Portland is filled with creative theater folks who aren’t satisfied with putting on another revival of “Our Town” just to draw audiences.
And that’s why, in a nutshell, the PortFringe festival was created last year.
For its second go-round, the cutting-edge theater festival will include more than 45 not-the-usual-suspect productions, ranging from original musicals, one-person plays and puppet shows to burlesque, experimental work and collaborations with filmmakers. The festival kicks into high gear on Thursday, and runs at four Portland venues through Sunday.
“It’s a chance for people to try out new works, step outside their comfort zones and collaborate with artists across mediums,” said Deirdre Fulton, a volunteer organizer of PortFringe. “Most importantly, PortFringe is becoming an annual celebration of Maine’s vibrant and fun-loving theater community.”
Consider some of the offerings on the PortFringe schedule:
• “The Mechanical: An Original Musical” — 10 p.m. Thursday, Space Gallery. A musical by Marcus Bagala about a “humanoid robot” living on Earth after all other life has been wiped out.
• “The Boys of Beast: A Tribute to the Beastie Boys” — 11 p.m. Friday, Space Gallery. Created by Erin Enberg, this piece features passages from an unofficial Beastie Boys biography performed by the actors. Characters include Run-DMC and the Beastie Boys’ wives.
• “The Show” — 7 p.m. Sunday, Geno’s Rock Club. Presented by Cast Aside Theatrical, this is an interactive game show in the style of “The Price is Right,” but without Bob Barker. Audience members can win cash while watching a live show. Talk about “enriching” theater.
• “Spandex Diaries: My Stretchy Truths” — 11 p.m. Saturday, Geno’s Rock Club. Michael Wood performs a combination of stand-up comedy, improv and cabaret drag about living in a digital, Facebook-centric world.
• “Handbook for the Chronically Single” — 1 p.m. Sunday, Portland Stage Company Storefront. Presented by Randy Ross, this work is about a single guy who takes a trip around the world looking for love. Two of the segments about love gone wrong are called “Domination for Dummies” and “The Panty Whisperer.”
The festival also has a sort of fringe ticket policy — rush seating. You can buy a ticket to one show, but you can’t buy a ticket to a specific show. Everything is first-come, first-served.
Which means you might have to pick a second-choice performance, and you might end up going to something you would not have normally gone to.
Which is good, if you’re trying to open up your mind to new things.
Things on the fringe.
Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at: