by John Cariani
March 26 - April 21, 2013
A series of funny and sad love stories – some gone wrong and others gone right – exploring the complications of romance in the suburban jungle. From a bride-to-be whose literally cold feet are holding up her marriage, to a career-minded couple who forgot to have a baby, this world premiere production is a romantic comedy for imperfect lovers and dreamers. A new play from Maine playwright and award-winning actor, John Cariani, author of Last Gas and Almost, Maine. Illustration by Daniel Minter.
Running Time: Approximately 2 hours 15 minutes, including a 15 minute intermission
Portland Daily Sun
Portland Stage manages to be new and better
Published Date Wednesday, 03 April 2013
Written by Harold Withee
Often, producing a new play is more important to theaters than producing a great play and new isn't always better. I'm excited to report, Portland Stage has both.
Those of us of a certain age may remember the 1970's program, LOVE, AMERICAN STYLE. A show about relationships presented in short vignettes with changing characters and a large mix of humor. Mr. Cariani uses the same format with ten different scenes exploring the many stages of love and relationships involving four actors playing twenty characters with abundant belly laughs. Under the direction Sally Wood the evening is fast-paced, yet every nuance is explored and every character is fully developed, so developed it was hard for me to believe only four actors where involved. Patricia Buckley, Torsten Hillhouse, David Mason, and local actor Abigail Killeen weave an unforgettable tapestry of ordinary people in ordinary situations exploring the human need for love and happiness. Mr. Cariani reminds us though that in the Bill of Rights, only the pursuit of happiness, not happiness itself is a right.
Great theater is about the universality of the subject matter and the peak is reached in the scene WHERE WAS I? Every couple with children has grappled with the issues of who will be the major bread winner and who will be the prime child rearer. Should both work or is it important for one to stay at home and take on the World's most important job, raising well adjusted kids who will contribute to society. Exploring the dynamic of two people, one working outside the home the other working inside, Mr. Cariani covers much ground in a sort period of time. The questions of self and how we define ourselves, especially without a "career" and how a working parent inserts themselves into the family dynamic after a day at work is tenderly tackled. The issues and dialogue are honest, originating from love between the two parents, the fact both are women is irrelevant.
Many talented Union actors live in the greater Portland area and I applaud the local professional theaters when they cast from that pool. Buying local has deeper meaning than the local Farmer's Market. With that said, I fell in love with Abigail Killeen and her wonderful quirky, one of a kind mug, providing the cleaver bookends to this show.
Brilliant actors with a great script is a blessing, but this show is also brilliant technically as well. The designers worked closely together with color and Anita Stewart creates a wonderful set without upstaging the action. The first scene opens in a superstore aisle which is raised, like the old curtains, to reveal a turnstile stage, allowing the actors to rotate in and out of the main action. Scene changes were fast and efficient, never impeding the pace of the story.
Creating costumes for a contemporary piece may not be as exciting as period dress, but Kathleen Brown scores success with color. In SINGING TELEGRAM, a red jacket and blue dress added such vitality to the scene, again a design which enhances, not overwhelms. I also loved the backdrop of cartoonish color and design of homes, setting us in anyplace suburb USA, leaving me humming Malvina Reynold's LITTLE BOXES.
LOVE/SICK is destined to become part of the canon produced often, do yourself a favor and be part of the first audiences to experience this gem. A trip to New York is exciting, but you will not find better theater than this, just more expensive. As an eighth generation Mainer, I could not be more proud of this grassroots Maine production. Hurry, these tickets will not last long. It's still cold outside, so pamper yourself with an evening of laughs.
