Too Strange to Live, Too Weird to Die - A Staged Reading Series presents

The Zero Hour

Playwright Madeleine George

Dates Saturday, June 11 • 7:30 pm

$10 online $15 at the door

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About the Play

Too Strange to Live, Too Weird to Die is back!
This reading series, curated by Literary Manager Todd Brian Backus, features beautiful and bizarre plays that stretch the limits of the theatrical imagination.

“They want me to put word scrambles in the Auschwitz Unit…” Things are starting to unravel for Rebecca and her chronically unemployed butch girlfriend, O. Rebecca’s work starts bleeding into her personal life as she starts meeting World War II Nazis on the 7 train, passing as hipsters. While O is also sparring with visions of her long estranged—and recently dead?—mother to argue with her about her choices. This almost-love story explores the relationship between honesty and cruelty: How do you tell the truth about yourself when that truth might devastate the people you love? A tour-de-force for two actors playing eight different roles.

Funded in part by a grant from
the Maine Arts Commission.

Featuring: Catherine Buxton and Lauren Stockless.

About the Playwright

Madeleine George (Playwright) Madeleine George’s plays include Hurricane Diane (Obie Award), The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence (Pulitzer Prize finalist; Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award), Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England (Susan Smith Blackburn finalist), Precious Little, and The Zero Hour (Jane Chambers Award, Lambda Literary Award finalist). Honors include a Whiting Award, the Princess Grace Award, and a Lilly Award.

Madeleine’s translation of Chekhov’s Three Sisters is set to premiere at Two River Theater in 2022, and her audio adaptation of Alison Bechdel’s comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For is forthcoming from Audible Originals. Madeleine is a founding member of the Obie-Award-winning playwrights’ collective 13P (, the Mellon Playwright in Residence at Two River Theater, and a writer on the Hulu mystery-comedy Only Murders in the Building. Since 2006, she has worked with the Bard Prison Initiative at Bard College, where she currently serves as Director of Admissions.

Cast and Creative Team

Meet the Directors and the Cast

Todd Brian Backus

Todd Brian Backus (Director)  is a new works director, dramaturg, illustrator, and literary manager based in Portland, Maine. He likes to work on “weird theatre” by which he means: Sci-fi plays about absentee voting, Chekhovian cavemen plays, time-traveling gentrification musicals for kids, and plays that combine poetry, swordplay, and ghosts. He’s hoping this series will get more people interested in plays outside the living room. Todd is a co-producer of Dungeons + Drama Nerds, a podcast that explores the intersection of theatre and tabletop roleplaying games, a co-founder and Artistic Producer with PowerOut, and a co-founder and producer of Hot Pepper Theater. Find him just about everywhere @tbbackus. 


Meredith Healy

Meredith G. Healy (Assistant Director)

Bio coming soon.




Catherine Buxton

Catherine Buxton (Rebecca)  is a theatre artist based in Portland, Maine. They have performed at Portland Stage and other theatres, schools, and abandoned buildings across New England. Their next project will be a performance art piece about the Windows 95 operating system, which you can experience at the PortFringe Festival next week.


Lauren Stockless (O) is excited to be a part of this reading! She graduated from Colby College with a BA in Theatre & Dance/English Literature, and then earned a MSc in Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Edinburgh. Some past favorite shows include: Lungs (Asst.Director, DRC), You Got Older (Jenny, Mad Horse), The Flick (Asst.Director, DRC), Life Sucks (Stage Manager, Mad Horse), Twelfth Night (Director, Edinburgh University Shakespeare Company)

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