Actors, puppets, masks, music and shadow projections -- all were featured in Anerca, a collaboration between the Figures Of Speech Theatre and ME's Portand Stage Company, May 1-4. Directed by Michael Rafkin, artistic director of Mad Horse Theatre, Anerca tells of an Inuit Eskimo's initiation into the tribe through a shaman woman, alongside the story of two westerners in the arctic. This cultural clash was first produced in 1986 and toured the U.S., Japan and Europe, winning puppet theatre's highest award, the UNIMA Citation of Excellence.
Tony Vacca created the original score, which has been adapted by Tom Faux. Five artistic directors are involved in staging the production: Christopher Akerlind and Anita Stewart of Portand Stage; Carol & John Farrell of Figures Of Speech; and Michael Rafkin of Mad Horse.
Nathan Garner of George Washington University and Henry Neise of Maryland University (he's also a traditional healer and sun dancer) spoke at a post-performance May 4 discussion, free and open to the public.
For tickets ($9-$18) and information on Anerca at Portland Stage on Forest Avenue, call (207) 774-0465.
--By David Lefkowitz