Tag Archives: Maine

Ethnically labeled

A while ago, some old friends visited from out of town – their first time in New England. My mother, who was also visiting, doted on them with her old-country Greek hospitality, as she does on anyone spending an overnight. Today, she speaks fondly of their visit, always referring to them as “Gregory and Victoria, those […]

Stage Names: Portland Stage’s “Arsenic” poisons winter doldrums with infinite laughter

PORTLAND — When I was in college in upstate NY, the period immediately following Christmas break was affectionately known on campus as “the gray season.” January and February were cold and depressing. Fast forward to today. In northern New England, not much has changed during a time of year that still sees a peak of […]

Stage Names: At Portland Stage, “Later Life” urges us to live, and wonder.

It may have taken legendary American playwright A.R. Gurney (a.k.a. “Pete”) into his fifties to overcome critical and audience bias against his so-called “WASP culture” characters and storylines, but it won’t take any audience member of “Later Life”—one of Gurney’s masterpieces now playing at Portland Stage Company— more than a few minutes to appreciate the inherent […]

Would you let partisan politics ruin your family?

  In my summer travels and writings, I recently had an opportunity to see the play “The City of Conversation,” by Anthony Giardina. The play is about family and politics, and how the latter could affect the former. In short, and without diving into the work itself too much, the play is about two strong women, […]

My Father’s Day

On Pearl Harbor Day, 1996, I came home early from work, and within minutes of walking in the door, my sister called with news of our father’s death. After hanging up, the poet Robert Lowell came to mind. A New Englander who spent his life at odds with an old-school father, Lowell once wrote: I struck […]

Her eternal search for E.E. Cummings

  I‘ve made the pilgrimage before, even in the rain. Early one morning, under a misting sky, I drove down to Boston – specifically, to Jamaica Plain. My last visit had been years before, yet I followed the course by memory. Urban landscapes can change in 35 years, but finding Forest Hills Cemetery is never […]

Stage Names: Portland Stage finds more than just a Lost Boy

Sitting in the shadows during a weekend performance of Portland Stage’s “Lost Boy in Whole Foods,” the poet E.E. Cummings haunted me: a man who had fallen among thieves lay by the roadside on his back dressed in fifteenthrate ideas wearing a round jeer for a hat   fate per a somewhat more than less emancipated evening had […]

A hotel room for Christmas

  My best Christmas was spent in a hotel room, and I have the candy jar to prove it. Filled to capacity with old, inexpensive holiday ornaments, it sits at home on a bookshelf and collects dust, yet remains a treasured possession. In the early 1990s, I used to make monthly pilgrimages to Iowa to […]

Stage Names: What Martin Luther King, Jr. tells us from Portland Stage

PORTLAND – About halfway through Portland Stage’s current production,  “The Mountaintop,” a fictional, near-fantasy account by Katori Hall of the last night of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life in a Memphis motel room, I heard the echo of Greek novelist Nikos Kazantzakis (1883-1957) : “This is not a biography; is the confession of every man who struggles.” Those words, […]

Patti Stevens found suicide in the realm of tortured souls

The recent tragic case of Patti Stevens, the Dallas, Texas area woman who took her own life on Oct. 25 in the wake of her husband Dave’s brutal murder by schizophrenic former Texas A&M football player Thomas Johnson, once again brought the scourge of suicide to the national spotlight. Indeed, in an eerie parallel to Andy Warhol’s  alleged “15 […]