Thanks to a $10,000 grant through the Maine Arts Commission’s SMART grant, adventurous audiences in Freeport, Portland, Westbrook, and Peaks Island will soon be treated to some wild and wooly chronicles of Maine's own Paul Bunyan, Mighty Woodsman, Inventor of Logging, and Hero-Leader of the best band of jim-crackin' rip-snortin' rogues that ever tramped the Maine woods.Figures of Speech Student Ensemble, has taken on the Maine-based tall tale of Paul Bunyan. Ian Bannon, Figures of Speech's director of education explains, “I've been fretting over the fact that we are, generationally, losing touch with America's rich history of storytelling. Characters like Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill and John Henry embody our collective spirit as Americans. With all of the talk about immigration policies and border safety, it's good to remember our commonalities through these legends of tenacity, ingenuity and bravery, as well as the immigrants and pioneers who generated them.”
The 12-member ensemble will use a variety of media including shadow puppets, projections and dozens of tiny lumberjack figurines, to play with human-to-superhuman scale and generally cram all the fun that can be had into a 45-minute-long performance for all ages.
The “Paul Bunyan” tour will open on Friday, January 28 at 7:30 PM at the Mast Landing School in Freeport. Admission is $7 students, $10 adults. The run continues on Sunday, January 30 at 7:30 PM at Lucid Stage in Portland; on Friday, February 4 at 7:30 PM at the Warren Library in Westbrook, and on Sunday, February 6 at 1:00 PM at the Peaks Island School. For more detailed information on locations, tickets, etc., go to www.figures.org or call Figures of Speech Theatre, 865-6355.
The next deadline for the Maine Arts Commission's SMART grant is April 22, 2011. Visit MaineArts.com for more details of this and all of the agency's grant programs.