Freeport theater groups offer residents plays for all ages

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FREEPORT — Whether it’s a play about a boy who never grew up or an axe-wielding woodsman, residents have two performances to look forward to in the coming months.

Freeport Family Performing Arts will present a non-musical version of “Peter Pan” and Figures of Speech Theatre will present a musical, humorous rendition of the story of Paul Bunyon.

The Figures of Speech Student Ensemble is an after-school program for Freeport High School students led by Ian Bannon, the theater company’s director of education, and its founders, Carrol and John Farrell.

Like many FOS performances, there will be multimedia elements. But Carroll Farrell said this play will make use of a different size scale.

“There are shadow puppets and other forms of mixed media, but instead of creating large puppets, we use tiny figurines to show Paul Bunyon as a giant,” she said. “We use pretty simple costumes this time. It’s less about the elaborate and more about the actors and making it fun.”

Bannon said musician Tim Findlen has been working with the students to teach them sound effects, how to play old-time musical instruments and to perform vaudeville style comedy. Findlen studied Maine humor at Goddard College and brings a wacky energy to the composition, Bannon said.

Besides the size scale, the ensemble will tour for the first time. There will be performances in Freeport, Portland, Westbrook and on Peaks Island.

Junior David Vitali plays Paul Bunyon. He said he is excited to take the performance on the road.

“Traveling will give the performance another aspect, something different each time,” he said. “I’m excited about it and everyone else should be too. It’s worth it.”

The performances will be held on Friday, Jan. 28, at 7:30 p.m. at Mast Landing Elementary School, 116 Bow St., Freeport; Sunday, Jan. 30, at 7:30 p.m. on the Lucid Stage, 29 Baxter Boulevard, Portland; Friday, Feb. 4, at 7:30 p.m. at the Warren Memorial Library, 479 Main St., Westbrook, and Sunday, Feb. 6, at 1 p.m. at Peaks Island School, 4 Church Ave., Peaks Island. Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for students and seniors, except the show on Peaks Island, which is free.

The Freeport Family Performance Arts group will hold auditions for “Peter Pan,” a non-musical variation of the play, on Sunday, Feb. 13, from noon to 4 p.m. and Monday, Feb. 14, from 6:30-9 p.m. The auditions will take place at the Freeport Performing Arts Center, 30 Holbrook St.

Director Tim Ryan encouraged anyone interested to audition.

“I was encouraged to audition for a play when I was 30 and doing so changed my life,” he said. “Now, I want to open the door for other people.”

He said the nonprofit theater group is funded in part by a grant from the L.L. Bean Aspirations group. It’s goal is to give any interested resident an opportunity to participate in theater.

“We want to bring the performing arts to Freeport and the surrounding community,” he said. “Anyone who wants to participate should be able to.”

Auditions are for ages 7 to adult, and Ryan said he hopes entire families will audition for the play.

“Everyone is welcome,” he said. “I’ll make it work.”

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or [email protected]

Sidebar Elements

High school junior David Vitali plays Paul Bunyan in a performance by Figures of Speech. The play will tour from Freeport to Portland, Westbrook and Peaks Island starting Friday, Jan. 28.