Acorn Productions of Westbrook, a nonprofit arts presenter located in the Dana Warp Mill, has announced its selections for the 2010 Maine Playwrights Festival, the ninth annual spotlight on brand new plays by Maine writers, which will run April 15 through May 1 at the St. Lawrence Arts Center on Munjoy Hill in Portland.

This year’s edition of the festival will be directed by Harlan Baker, Julie Goell and Michael Levine; and features one full-length featured play and two different lineups of shorter plays that vary in length from five to 30 minutes. In all, 12 new plays will be brought to life over the three weekends of the festival.

Among the chosen short works are “Backseat Driver” by Laura Emack of Prospect and “A Topnotch Man” by Hugh Aaron of Cushing. In Emack’s play, two former lovers, one married and one unmarried, relish a chance encounter that just might go too far. In Aaron’s work, a college professor calls on his former student, now a successful executive, for a loan to feed his drug habit.

Emack’s scripts have been produced in New York City and Kennebunk, and received staged readings in Omaha, New York City and throughout Maine, including two appearances in Penobscot Theater’s Northern Writes New Play Festival. “Backseat Driver” will be performed with one slate of short plays April 15, 17 and 24.

Aaron is a published author whose short stories and essays have appeared in a variety of publications. His plays have received staged readings in Cushing and Rockland; Columbus, Ohio; and New Bedford, Mass. “A Topnotch Man” will be performed with another slate of short plays April 16, 17 and 23.

In addition to these performance slots, Emack’s and Aaron’s plays will be presented during the May 1 festival marathon day and May 2’s 24-hour festival finale. Admission is free for the finale, although a $5 donation is suggested. For other performances, admission will be $15, $12 for students and senior citizens, with festival passes valid at all three lineups available for $35/$28. For more information, call 854-0065 or visit

In addition to the festival performances, Acorn Productions’ Friday Night Reading Series in Westbrook’s Acorn Studio Theater, 90 Bridge St., will present two evenings of plays submitted to this year’s Maine Playwrights Festival but not included in the final lineup. These will include “A Cartoon Marriage” by Jonathan Potter of Rockport. In Potter’s short play, a frustrated wife tries to convince her husband to enliven their life by adopting a child.

“A Cartoon Marriage” will be given a dramatic reading by professional actors and will be followed by a talk-back with Potter. The reading will be one of several presented Friday, Feb. 19 at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free, although a $5 donation is suggested. A second night of readings is set for March 12.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to