Runs through April 21st. Tickets: 774-0465 www.portlandstage.org
Harold Withee is a member of Actors' Equity and SAG-AFTRA
Looking for Love
In all the right vignettes of Cariani’s new play
Like both Almost, Maine and Last Gas, LOVE/SICK (starring Patricia Buckley, Torsten Hillhouse, Abigail Kileen, and David Mason) explores conflicts of love and family with a sweet and sometimes madcap comedy, a touch of allegory, and occasional resolutions of uncertainty or darkness. These stories are staged before a twilight-blue backdrop with a pearly house and lamb-like clouds, as in a children's book, and on a handsome rotating set of realistic domestic settings — an attractive living room, a bedroom, a Raymond-Carver-looking front of a track house with its scrappy rear end of an air conditioner. Between vignettes, on its way to the next scene, the set rotates past settings we have seen before or are about to, which helps this collection of stories to resonate with an interesting simultaneity, as one many-faceted whole.A man and a woman in a Walmart-type store are driven into each other's arms by their Obsessive Impulsive disorder. A man has a condition that keeps him from hearing the words "I love you" from his new lover. A woman with a wife and young child searches desperately through the garage for something she's lost — herself. These are sketches from the romantic and domestic foibles of LOVE/SICK, a series of vignettes and the latest play by John Cariani, the Maine-born author of Almost, Maine and Last Gas. It is presented in a vivid, buoyant production of Portland Stage Company, under the direction of Sally Wood.
This fine set design (Anita Stewart's) nicely echoes the nature of Cariani's storytelling: playfully whimsical, but grounded in realistic romantic worries. Love is obsessive, literally deafening, boring if sustained. Children or the prospect of them are a salvation, a weight, the subject of intractable impasse. Cariani's characters are often brainy and neurotic, obsessed with statistics and articles about marriage; they are self-conscious, defeatist romantics who are nonetheless willing to make leaps of faith.
All four of the show's fantastic ensemble actors, each of whom has previously appeared at Portland Stage, play five fairly wide-ranging characters, and they do so with aplomb and the dynamism that these stylized little stories demand. It's fun to see Mason, who has often played insecure or repressed Cariani characters, lay not just a scared, neurotic husband but also a smug, self-satisfied one, as well as a confident, forthcoming lover to Hillhouse's sweetly hesitant Jamie, who also plays a sweetly poignant singing telegram guy. Killeen's substantial comic gifts and intelligence are used well, swerving between over-the-top "obsessive impulsive" antics in the superstore to a wry wife humoring an antic husband. Buckley does some delicious work with a darkish irony; her facial expressions are priceless in a married-life sketch, as the smiles she returns to her husband over her Yale Review quietly morph into pitying, mocking boredom.
Cariani's script, which originally appeared as part of Portland Stage's Little Festival of the Unexpected, underwent collaborative revision over the course of rehearsals for this first full production: For example, the superstore setting was changed from a bar, the program notes, after it was learned that more Americans are looking for love at Walmart. Such funny-weird facts and metaphors (the wife looking for herself in boxes, another having had "sex" for lunch at the luncheon) are the sparks of the show. How they play out dramatically could still use some tightening in places: the conceits sometimes stall here and there along the way, stuck on repetition of the same sentiment or dialogue ("What's going on?" "I don't know, what is going on?") before moving on to the next turn.
LOVE/SICK portrays relationships at a range of stages and states, with both straight and gay couples (that the homosexual couples are presented without any special comment is immensely refreshing). As a result, its appeal is broad if not particularly deep. LOVE/SICK is a charmingly and entertainingly light survey of some of our deeper anxieties about love, both healthy and otherwise.
Biddeford Journal Tribune
Portland Stage is having a love affair. It’s with a Maine playwright from Presque Isle, John Cariani. His newest play LOVE/SICK, is a bittersweet valentine that is actually ten short two character plays, animated by a competent cast of four.
The young writer from the northern rim of Maine has had the good fortune of celebrating success as a television actor and as a writer of four plays. Three of those plays have been mounted by Portland Stage. Almost, Maine (2004), Last Gas (2010), and his brand new LOVE/SICK which opened last week at Portland Stage.
Cariani’s first play, Almost, Maine, has enjoyed phenomenal success and has the distinction of being a favorite choice of colleges, high schools and community theaters. Amazingly, over 600 different productions of Almost, Maine have been mounted utilizing casts as small as four and as many twenty.
