Tag Archives: theatre

Stage Names: Portland Stage tackles race and more in ‘The Niceties’

PORTLAND – When I was a young boy, I used to spend my summers in a remote Greek farming village, helping my great aunt Nike harvest acres of vegetable crops and groves of olive trees. At night, exhausted, I slept under the stars on a blanket-covered flat stand on her front porch. During my first […]

Stage Names: Portland Stage’s ‘Red Herring’ a welcome antidote to the season

PORTLAND – I’m convinced that Portland Stage’s executive and artistic director Anita Stewart is a very funny lady. Not that Stewart isn’t dead serious, and professional about her job and about bringing high quality theatre to Portland Stage’s audiences. I’ve seen her intensity at work first hand. But every year when the company’s season is […]

Stage Names: “It’s a Wonderful Life” at Portland Stage a last minute present for the family

PORTLAND – As a boy, my eyes always misted up at the end of Frank Capra’s 1946 silver screen Christmas classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” So when I recently took in Portland Stage’s 2017 rendition of Joe Landry’s well-regarded 1996 stage version – which I never before had seen – the jaded journalist in me almost […]

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: 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 […]

Stage Names: Portland Stage sees “Red”; so should you.

PORTLAND — My artist friends often express surprise when they learn that once, in what now seems like another lifetime, I was a soldier. My response to this reaction is always the same: “Soldiers and artists might just be the last true romantics left; they have far more in common than what’s on the surface.” While […]

Stage Names: “Whipping” up race, religion and the Civil War at Portland Stage

PORTLAND – The beauty of reviewing the same play two years apart in another state performed by a different Equity company is how the one work can be, well, different — even if its earlier version mirrors it. And so with the 150th anniversary of Lee’s surrender to Grant at Appomattox Courthouse just weeks away, our ongoing American reflection of race, culture, religion, and war can […]

Stage Names: Want to understand the Cold War? Portland Stage’s “Havana” can help

PORTLAND – The title of this review is as ludicrous as some of the situations in which Graham Greene put his characters in the 1958 “entertainment,” “Our Man in Havana,” one of his frivolous works surrounded by serious novels that secured his legacy as a legend of 20th century letters. But with President Obama having just announced a move to normalize relations […]