MOUNT DESERT — The Acadia Repertory Theatre’s season will open with Stephen Sachs’ play “Bakersfield Mist” on Tuesday, June 28.
“Bakersfield Mist” has led an interesting life since its first production in 2011. The National New Play Network (NNPN) chose it for a “rolling world premiere,” in which three theaters across the country each produced the play over the course of a year, with input and tweaks from the playwright along the way. The program is designed to give a new play time to get honed and tightened in order to reach its full potential.
In this case, it worked. The play was produced in London in 2014 with Kathleen Turner playing the role of Maude, a trailer park resident in California who buys what she comes to believe is an original Jackson Pollock painting in a thrift store for a few dollars. “Maude the Broad,” as her ex-husband referred to her, cajoles a New York foundation into sending an appraiser to authenticate the painting or reject it as a fake. The encounter between the two of them plays out in highly surprising ways, turning into a tussle over what constitutes “authenticity” itself, both in art and in people.
But the play, receiving its Maine premiere at the Acadia Rep, is also funny, pitting a California trailer park denizen who is smarter than she may seem at first against a New York appraiser with very high-toned opinions of what constitutes art in a hilarious battle of wits with an edge of class warfare.
The play has an Acadia Rep connection as well. In 2012, NNPN held a benefit reading of the play at the theater, then in the middle of its rolling world premiere process. “We are thrilled that this great play has come full circle for us, from a reading four years ago to a full production,” said ART Producing Director Andrew Mayer. “There are great people and organizations like NNPN out there, dedicated to helping shepherd new plays like this one into life, and we are all lucky to have them!”
“Bakersfield Mist” runs nightly except Mondays till July 10.
Also, now in its 30th year, the Acadia Rep’s Children’s Theatre Program is still going strong. This season’s offering is Cheryl Willis’ “The Princess and the Pauper,” very loosely based on Mark Twain’s novel. In it, a famous pop star and her biggest fan, a lobsterman’s daughter from Tremont, trade places for a day. The tale is brought to life in a unique and imaginative Acadia Rep version, retelling the classic story in a modern setting, with references to a certain recently deceased, much-missed pop star from Minneapolis thrown in.
The play is suitable for all ages. As Willis said, “The last thing you want at a children’s show is a restless adult.” The Children’s Theatre Program will be performed every Wednesday and Saturday from June 29 through Aug. 27, at 10:30 a.m.
The Acadia Repertory Theatre offers season subscriptions at a 25 percent savings. Call the box office at 244-7260 or visit www.acadiarep.com