PORTLAND – “Women and the Sea” will be presented by the Portland Stage Company through May 23.

More than three years ago, playwright Shelley Berc and Portland Stage Company Artistic Director Anita Stewart interviewed more than 40 women all over Maine and then set about transforming the collected stories into a piece of theater.

Berc and Stewart listened to hours of stories and developed relationships with the women they interviewed. Even those who were reticent in the beginning shared wonderfully detailed and personal accounts of their lives, their philosophies, their dreams, their tragedies and their hopes. Now, these true stories of lobstermen, fishing families, clam diggers, and lighthouse keepers bring local culture and history to life.

“Women and the Sea” gives voice to one of the state’s most important traditions: Berc and Stewart’s skillful intertwining of narratives pulls audiences in to experience the trials and tribulations, loves and losses of an entire community. Audiences are challenged to explore the sea’s bounty and its dangers, and to ask themselves what draws people to the sea and what that relationship means to all people in Maine.

Portland Stage Company is in the Portland Performing Arts Center, 25A Forest Ave.

Performances are 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; 4 and 8 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays.

Tickets are $27 Wednesdays and Thursdays, and $22 for seniors and students; $29/$24 Fridays and Saturdays; and $32/$27 for Saturday and Sunday matinees. People can call the box office at 774-0465.

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