Whatever else he may be, Tony Reilly above all is a storyteller.

The Portland playwright, actor and director told his story Wednesday night for a theater full of friends, regaling them with a free-form narrative about his car accident, the love of his life and the strange dreams he had for three weeks while he lay in a coma in a Massachusetts hospital. “The Coma Monologues” is a true story, based entirely on some of the things he remembers from his dreams and the treatment and care he received following the Dec. 23 auto accident on the Massachusetts Turnpike, as he and his wife, Susan, were traveling to New Jersey for Christmas.

Reilly, who lives in South Portland and is co-founder and artistic director of the American Irish Repertory Theater, lost his left leg to amputation following the accident. His wife died.

He presents the monologue again Thursday at the St. Lawrence Arts Center in Portland. As was the case Wednesday, Thursday’s performance is sold out. It’s being presented as a preview event for PortFringe, the theater festival that opens in Portland on Saturday.

Before the show, Reilly admitted he would be among friendly people. Even if he messed up on stage, he knew he would be received warmly.

But even he must have been surprised at the degree of warmth. He walked on stage to sustained applause, a smile on his face. “My name is Tony Reilly, and I am actor here in Portland,” he began. “And I have to say, I am really glad to be here.”

He departed with his hands clasped to his heart, tears flowing on stage and off.

He told his story with humor, grace and pathos.

Reilly said he wrote his story because he wanted to tell about his dreams, which went on and on and were filled with vivid clarity and detail. Actors he’s worked with in New York and Portland populated his dreams, along with his wife, niece, mother and other family, the Beatles and B-grade British actors. His dreams transported him from a Toyota factory to a Disney cruise ship to a Tiki bar in Florida and a pub in Dublin, where he gladly accepted a glass of Jameson whiskey. They were all connected by a stairway that went nowhere, and all the while he was dressed in a hospital gown.

At times he was restrained in a chair. Other times he was stuck, nearly naked, on a table, unable to move. He dreamed about Robin Hood and “Queen Eileen, the last Irish Queen of England.”

In his dreams, he always wanted to get away from wherever he was, but he was never able to move on his own. He kept asking for help, but no one would help him. Instead, they offered him painkillers that looked like Skittles or food that was unappealing and inedible.

The recurring and consistent image, he said, was that of his leg being boiled, dipped over and over in a vat of boiling water.

In “The Coma Monologues,” Reilly doesn’t try to make sense of his dreams. He just tells them like a good Irishman, full of humor and wit, interspersing them with details about the real-time medical treatment he received as he was in his coma dreaming.

He woke from his coma with his sister standing over him.

“Hi,” she said. “Hi,” he replied.

Days later, when he asked how Susan was doing, he was told, “Susan didn’t make it.” At first, he could still see his wife beside him, until she faded. “And then she wasn’t there anymore.”