HERBERT TAYLOR and Ross McEwan rehearse a scene from “Stars,” part of Freeport Players’ “Can U Rel8?” production at Freeport Performing Arts Center. It opens today.

HERBERT TAYLOR and Ross McEwan rehearse a scene from “Stars,” part of Freeport Players’ “Can U Rel8?” production at Freeport Performing Arts Center. It opens today.

FREEPORT — This fall, Freeport Players will showcase what few community theaters have presented before: work entirely by Maine playwrights.

“Can U Rel8?” runs Sept. 14 to 30 at the Freeport Performing Arts Center, 30 Holbrook St. Freeport Players is a volunteer-based community theater, now in its 23rd year of entertaining audiences on stages around Freeport.

A news release describes the showcase as follows:

This collection of happy and thought-provoking short works about relationships — cleverly called “Can U Rel8?” — includes plays by Mainers John Cariani, Ray Dinsmore, Linda Britt, Cullen McGough, E.B. Coughlin and Elizabeth Guffey.

Guffey, the players’ managing/ artistic director, searched for plays that audiences would enjoy, ones with the blend of humanity and humor that Freeport Players do so well. Her first pick was “A Wish Upon A Star” by John Cariani (Tony-nominated actor and author of “Almost, Maine” and “Last Gas”), who grew up in Presque Isle. To round out the field, she selected work from Ray Dinsmore of Stonington, Linda Britt of Auburn, and Cullen McGough of Portland.

E.B. Coughlin, a 16-yearold up-and-coming playwright from Cape Elizabeth, will see her work on stage for the first time.

In a news release, Coughlin said, “‘The Way It Is’ is the first play I’ve ever written, and it’s just such an honor for it to be included in ‘Can U Rel8?’ I had no idea when I wrote it that people would respond to it as well as they have.”

The cornerstone of the showcase, “A Wish Upon A Star,” was originally written for “Almost, Maine” — which has been staged hundreds of times since its premiere at Portland Stage in 2004 — but it has never been performed publicly. It is a tender conversation between two strangers exploring what it means to really pay attention.

“Cariani has a gift for revealing the extraordinary importance of ordinary moments,” Guffey said in a news release. “That set the tone for the rest of ‘Can U Rel8?’”

Ordinary extraordinary moments may include young couples getting lifechanging news, a parent going on her first date since the divorce, or a mother and daughter simply watching a movie together. “The moments that define our relationships are as much found in what we omit, as what we share,” said Portland playwright Cullen McGough, whose “Nyafat” and other featured short comedic vignettes come from his collection “The Lies He Told Me & Other True Stories.”

Showtimes are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. There will be a pay-what-you-want preview on Thursday, Sept. 13, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 at the door and $10 in advance. Some content is not appropriate for children.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.fcponline.org.


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