Past Programs | Theater of Ideas
The brainchild of David Greenham, actor/playwright and all-around theater geek, Theater of Ideas takes a challenging topic and turns it into a 30-minute performance based on primary source documents, historical characters, humor, little-known facts, and thought-provoking stories.
Following a Theater of Ideas performance, the actor engages the audience in a discussion. There is no attempt to change opinions or to reach consensus; the goal is simply to encourage the audience to reflect on and share their thoughts about what they have seen and heard.
MHC has presented three original works by Theater of Ideas: Taxing Maine (2006), As Maine Grows (2009), and Maine at Work (2014). Performances were hosted by libraries, school, arts and cultural centers, and other venues throughout the state.
David Greenham is the former director of the Theatre at Monmouth and currently serves as the Program Director at the Maine Holocaust and Human Rights Center.
The Zany, Majestic Bard (2016)
When it comes to Shakespeare, some people get downright gloomy. They rant on about how well-read you need to be to understand him. But use restraint in your yelping. You may not know that Shakespeare wrote for everyone from the well-bred to the uneducated; from the successful manager to the most foul mouthed kitchen wench. In other words, Shakespeare’s for you!
In 2016, the Maine Humanities Council and the Maine State Library joined forces to celebrate the auspicious occasion of Portland Public Library hosting Shakespeare’s First Folio (an original copy of the 1623 collection of many of Shakespeare’s plays, lent by the Folger Shakespeare Library) with a touring program aimed at turning the most quarrelsome Shakespeare hater into a bold-faced fan!
Shakespeare’s wit, humor, and linguistic style will bedazzle you with a fun and informative celebration of the language of his plays including “Hamlet,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “King Lear,” “As You Like It,” “Twelfth Night”and more. To your amazement you’ll find that Shakespeare is as relevant today as he was 400 years ago. Whether you are part of a workaday world, in retirement, or the most untutored schoolboy, you will find out that Shakespeare is indeed priceless and accessible for all. Accept our invitation to join in the fun!
Maine at Work (2014)
What’s the employment situation in your town? How about statewide? Most importantly, what do YOU think about the prospects for work in Maine? Maine at Work, presented by David Greenham in a one-man performance, looked at this hot topic through the lens of Maine’s past governors, reading their inaugural and State of the State addresses to glean their perspectives on jobs. He also interviewed hundreds of Mainers to get a sense of how we think about our lives through our work.
Is it silly? Outrageous? Depressing? Insane? Your take on planning and growth in Maine depends on your perspective. As Maine Grows, again acted by David Greenham and Dennis Price, presented some of the stories of past efforts in a rapidly changing state–population growth in some areas and decline in others, new business clusters springing up in some places, dying in others. Wind power, school consolidation, land use and public access–these are timeless issues that never seem to have settled answers. How well do we actually do this planning business? How well did Maine ever do it?
David Greenham wrote, directed, performed, and facilitated the post-show discussion for Taxing Maine, which also featured Theater at Monmouth regular Dennis Price. He researched the script, which is based on Maine’s past and present history, by spending time at the Maine State Archives, reading the Legislative Register and talking to the Maine State Grange historian. He also interviewed historians and politicians. A hot item for discussion after the performance: the Taxpayers Bill of Rights, a bipartisan proposal which was under consideration in Maine in 2006.