With LOVE/SICK Cariani has returned to the form of his first play-a collection of short plays bundled together with a common theme. In the space of 90 minutes we are drawn into the intimate lives of lovers dealing with the hopes and travails of relationship. A diversity of tales of people falling in and out of love are explored with humor, crazy comedy, great expectation and frustrated disappointment.
During the course of the dramatic journey we encounter a bride on her wedding day locked in the bathroom sitting on the toilet in her wedding dress dreading her future and refusing to take the final step into matrimony despite the promises and encouragement of her faithful groom.
Over shopping carts two mentally bent compulsives fall instantly in love and can’t keep their hands and lips off each other despite the fact that they are in a very public place. In another tale the actuality of intimacy sets off alarm bells and a complete sensory breakdown.
Old love, new love and renewed love are all explored in this carousel of scenes.
However, at the close of Act One a riveting tale of mystery laced with humor, malevolence and a surprise ending is gleefully enacted:
A seemingly congenial quiet couple sit comfortably in matching fireside chairs reading. The tranquil duo have been married for eleven complacent months. The seemingly contented wife has come to the conclusion that she is suffering from a nagging bout of boredom. She reveals to her relaxing husband that she recently read in a medical journal the assertion that when one becomes exasperatingly bored, one can often kill the thing that they love. What follows is a conflagration of chicanery that is pure audience delight and the play’s highlight.
The surprise ending of this scene is brilliantly devised and the picture perfect ending to Act One.
A rather ingenious method of set change was devised by the Portland Stage production team. As the audience enters the theater they are confronted with a great wall of domestic appliances in a shopping warehouse. It’s actually the shopping aisle of a Walmart Superstore. Spanning across the entire front of the stage, from floor to ceiling is a neatly arranged collection of toasters, crockpots, microwave ovens and blenders. The play begins and ends here.
At the conclusion of the first scene the entire store disappears up into the rafters revealing the slowly turning exterior of a modest home complete with window box and red geraniums. The revolve continues like a silent merry-go-round swirling past one set and then another before settling in to the next scene location. It was a very effective device, a metaphor for the carousel of stories of life, love and relationships that can often leave us spinning.
Posted: March 31
Updated: Today at 7:20 AM
By Bob Keyes
Premiering at Portland Stage: That thing called love
It's intoxicating, it's infuriating, it's ever-elusive. Maine playwright John Cariani tries to pin it down with his latest, 'Love/Sick,' which is getting its world premiere at Portland Stage.
Describing his new play, John Cariani cites this quote by the French poet Antoine de Saint-Exupery: "A garden wall at home may conceal more secrets than the Great Wall of China."
Which is to say, the suburban homes that look so tidy and happy on the outside often are beset by acrimony, conflict and discord.
To put it less eloquently than the French poet, the Boston rock group J. Geils Band said it best: Love stinks.
It's at least very complicated.
Portland Stage Company gives Cariani's play "Love/Sick" its world premiere this month. It opened Friday and will play through April 21. It's a set of 10 short plays similar in format to Cariani's breakthrough work, "Almost, Maine," which also got its premiere at Portland Stage before flopping in New York on its way to becoming a worldwide theatrical phenomenon.
Like "Almost, Maine," "Love/Sick" is a romantic comedy -- only it's not all that romantic.
The Maine-bred playwright explained over breakfast at Hot Suppa in Portland.
"I was just surprised when I settled in a relationship how much you can love a person and how difficult that love can be. There is nothing better than being in a relationship, but it's hard sometimes," he said, noting that he has been with his partner, a New York City police detective, for 14 years.
"Love/Sick" is mostly about the hard times, or at least the hard work that's required to get to the good times. There are moments of happiness, and to be sure, some of the couples that Cariani portrays are very much in love for the long haul.
But true love ain't easy. The take-away from this show: Bad times get better; good times get worse.
