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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: October 31, 2017

‘Wit & Wisdom,’ ‘An Inspector Calls’ on stage in Portland

Written by: Bob Keyes
James Noel Hoban (Inspector Goole) and Tony Reilly (Arthur) n Good Theater's production of J. B. Priestley's Tony Award winning An Inspector Calls through November 26. Photo by Stephen Underwood/Courtesy of Good Theater

James Noel Hoban (Inspector Goole) and Tony Reilly (Arthur) in Good Theater’s production of J. B. Priestley’s Tony Award winning An Inspector Calls through November 26.
Photo by Stephen Underwood/Courtesy of Good Theater

Portland Stage will host a reading of the play “Wit & Wisdom” on Monday night, with performances by some of Maine’s best known actors and writers. Among those reading the play will be writer Monica Wood, playwright Callie Kimball and actors Maureen Butler, Moira Driscoll, Andrew Harris, Abigail Killeen and Daniel Noel.

“Wit & Wisdom” deals with the outrage and amazement of aging and involves a series of excerpts from writings by Thomas Carlyle, Langston Hughes, William Carlos Williams, Bertrand Russell, Dorothy Parker and Tennessee Williams, among others.

The reading coincides with the mainstage production of “Complications from a Fall,” a drama about the memories we keep and those we forget.

“This is part of Portland Stage’s efforts to engage our audiences more deeply with the themes and issues in some of our plays,” said the theater’s marketing director, Eileen Phelan, who is directing “Wit & Wisdom.”

Phelan was involved with the New York production of “Wit & Wisdom” and suggested it to the theater’s artistic and executive director Anita Stewart. “I knew it would be a great fit to produce as staged reading in conjunction with ‘Complications,'” she said.

It was compiled by the writers Vivian Gornick and Nora Eisenberg. Gornick will travel from New York to attend the reading on Monday night.

“Wit & Wisdom,” 7 p.m. Monday, Portland Stage, 25A Forest Ave. $10 in advance, $15 at the door; portlandstage.org, 774-0465.

GOOD THEATER CONTINUES its 16th season with “An Inspector Calls,” a celebrated play in the history of theater, now up through Nov. 26 at the St. Lawrence Arts Center, 76 Congress St., Portland.

It is set in 1912 in the home of a wealthy English family that is celebrating the engagement of a daughter. The celebration goes south when the police arrive to investigate a death.

It stars Thomas Ian Campbell, James Noel Hoban, Christopher Holt, Heather Elizabeth Irish, Meredith Lamothe, Tony Reilly and Amy Roche. Brian P. Allen, Good Theater’s executive and artistic director and show director, calls it “a ‘Downton Abbey’ whodunnit” that breaks down the barriers of class, money and politics while reminding the audience of the importance of treating people well.

It premiered in the Soviet Union in 1945, opened in London in 1946 and on Broadway in 1947. It has been produced for TV, made into a movie and undergone several revivals. Its staying power has been attributed to its critique of the upper class.

“An Inspector Calls,” through Nov. 26, St. Lawrence Arts Center, 76 Congress St., Portland. 7 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 7:30 p.m. Friday, 3 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, $25 to $32. goodtheater.com, 835-0895.

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