Go and do

WHAT: “The 13th of Paris,” a romantic comedy

WHEN: at 8 p.m. March 13, 14, 20, 21; at 7 p.m. March 19; and at 2 p.m. March 15, 22. There will be a student matinee at 9:30 a.m. on March 18.

WHERE: The Public Theatre at Maple and Lisbon streets, Lewiston

TICKETS: $18/$16. Call 782-3200.

‘The 13th of Paris’ ‘the perfect date play for young lovers, old lovers or anyone with a pulse’

LEWISTON – The Public Theatre brings a brand new play to the stage this month and it’s just the right kind of feel-good romantic comedy to chase away the winter blues.

In “The 13th of Paris,” a young man takes a suitcase filled with the love letters of his grandparents and travels to Paris in search of the true meaning of love. When he begins receiving romantic advice from a dapper French ghost in a pinstripe suit, he gets an unforgettable lesson in l’amour.

“Your heart will melt along with the snow,” said Janet Mitchko, associate artistic director of TPT and director of this production.

She describes “The 13th of Paris” as “the perfect date play for young lovers, old lovers or anyone with a pulse.”

Its March 13 opening marks the Maine premiere of “The 13th of Paris” and just the third production of this new play by Mat Smart. He is a young (not yet 30) playwright whose work is garnering a lot of interest in New York City theater circles, according to Mitchko.

“We’re delighted to be bringing this relatively new play to our audiences in Lewiston,” she said. “Mat is an exciting new voice in the theater.”

Mitchko said she loves this play’s ability to tickle her funny bone and touch her heart at the same time. “It’s funny, entertaining and uplifting. It’s filled with the joie de vivre and romance of Paris, but also offers a wonderful lesson about learning how to listen to your heart.”

Mitchko and TPT Artistic Director Christopher Schario discovered this new script last season. Since then, they have communicated with Smart throughout the preparation stages of this production. Mitchko said the playwright will be coming to Lewiston to see the TPT show.

In describing his work, Smart has told interviewers, “I write plays about something I don’t understand and am trying to find the answer to.”

“I used to write plays much more overtly political. I’m much more interested now in love stories,” he said.

Mitchko said she and Schario “scoured the country for this perfect cast.” The six professional actors in “The 13th of Paris” are coming from California, Minneapolis and New York.

Returning to TPT in the role of Vincent, the confused young man in search of love, is Pierre-Marc Diennet. Last seen at TPT in the title role of “The Nerd,” he recently completed a successful off-Broadway run of his one-man show, “Perdita,” which he developed in Maine.

Playing the role of Annie, his love interest, is Tarah Flanagan. TPT audiences may remember her from her roles in “Almost, Maine,” “The Nerd” and “Private Lives.” Most recently, she played the title role in St Louis Rep’s production of “Saint Joan.”

The role of Jacques, the grandfatherly French ghost, will be played by Minneapolis actor Rob Frankel.

“I don’t really think of Jacques (Vincent’s grandfather) as a ghost, but rather as a real person who just happens to have died 40 years ago,” Smart said.

Fascinated by the differences between generations, Smart wonders if people loved more fully 40 or 100 years ago before cell phones and letter writing.

Jacques’ beautiful alluring French wife, Chloe, will be played by Elizabeth Days. Rounding out the cast as the wild and crazy romantic couple, Jessica and William, are Alison Frederick and Brad Fraizer.

The set design of the beautiful apartment in the 13th district of Paris (the reason for 13th in the title) was created by Michael Reidy; the Paris lights by Bart Garvey; and the beautiful costumes, including the ghost’s pinstripe suit, by Kathleen Brown.


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