Eastport may be small, but its lively arts scene includes the Stage East company, with some rather lively programming.
At the moment, for example, they’re preparing a world-premiere musical for performances next month.
It’s the kind of place where you quickly get to know half of the town, too, so I wasn’t surprised to get an email from the director Thursday morning, even if its contents were unexpected. Could I participate in a play reading that evening and the next two nights?
An original work, the winner of the company’s inaugural playwriting competition?
I’d never done anything like that before, but in a pitch-in kind of community like ours, you learn to step up when asked, and so I replied fine. Honestly, I felt honored, and it couldn’t be too different from a poetry reading, right?
The initial reading was fun, both times through the one-act play. Better yet, my part was the shortest of the four and the least complicated. And then I learned we’d be doing it in front of a live audience the next night, meaning last night, and again tonight.
The playwright is Wilder Fray Short, a Bowdoin College senior and soccer fan, and the one-act play is In the 45th, about sibling rivalry and a lot more.
The competition, open to young full-time Maine residents and including a week-long residency and $1,000 prize, itself honors the late Jay Skriletz, the company founder, prolific playwright, and believer in social change.
To which I’ll add, it was an amazing experience and if you’re anywhere nearby, show up tonight!