ON STAGE AND SCREEN
Cariani, 43, is at an interesting point in his life and career. Born in Massachusetts and raised in the northern Maine town of Presque Isle, he has made his home in New York for more than a decade. By any measurement, he is successful at his craft.
As an actor, he has been nominated for a Tony Award for his portrayal of Motel the tailor in the Broadway revival of "Fiddler on the Roof," and won an Outer Critics Circle award for that role in 2004. He has appeared on numerous TV shows, including most recently the season finale of the ever-popular Showtime series "Homeland." For many years, he made regular appearances on "Law & Order" as a lab tech.
Cariani has also had minor forays in film. Last summer, he filmed a feature-length comedy, "Sleeping with the Fishes," which is in post-production and slated for release later this year.
Perhaps his best exposure currently comes in the form of a television commercial for TD Bank. He plays a frustrated customer in a cold, nameless bank who can't effectively use the courtesy pen because the chain is too short.
Cariani gobbles up commercial work when it comes his way. He treats it like grant money.
"I have to hustle to get money together so I can work on my plays," he said. "That money gives me the chance to focus on my writing and not worry about making a living so I can write."
And writing is where his heart is right now.
"Love/Sick" is Cariani's third full-length play he has worked on with Portland Stage. After "Almost, Maine" came "Last Gas," which also was set in Maine.
"Love/Sick" is not a Maine play, per se. He wrote some of these scenes for "Almost, Maine," but cut them. People who saw that play at Portland Stage in 2004 might recognize the opening scene of "Love/Sick," which finds two people who share a diagnosis of "obsessive impulsive disorder" as they meet in a big box store and fall instantly in love -- and entwined limb-to-limb on an aisle floor surrounded by coffee makers and teapots.
Another scene has a bride bowing out of a wedding while her groom pleads with her in the bathroom to follow through on her commitment. She gets cold feet, evidenced by the powder blue slippers that she has traded for her wedding shoes.
And then there's the lesbian couple struggling to find their balance between work and domestic duties. One is searching for herself among the boxes in the garage. She used to know who she was, but lost herself in their struggle to build a home and family.
The scenes are connected by the characters' common pursuit of happiness, which proves elusive.
"I had this collection of plays that were a little surreal and funny," Cariani said. "They were love stories and anti-love stories, all set in an alternate suburban reality. While 'Almost, Maine' was set in an alternate rural reality, 'Love/Sick' is set in an alternate suburban reality. It's kind of the flip-side of 'Almost, Maine.' "
If "Love/Sick" has anywhere near the success of "Almost, Maine," the show will be a hit. The latter has proven itself as an unprecedented phenomenon, said Craig Pospisil, director of non-professional rights for Dramatists Play Service, a New York-based publishing and licensing house.
"Almost, Maine" is a play about finding love in a rural community and all that it can entail. It's funny, quirky and sweet.
Since its debut at Portland Stage in 2004, the show has had more than 1,400 productions, of which 70 have been by professional theater companies. It has been translated into nine languages and played in Russian, Hungary and Germany, Pospisil said.
"We had just over 500 productions of it in the last fiscal year," he said. "That outstripped the highest that I had seen before, which had been about 440 productions. That's just phenomenal.
"Year in and year out, classics like 'Arsenic and Old Lace' and 'The Crucible' hover around the 400-production mark. That's a pretty high benchmark. For 'Almost, Maine' to have been our most-produced play for a couple of seasons in a row and hit a number like 500 is such a testament to what a chord that play has struck."
Interestingly, it bombed in New York. After Portland Stage, the show moved Off-Broadway and had a short, inglorious run and a lukewarm review in The New York Times.
If not devastated, Cariani was at least disappointed. But he licked his wounds, reasoning, "Maybe I'm not so good at this playwriting thing. Oh, well. I tried."
But a funny thing happened. "Almost, Maine" caught fire. Dramatists Play Service published the play, and it was picked up by high schools, colleges, community theaters and regional theaters across the country and eventually overseas.
