‘Painting the Porch,” July 3
“Painting the Porch,” a play on five porches, is the featured event of the Mahoosuc Arts Council’s 21st Annual Art Fair, to be held on July 3. The concept of “Porch Plays” is an innovative project created by the Bethel Performing Arts Project (BPAP) in 2009. This year the BPAP and Mahoosuc Arts Council have formed a collaboration to present the play during the Annual Art Fair as the highlight of a cultural weekend in Bethel.
The play is a complex production involving over 20 local actors, musicians, visual artists, directors and writers and five Bethel Village historic home porches. Ross Timberlake, Porch Play creative director and producer said, “We are very keen on the idea of providing this kind of entertainment for visitors to participate with us and enjoy being part of our community.”
“Painting the Porch” follows a “once famous” artist attempting to revive his career by painting the perfect porch to be featured on the cover of “Paint Me. Magazine. “ Bethel has been named by the magazine as the winner of their “Maine’s Most Beautiful Porch Town” contest, and the artist has been hired to capture the “elegance and charm” of one of the town’s porches.
The first act, “Painting the Porch: In Fifteen Minutes,” starts at 12:30 p.m. on Main Street at Linda Clifford Irish and Scottish Merchant’s porch where town notables welcome a rather pompous magazine publisher.
At 1:15 p.m., the artist visits the Kaufmann’s residence on Mechanic Street for act two, “Painting the Porch: Black and White.”
At 2 p.m., the play continues on the O’Donnell’s porch on Upper Main Street for act three, “Painting the Porch: So the Porch Can Be Painted.”
At 2:45 p.m., the Frongillo’s porch on Broad Street is the setting for act four, “Painting the Porch: With a Little Help.”
“Painting the Porch: Anywhere” is the final act, which takes place at 3:30 p.m. at the Bethel Common Gazebo. “I believe the play will be very entertaining,” Timberlake said. “Expect the unexpected. There’s sure to be plenty of surprises throughout the afternoon.”
As the play’s “moving audience” follows along to the various porches, people will discover the various offerings and promotions of local merchants. Among the special promotions is the Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce-supported “Discover An Artist; Discover Us Scavenger Hunt.” Local and affiliated artists will display their artwork in participating businesses from mid-June to mid-July. Look for the contest form in the Bethel Citizen. The form will also be available in many area businesses. A prize of “$100 in Bethel Bucks” will be awarded to the winner at a drawing to be held during Mollyockett Days, July 17 and 18.
Timberlake and Aranka Matolcsy, executive director of the Mahoosuc Arts Council, will introduce the cast at a public reception to be held at the Sunday River Brewing Company on Thursday, July 1, beginning at 7 p.m. The Sunday River Brewery is the play’s major sponsor. Timberlake said, “We’re very happy with all the community involvement and business support in this year’s porch play production. It’s great to see so many new faces with each new BPAP project.” For more information, call Timberlake at 824-2234.
Executive Director, Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce