward at Portland Stage in high school.

“I had never seen anything like it. The two actresses on the stage were so stylish and funny – I was enthralled,” MacNichol said. “After the show, they came back out on stage in their street clothes to talk with the student audience. When I saw them sitting there – these completely normal women who had only moments before been so hysterical, so compelling and magical – I realized that this was exactly what I wanted to do. Not as a hobby, but as a job. I was going to be an actress.”

She is back in Portland for this show, along with her husband, Bruce Turk, who plays the lead.

The timing of this play is perfect for Portland Stage. With the normalization of relations with Cuba, this play offers perspective on post-World War II Cuba, leading to the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Elements of the plot anticipate those events.

After working as a vacuum cleaner salesman in Havana for 10 years, James Wormold is recruited by a British agent as a spy. His job is to create an intelligence network in Havana, which is easier said than done.

Paul Mullens directs.

“Our Man in Havana” previews at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Jan. 22 and opens at 7:30 p.m. on Jan, 23. It runs through Feb. 15. Tickets range from $20 to $47; portlandstage.org.


Mad Horse Theatre Company

Mad Horse Theatre Company stages Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire’s “Kimberly Akimbo” Jan. 22 through Feb. 8 at the Mad Horse Theatre at 24 Mosher St., South Portland. Set in suburban New Jersey, “Kimberly Akimbo” is funny and warm play about a teenager with a genetic disorder that causes her to age faster than she should. At 16, she is a teen in the body of a much older woman. When her family flees Secaucus, Kimberly re-evaluates her life while dealing with a hypochondriac mother, a rarely sober father, a scam-artist aunt, her own mortality and the prospect of first love.

It stars Mad Horse member Tootie Van Reenen in the title row, along with Burke Brimmer, Janice Gardner, Shannon Campbell and Thomas Ian Campbell. Nate Speckman directs.

“Kimberly Akimbo” previews at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 22 and opens at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 23, followed by a post-performance reception. It continues through Feb. 8; $20, or $15 for seniors and students; madhorse.com.


The cast of Good Theater’s Regrets Only by Paul Rudnick directed by Brian P. Allen back row: Suzanne Rankin as Marietta, Paul Haley as Hank, Paul Drinan as Jack; front row: Amy Roche as Myra, Meredith Lamothe as Spencer and Laura Houck as Tibby.

The cast of Good Theater’s Regrets Only by Paul Rudnick directed by Brian P. Allen back row: Suzanne Rankin as Marietta, Paul Haley as Hank, Paul Drinan as Jack; front row: Amy Roche as Myra, Meredith Lamothe as Spencer and Laura Houck as Tibby. Courtesy of Stephen Underwood

Good Theater

Good Theater stages the comedy “Regrets Only” at the St. Lawrence Arts Center, 76 Congress St., Portland, Jan. 28 through Feb. 22. The comedy is set in an elegant New York City penthouse apartment among Manhattan’s super elite and explores love, marriage, friendships and squandered riches; $20 to $28; goodtheater.com.


Public Theatre cast members in front are Janet Mitchko as Sonia and Jonathan Hadley as Vanya. In the back are Robyne Parrish as Masha and to the right is Jarid Faubel as Spike as the cast rehearses “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.”

Public Theatre cast members in front are Janet Mitchko as Sonia and Jonathan Hadley as Vanya. In the back are Robyne Parrish as Masha and to the right is Jarid Faubel as Spike as the cast rehearses “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.”

Public Theatre

In Lewiston, the Public Theatre stages Christopher Durang’s comedy “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” Jan. 23 to Feb. 1. Winner of the 2013 Tony Award for Best Play, this comedy finds middle-aged siblings Vanya and Sonia living uneventful lives until their movie-star sister Masha returns home with her 20-something boyfriend to shake things up. Also in the mix are a wannabe actress named Nina and a housekeeper named Cassandra who sees into the future; $20; publictheatre.org.

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