"The play has a lot of heart," Pospisil said. "It's funny and it's touching. It takes audiences to a world a lot of them have not seen before, and that's important in a lot of stories -- that you take the audience somewhere new and yet make it somehow universal and familiar. That's what John has done in that play."
REFLECTING HIS ROOTS
Cariani is proud of the play, of course. He liked "Almost, Maine" when he wrote it, and thought he had hit on something that audiences would relate to. He also wasn't all that surprised that it did not do well in New York. He wrote it, in part, because he felt that most of the plays that are produced in New York do not reflect how he grew up in northern Maine.
But his northern Maine could be Anywhere, USA, that's rural, remote and rugged -- which is much of America west of the Hudson River.
"I want people from Maine to know that it didn't do well in New York (but) people from other parts of the country would seem fascinated by the place. It was not just a cute little play that did well at Portland Stage," he said.
He also got some sweet revenge. While the Times barely blinked when "Almost, Maine" opened in New York, the paper just gave it a very good review for a recent production in Hartford.
"That's crazy," Cariani said, noting the irony of the conflicting reviews seven years apart in the same esteemed newspaper. "It was neat to feel like a failure -- and then not."
'ALMOST' A MOVIE
One more note about "Almost, Maine." Cariani said it is being readied for a movie production, most likely to be shot in 2014 in upstate New York.
He had hoped to shoot in Maine, but the financing and tax incentives offered by the state of New York are enticing, he said. "It's tough to make a movie in Maine," he said.
He's trying to recruit actress and former Portland resident Anna Kendrick for the film.
The fate of Cariani's other play, "Last Gas," evolves. It will get a professional production at Geva Theatre in Rochester, N.Y., next winter, and is slated for an Off-Broadway opening in 2014 as well.
Among the companies that have produced "Last Gas" is Opera House Arts at the Stonington Opera House in Deer Isle. Cariani has an association with Stonington, as well as Portland. Several winters in a row, he has led writing workshops in the community. This year, he worked with high school students.
Cariani is an influential role model, not just for Stonington but for the state as a whole, said Linda Nelson, Opera House Arts' executive director.
"It's important that people of all ages can see what it means to come from Maine and come from a very rural place and make a living in the arts," she said.
Most important, Nelson added, Cariani has not forgotten his roots. He celebrates them in his work and with his actions.
"He's committed to the state of Maine and committed to high-quality art that reflects what happens in rural places and not just New York," Nelson said. "There's not enough drama on stage that reflects Maine experiences and rural voices. John's work does that."
Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or: email@example.com
Play takes witty look at relationships
By APRIL BOYLE
John Cariani endearingly tackles the up and downs of relationships with the world premiere of his latest play, "Love/Sick." And it was love at first sight for the Portland Stage audience Friday night.
The play stars Patricia Buckley, Torsten Hillhouse, Abigail Killeen and Dave Mason as 20 characters, in 10 vignettes. Each tells the story of a couple at a turning point in their relationship.
It doesn't matter if you're married, in a committed relationship or single, you know the challenges that couples face in today's society. No relationship is without it flaws. And the notion of happily ever after is all too often just a fairy tale. As Roger (Mason) points out in "Forgot," "We don't get to be happy. We only get to pursue."
That's not to say the "pursuit" isn't well worth the chase. At the very least, it's entertaining, particularly when recounted by Cariani.
The playwright has a knack for writing well-crafted, witty stories, with characters and issues that are easy to identify with. We've all lived the story of at least one of his characters.
"Love/Sick" is chock-full of smart dialogue. And the play is craftily cohesive, despite being 10 seemingly separate stories.
The play was strong from the get-go Friday. It was impossible to resist the allure of "Obsessive Impulsive." Laughter filled the theater as two strangers (Mason and Killeen) diagnosed with the disorder unsuccessfully fought the urge to act upon an instantaneous attraction to each other in the home goods aisle of the local Super Center.
The vignette required Mason and Killeen to deliver the dialogue almost entirely in sync. They never missed a beat.
