Fringe Benefits

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Four shows not to miss at this year’s PortFringe Theater Festival.

Hard to believe that Portland, Maine’s fringiest town, didn’t host its own fringe festival until six years ago. This year’s PortFringe fills theaters, bars, and back rooms across the Arts District and consists of some 50 acts — new plays, monologues, modern dance, improv, and various unclassifiable productions — by performers and storytellers from Maine and away.

See shows a la carte ($10), grab a punch pass for three ($28) or nine ($75) shows, or go big with an all-access pass ($125). However you Fringe, here are four shows we’re particularly looking forward to.


I Was a Sixth Grade Bigfoot

Cyndi Freeman, Brooklyn, New York

A solo show from The Moth StorySLAM champion and burlesque performer Cyndi Freeman, about her childhood infatuation with Bigfoot. When Freeman’s classmates stage a hoax at her expense, she learns lessons about bullying culture and the resilience of adolescents (and so do we). Funny and sincere.

20×20: An Improvised PechaKucha

Two Red Hens Productions, Old Orchard Beach

An ad-libbed spin on PechaKucha, the TED Talks–ish, show-and-tell presentation series popular in Maine. Veteran improv artist Tara McDonough delivers elaborate Powerpoint presentations using audience-supplied topics and photos. Guaranteed one of the funniest acts on this year’s program.

One-Man Apocalypse Now

Chris Davis, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

It takes a certain mania to conjure the chaotic energy of Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 Oscar-winning Vietnam War epic. Davis’s dynamic, propulsive spectacle spoofs the actors, incorporates the score, and reimagines some of the most memorable lines in American cinema.

Antigone in Warsaw

Richard Sewell/Purpose Crayon, Waterville

This alternate-history one-act is billed as an “exploration of theater in the time of bad government.” A cast of six, led by Colby professor and Theater at Monmouth co-founder Sewell, reimagines the World War II era beset by the same fake news and “truthiness” that bloats political life today.

June 17–24. Various downtown Portland venues. portfringe.com


Nick Schroeder

Nick Schroeder is a Down East contributing editor.