Bethel’s “Annual Art Fair” cultural weekend gets underway next Thursday, July 1, beginning at 7 pm, with a special reception to be held at the Sunday River Brewery Company, the major sponsor of this year’s Porch Play.
Ross Timberlake, Porch Play’s creative director and producer, Aranka Matokcsy, executive director of Mahoosuc Arts Council, and Willow Andrews of the “Brew Pub” and its Community Gallery, are encouraging the public to come to the reception and meet the Bethel Community Players cast and artists who will be appearing in this year’s original Porch Play.
You’ll also have a chance to see the Community Gallery’s current exhibit, which features the work of local artists. Musical entertainment will be provided by the rock and blues band, “Truck Baby Jones,” led by Steve Bailey. The Brew Pub will have dinner specials available and a “cash bar.” There will also be an opportunity to bid on a limo ride that will chauffeur three lucky bidders from act to act during the porch plays and, also, to visit cafes and restaurants for beverages, food, and shopping between the acts. Proceeds will go to benefit future Bethel Performing Arts Projects. (BPAP)
Ross Timberlake says the BPAP continues to draw new, fresh faces in its productions. You’ll have a chance to meet them at the reception. The first act, “Painting the Porch: In Fifteen Minutes,” gets underway at 12:30 p.m. on the porch of Linda Clifford Scottish and Irish Merchant on Main Street. You’ll meet the “Welcoming Committee” accompanied by members of the Mahoosuc Community Band. This group of town notables (Sylvia and Norman Clanton, Lu Prada, Polly Davis and Bob McCartney) has been assembled to greet the rather pompous publisher of “Paint Me Magazine” (Sharon Lyon), her assistant (Carole Timberlake), their driver (Jeffrey Parsons), and the “once-famous” artist (Ross Timberlake) who hopes to revive his career by painting the perfect porch for the cover of the 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. He is shown to these porches by Sport, (Gabriel Stone) a local volunteer.
The play continues to the Kaufmann’s residence on Mechanic Street for act two at 1:15 p.m., “Painting the Porch: Black and White,” where you’ll meet The Sherman Family (Amanda, Christine, Dylan and Tom Coolidge).
At 2 p.m., the O’Donnell’s porch on Upper Main Street is the setting for act three, “Painting the Porch: So the Porch Can Be Painted,” which is a challenge for grandmother (Tineke Ouwinga), mother (Karen Paul), and granddaughter (Emily Bellinger) and a few unannounced guests.
At 2:45 p.m., the caretaker (Bill Frongillo) needs help from Sport at the Frongillo’s porch on Broad Street, which 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, and includes the entire cast.
Don’t forget the July 1 gala reception at the Sunday River Brewing Company, which is open to the public. Bring your friends and visitors and come to enjoy the first event of the Annual Art Fair’s cultural weekend. For more information, contact Ross, BPAP co-volunteer coordinator, at 824-2234.