Each of the 10 shorts highlights a different relationship issue, with couples from a variety of walks of life.
In Act One, there's the bride who literally has cold feet in "The Answer." Jamie (Hillhouse) must take "incremental steps to joy" in his relationship with Alex (Mason), or amusingly suffers sensory malfunction.
In "Uh Oh," a bored wife, Mary (Buckley), questions the longevity of her and Bill's (Mason) wedding vows with the ridiculous assertion, "If I killed you, that's as sick as it gets. Would you still stay with me?"
Act Two finds Kelly (Killeen) telling her husband, Mark (Hillhouse), that she had "sex for lunch" in "Lunch and Dinner." Sam (Killeen), who's raising two children with her partner, Jo (Buckley), attempts to "find herself" in a stack of storage boxes. And Kevin (Mason), disillusioned with marriage in "Chicken," tells Meg (Killeen), "Beige is not the color I wanted my life to be."
"Destiny" artfully brings the play full circle, tying the vignettes together.
Even when the themes were poignant Friday, Cariani's quirky comedic style kept the laughter flowing. Buckley, Hillhouse, Killeen and Mason added to the fun with ad-libbed lines that clearly delighted them, as well as the audience. And all brought something new to the different stories, transforming their personalities with each couple.
A clever, revolving set by Artistic Director Anita Stewart was the final touch.
Being a world premiere, "Love/Sick" is bound to undergo tweaks, changes and additions throughout its four-week run at Portland Stage. If it was this charming on opening night, it's going to be absolutely irresistible by the time it closes, even for those not suffering from an "obsessive impulsive" disorder.
April Boyle is a freelance writer from Casco. She can be contacted at:
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT
John Cariani is an actor and a playwright. As an actor he has appeared on and off Broadway, and in several films and television shows. As a playwright, he is best known for his first play, Almost, Maine, which premiered at Portland Stage in 2004, opened Off-Broadway in 2006, and has since become one of the most frequently produced plays in the country. His play Last Gas, premiered at Portland Stage in 2010, and will be making its way Off-Broadway soon. Many thanks to everyone at Portland Stage for taking a chance on LOVE/SICK, and especially to Dan, Aislinn, and Ben (dramaturgs extraordinaire); to Janice, Bess, Peter, Matt, Rob, Dusty, Tess, Abbie, Pat, Dave and Tor (actors extraordinaire); and to Anita for giving my plays a home.
ABOUT THE CAST
Patricia Buckley (Louise, Mary, Jo, Jill & Emily) Off-Broadway: Evolution, (Cherry Lane Mentor Project 2012 and 59e59 Theaters); Flesh and Blood (New York Theater Workshop); Scenes from an Execution (Potomac Theater Project); Hitting The Wall (SPF, Clurman Theatre); Those Who Can, Do (Clubbed Thumb); Moliere's Shorts (Actors Shakespeare Company). International: Gams On The Lam Performance Company (US, Mexico, and Europe); K de Calle (Spain). Regional: Lost in Yonkers (Papermill Playhouse/Cleveland Playhouse/Jupiter Maltz Theater); A Christmas Carol, Out of Sterno, Much Ado About Nothing (Portland Stage); The Heidi Chronicles (Berkshire Theater Festival); Twelfth Night, The Three Musketeers (Theater de la Jeune Lune); Yangs Zen Frogs (LaJolla Playhouse); Lost in Yonkers (Coconut Grove Playhouse, Walnut Street Theatre). Film and Television: Law and Order (NBC); Kabluey (Sony - 2008 Release); Death of a President (Channel 4/Film 4);Anna Is Being Stalked; The Delicious (Sundance Festival).
