KATE O’NEILL (seated) as Anna, and Kim Gordon as Grete.

KATE O’NEILL (seated) as Anna, and Kim Gordon as Grete.


“Nina,” a play by Lynne Conner, opens The Theater Project’s 45th season, with performances running through Oct. 2. The Theater Project is also hosting a special “Season Kick Off Party” at 7 p.m. Saturday.

“Nina” focuses on the lives of two concentration camp survivors whose 50-year friendship is being challenged by the death of a daughter. Set in the mid-1980s, the action moves back and forth between the locker room of the Jewish Community Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the lawn of a summer retreat as the two life-long friends struggle to understand their roles as mothers of “American” children who have not suffered — or so they believe.

Directed by Lisa Muller- Jones, “Nina” features actors Kim Gordon as Grete, Kate O’Neill as Anna and Abigail Killeen as Helen. “Nina” is the recipient of several awards, including the Gemini Theater New Play Festival competition, the Smith College New Play Festival competition, the Dorothy Silver Playwriting Award (finalist) and the Oglebay Institute Towngate Theatre Playwriting Contest (finalist).

Conner is a theater and dance historian, cultural policy theorist and playwright. Her plays and adaptations have been produced in theaters across the United States. Her play about Rachel Carson, “In the Garden of Live Flowers,” co-written with Attilio Favorini, won the 2002 Kennedy Center National Playwriting Award contest and is published by Dramatic Publishing Company.

The Theater Project’s Executive Director Wendy Poole met Connor when they appeared on Maine Calling together in 2014. Poole was impressed by Conner’s work and hoped for future collaborations. After reading “Nina,” Poole knew she had found a powerful way to kick off The Theater Project’s 45th season.

“Ultimately, ‘Nina’ is a journey into identity, loss, memory, and the power of female friendship,” said Conner,. “I’m proud of the team of talented theater artists who have taken on this production.”

“Nina” runs through Oct. 2. Performance times are Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2: p.m. The ticket price for the special “Season Kick Off Party” held at 7 p.m. before the Saturday performance will be $25. All other performance tickets are Pay- What-You-Want, with a suggested price of $20, available online anytime at theaterproject.com or at (207) 729-8584. The Theater Project is located at 14 School St. in Brunswick.

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