The Sunday Afternoons at the Arts Center series is in full swing, with its winter-busting variety of programs. Roland LaVallee, the sixth in the series, gave a talk on February 20. “Roland gave an entertaining presentation of his journey into wood carving,” noted attendee Barb Smith, “beginning with his growing up in a small town in Connecticut where life in the outdoors played a central role. His first foray into wood carving was making decoys for his own use. Roland brought along to the Arts Center a series of 8 carvings, illustrating the various steps of his process, starting with a plain block of pine containing the outline of a chickadee drawn in magic marker, leading to the finished product of that chickadee, with all its markings, wings and legs, perched on a beaver-chewed tree branch. This made for a delightful assembly line!” At the conclusion of the talk, Roland, who’d collected attendees names for a drawing, pulled Margie Whalen’s name from his jar, and awarded her a chickadee similar to the one pictured; Whalen was delighted. A full video of the talk and the Q&A which followed is below.

The series continued on February 27 with Stage East’s staged reading of Just Give Me Ten Minutes (3 one act plays and 3 monologues), a comedy by Tor Alexander Valenza, directed by Carolee Bier, with light and sound design by Bernie Cecire. Performers included JJ Arroyo, last seen in Stay, Carl Stay (2020); Anson Bergonzi, seen in It’s a Wonderful Life (2019); Ken Burke, who was in the recent production (2022) of Almost Maine; Missy Fredette, who played in the 2015 production of Almost Maine; and, new to Stage East, Ross Lawrence and John Smith.

“It was great to see the many ways theater is alive in the community,” enthused attendees Cathy and Tom Adelman. “We enjoyed the performances and the energy of all the readers as they managed to bring each character and, often hilarious, situation to life in the ten minute timeframe. The sound effects and announcements that set the subway vibe in Uptown #9 were impressive. It was also great to see younger people in the audience.  We hope they might be motivated to become part of Stage East.

Director Carolee Bier (above) talks with Sunday series audience while players await their cue behind a divider. Photos by L. Elwood.

The Sunday series runs through April 24, skipping Easter Sunday. To view the rest of the series lineup, please visit https://eastportartscenter.org/constituent-groups/the-concert-series/. Please note: voluntary donations sustain these programs; no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Proceeds are shared equally between the presenters and EAC constituent group The Concert Series, which offers year-round programming run by volunteers.