Torsten Hillhouse (Singing Telegram Man, Jamie, Tim, Mark & Jake) LOVE/SICK marks Tor's fourth time working at Portland Stage, having appeared in The 39 Steps, Out of Sterno, and Christmas Carol. Other productions include: (NYC) The Polish Play (off-Broadway), The Odyssey (off-Broadway), Tender (Thirteenth Night), As You Like It and The Recruiting Officer (NY Classical Theatre), WTC View (59E.59th). Regional credits: Pericles and Is He Dead? (Theatre at Monmouth), Doubt (Capital Repertory), Snow in June and A Midsummer Night's Dream (ART), Billy Hell and Life is a Dream (Creede Repertory), Around the World in 80 Days (Cape Fear Regional Theatre), Much Ado About Nothing and Elizabeth Rex (Stonington Opera House), The Lion in Winter (Commonweal), Three Sisters (Moscow Art Theatre), Cinzano (Edinburgh Fringe Festival). Film: Adam and Where God Left His Shoes. Television: Law and Order, Law and Order SVU, As the World Turns. MFA from ART/M.X.A.T. at Harvard University. Born and bred in Colorado, but currently living and working in NYC. Thrilled and thankful to be back at Portland Stage working with this great team.
Abigail Killeen (Woman, Celia, Kelly, Meg & Sam) A happy New York transplant! Portland credits include: A Christmas Carol at Portland Stage, two Northeast premieres at the Good Theater, and two seasons of summer Shakespeare with the Fenix Theatre Company. Off-Broadway and regional credits: New York Theatre Workshop, Naked Angels, Hudson Stage, the Arden Theater Company in Philadelphia and six seasons with Connecticut Free Shakespeare where she was a founding member. Original theatrical collaborations include an adaptation of Isak Dinesen's Babette's Feast and Ordinary Mind/Ordinary Day based on three short stories by Virginia Woolf. Babette's Feast premiered in New York in 2010, produced by the International Arts Movement. Ordinary Mind/Ordinary Day premiered in Boston with the Brandeis Theater Company in 2011. Abigail is an Affiliate Artist at Portland Stage and an Assistant Professor of Theater at Bowdoin College.
Dave Mason (Man, Alex, Bill, Kevin & Roger) is delighted to be back at Portland Stage. Previous Portland Stage credits: Last Gas, Trouble Is My Business. Other regional credits include: the recent American premiere of a new adaptation of Tennessee Williams' Period of Adjustment at TheatreSquared in Arkansas; Almost, Maine (Geva Theatre Center/Syracuse Stage); The Quality of Life, Dinner With Friends, Intimate Apparel, To Forgive is Divine, Arcadia, Arsenic and Old Lace, Kimberly Akimbo, Sight Unseen, The Underpants, Lobby Hero, The Boys Next Door, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, An Inspector Calls, The Big Apple, and All in the Timing (New Century Theatre); The Last Mass at St. Casmir's, Almost, Maine, Around the World in 80 Days, The Book Club Play(The Public Theatre); The 39 Steps, Enchanted April, It's a Wonderful Life, Lumberjacks in Love (Majestic Theater); Jerry Finnegan's Sister (Mt. Holyoke Summer Theatre, Foothills Theatre). Recent NYC credits include: The Three Hagi Sisters (The Japan Society); Sky (Impact Theatre Festival); Two Rooms (Red Fern Theatre); Barbara Bush Never Slept Here (Circle East); Kalighat (Circle East); New York (Ensemble Studio Theatre, Civilian Studios); Mae and Her Stories (Primary Stages); The Breaking Light (Present Company); This Will be the Death of Him (NativeAliens). FILM/TV: House of Cards, All My Children, Writer's Block, Carson's Place, The Good Life.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION TEAM
Sally Wood (Director) is thrilled to be working with John Cariani again. Sally has worked all over Portland as an actor, fight choreographer, teaching artist and director. She has worked at various theaters both regionally and abroad. In Maine, Sally has directed with AIRE Theater, The University of New England, The Theater at Monmouth and the Fenix Theatre Company. No stranger to PSC, Sally has directed Doubt, The Gin Game, Hidden Tennessee, The Drawer Boy, and John Cariani's Last Gas. Thanks to everyone who has ever broken my heart and especailly the ones who have mended it.
