We’ve all heard of the Buy Local retail campaign.

Mad Horse Theatre Company is pushing “By Local,” a series of new plays by local writers. This weekend, Mad Horse presents a staged reading of Portland writer Monica Wood’s latest play, “Papermaker.”

Saturday’s staged reading eases us into a busy first weekend of the new year in the fine arts. It’s also a First Friday Art Walk week, with notable photo shows at both the Portland Public Library and the Portland Museum of Art, and an exhibition of multimedia sculpture and prints at the Maine Jewish Museum.

Here are the details:


The rescheduled staged reading of “Papermaker” will be 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Mad Horse performance space at the Hutchins School, 24 Mosher St., South Portland. Admission is $10.

A first reading, in December, drew a full house. This one was postponed because of a winter storm.

Dan Burson directs a cast that includes Tootie Van Reenen, James Herrera, Erik Moody, Christine Louise Marshall, Brent Askari and Casey Turner.

Based on Wood’s novel “Ernie’s Ark,” this play pits a mill worker against a mill owner in Abbott Falls, Maine. The audience sees the labor-management conflict told in terms of fatherhood, family and the notion of a worthwhile life.

“Like all my work, ‘Papermaker’ is about family dynamics,” Wood said in an email. “Ernie Maguire is a striking papermaker with a dying wife and troubled son; Henry McCoy is the mill CEO, trying to avoid his emotionally fragile daughter. The two families’ lives collide against the backdrop of a bitter labor strike.”

A staged reading gives playwrights the chance to present plays in front of an audience with a cast of actors. A discussion will follow the reading, affording the playwright an opportunity to make changes based on audience feedback.

“The pleasure of playwriting is the very thing that terrified me most – airing my drafts in public, ceding control of my hard-won words to a director and actors who transform static pages into a living, changing wonder,” Wood wrote. “It’s been enthralling. After 20 years typing alone in a room, I feel like a mole in a hole blinking into the sunlight. It’s painful but warming.”

The post-holiday Portland theater scene resumes activity later in January, with “Words By: Ira Gershwin and the Great American Songbook” at Portland Stage Company, opening Jan. 21; and “Becky’s New Car,” a new American comedy presented by Good Theater at the St. Lawrence Art Center, opening Jan. 29.


Greater Portland Landmarks begins a 50-year celebration with “Images of Change: Greater Portland’s Cityscape Since 1960.” The collected images of more than 40 photographers working in Portland, some since the 1960s, illustrate how Portland’s built environment has changed over the past half-century, and how historic preservation efforts have shaped the city’s appearance and character.

Photographers submitted nearly 250 photos for consideration. A panel of three judged the submissions and made the final selections: state historian Earle Shettleworth and contemporary art curators Bruce Brown and Susan Danly.

They selected 72 photos by 44 artists. In addition, photos of five historical buildings from the 1960s and ’70s also are included.

The show kicks off a yearlong effort by Greater Portland Landmarks to raise awareness about the role of historic preservation in Portland and its link to quality of life, community sustainability and economic vitality, said Hilary Bassett, the organization’s executive director.

The show is on view through Feb. 28 in the library’s first-floor Lewis Gallery.


Up the street, the Portland Museum of Art recently opened “American Vision: Photographs from the Collection of Owen and Anna Wells.” The exhibition includes about 40 images that are part of a recent gift from a Maine family with deep ties to the Maine art world and a long history of giving to the Portland Museum of Art.

This collection represents many highlights of 20th-century American photography, with an emphasis on photographers working in Maine, including Paul Caponigro, Berenice Abbott, William Wegman and Eliot Porter.

The collection includes landscapes, portraits, documentary work and abstraction, in color and black and white.

It is on view through Feb. 23.


At the Maine Jewish Museum, 267 Congress St., curator Nancy Davidson has brought together prints and sculpture by multimedia artist Deborah Klotz in an exhibition titled “Traces.” Klotz teaches three-dimensional art and sculpture at Massachusetts College of Art and Southern Maine Community College. She works with glass, paper, wire, iron and other materials, exploring relationships among materials and the process of object-making.

The show is on view through Feb. 21.

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: pphbkeyes

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