Westbrook festival showcases Maine playwrights

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WESTBROOK – The play’s the thing for Maine-based playwrights whose work will take center stage in the 11th annual Maine Playwrights Festival, presented by Westbrook-based Acorn Productions.

For more than a decade, the festival has made a name for itself as a venue for playwrights from the area, putting on hundreds of productions including short plays, staged reading, and other presentations.

This year’s festival includes 10 short plays and two full-length plays selected from more than 90 submissions received during an open call in the fall of 2011. More than 50 playwrights, actors and directors are behind this year’s festival.

A new component is “Take Two,” involving 10 two-minute plays. Each play will be performed twice by the same actors, but each performance features a different interpretation of the characters’ behavior.

“This performance offers audiences a chance to see the creative process at work, and appreciate how much a director’s and the actors’ points of view can change a work of theater in its presentation,” Acorn Director Michael Levine said in a release.

The festival also includes “Write Right Wright,” a “spoken word” presentation where several of the festival’s playwrights read original works in other media, such as poetry, short stories, and essays.

The festival finishes with the 24-Hour Portland Theater Project. This is the third time the component has been a part of the festival. According to Levine, the project will feature five plays, all using the same line of dialogue, the same location and the same props.

But the plays will be written by festival playwrights the day before the performance, with no advance notice of what the parameters will be.

“At that time, the actors and directors are also randomly assigned to the playwrights, who then go off to burn the midnight oil and produce scripts that are ready to go into rehearsal the next morning,” Levine wrote.

Many of the performances will take place in Westbrook at the theater company’s location in the Dana Warp Mill on Bridge Street. Tickets vary in price.nFor more information, call Acorn Productions at 854-0065, or visit www.acorn-productions.org.

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