Anita Stewart (Set Designer) has worked as a set and costume designer at leading theaters across the country, including: The Guthrie, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Canadian Opera Company, Minnesota Opera, A.R.T., Steppenwolf, Hartford Stage, Dallas Theater Center, Long Wharf Theatre, New York Theater Workshop, Boise Contemporary Theater, New Jersey Shakespeare, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Portland Stage. Anita's desire to play a meaningful role as an artist in a specific community brought her to Portland Stage in Maine as Artistic Director, a company for which she had previously done significant freelance design. In her current role as Executive & Artistic Director, Anita continues to design sets every season. She is thrilled to be working on this collaboration with Berkshire Theatre Festival and Merrimack Repertory Theatre.
Kathleen Brown (Costume Designer) Kathleen is honored to once again be part of the Portland Stage creative team for LOVE/SICK. Her costume designs have previously appeared at Portland Stage for the productions of Hidden Tennessee, God of Carnage, Syncopation and Over the Tavern. Kathleen has been designing costumes for the School of Performing Arts at the University of Maine at Orono for 4 years, where she also acts as Adjunct Faculty. Other design credits include: The Public Theatre, Bates College Theater, Colby College Theater, Northport Music Theater, The Huntington Theatre Company, the Lyric Stage Company, and the N.J. Shakespeare Company. She holds a BFA in Theatrical Design from Ithaca College. Kathleen also works as the Administrative Assistant for the Camden International Film Festival, and as an Office Assistant for the Camden Conference. She lives in Camden with her husband and two teenage sons, and would like to thank them for their love, support and patience.
Bryon Winn (Lighting Designer) is delighted to be returning to Portland Stage for his 15th season. He has designed over 30 productions for Portland Stage. His design work has also been seen at Florida Studio Theater, Trinity Rep, Theatre de la Jeune Lune, Axis Theatre, Intersection for the Arts, Miranda Theatre Company, Utah Musical Theatre, Middlebury College, Cornell College, Riverside Theatre and Iowa Summer Rep. Bryon serves as the Director of Theatre at the University of Iowa and is a member of United Scenic Artist 829.
Julian Fleisher (Composer) is a performer, writer, producer, and composer who performs widely with his Rather Big Band. He's collaborated with Jennifer Holiday, Ana Gasteyer, Molly Ringwald, Kiki & Herb, Nellie McKay, and Martha Plimpton, among others. Acting credits include originating principle roles in February House at The Public Theater, Coraline at MCC and American Mouth. He composed the original music for The Performers on Broadway and John Cariani's Almost, Maine and Last Gas, as well as many other compositions for theater, movies and television, including the Portland Stage production of Rough Crossing. A published author, whose books include "The Drag Queens of New York: An Illustrated Field Guide," (Riverhead); Julian's second studio album, Finally, will be available this spring; and he is writing the songs for Measure of Success, a new musical. More information available at www.julianfleisher.com and on Twitter @JulianFlei
Chris Fitze (Sound Designer) is very excited to not only be back at Portland Stage after a few year's hiatus, but also to be working with the amazing John Cariani again! Chris has designed sound for many shows around Maine and the mid-west. He is resident Sound Designer for the Dramatic Repertory Company in Portland, and recently designed sound for Bess Weldon's Big Mouth Thunder Thighs. He is also Technical Director for Morse High School in Bath. He works for the Children's Museum & Theatre of Maine, and has been an actor with several improv troupes. He sends his love to his family.
Shane Van Vliet (Stage Manager) is thrilled to be in her fifth season at Portland Stage. Some of her other credits include stage managing with; The Berkshire Theater Group, The Theater at Monmouth, national and international tours with Jean Ann Ryan Productions, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Two Beans Productions, Theaterworks and The Radio City Rockettes. She has worked on numerous productions in New York with Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, Turtleshell Productions, T. Shcreiber Studios and The New York Fringe Festival as well as The Washington D.C. Fringe Festival and in her spare time, she Production Manages at The Altman Building, in New York City.