ART Offers Peek at ‘Private Lives’

Acadia Repertory Theatre’s Mike Kissin as Elyot and Julie Ann Nevill as Amanda in a scene from Noel Coward’s “Private Lives.”

MOUNT DESERT — One of Acadia Repertory Theatre’s founders is returning as a guest director of the company’s next offering, Noel Coward’s “Private Lives.” The show began Tuesday and runs through Aug. 12.

When Mr. Vafiadis and Lou Collier started the Acadia Repertory Theatre (ART) in Somesville on a wing and a prayer in 1973, they set out to create an institution that would bring the best of world drama to the eastern Maine region. They could hardly have imagined that the institution they built would have endured and thrived as it has. ART is celebrating its 40th season in the Masonic Hall in Somesville this year.

Mr. Vafiadis directed “Private Lives” as part of the original 1973 season at Acadia Rep (and again in 1979). The current artistic directors of the theatre, Cheryl Willis and Andrew Mayer, wanted to pull in one show from that inaugural season for this celebratory summer. “When they first asked me to come back and direct, I told them, ‘Just because it’s been such a long time since I worked up on MDI, my initial answer is no. But let me think about it for a while!’ By the next morning, I had read the play again and had gotten so excited about the idea that I called them back and said, ‘Let’s do it!’”

It was a decision that Cheryl and Andrew couldn’t have been happier with. “Having George around the building for rehearsals these last couple of weeks has felt like a real gift,” says Mr. Mayer. “We wanted to draw together some of the people whose hard work really made this place what it is, and George, with his direct connection to the very beginnings of the place, feels like some kind of Founding Father. We are proud to be able to show him what his baby has grown up to become, and his obvious delight at being part of the proceedings around here again is a blessing for all of us!”

And the play itself is a classic. Characters Elyot and Amanda have been divorced five years when they find themselves accidentally sharing a terrace at a French hotel – while on honeymoon with their new spouses! Will the strength of their love/hate relationship ruin their new marriages?

Mr. Coward’s sharp dialogue and incisive wit have never been on fuller display than in this 1930 masterpiece. And with the combination of the Acadia Rep’s talented acting company and the masterful direction of Mr. Vafiadis, the show promises to be a highlight of the already-acclaimed 40th season, Ms. Willis said.

Also now showing is the Acadia Rep’s Children’s Theatre series offering of “Charlotte’s Web,” Joseph Robinette’s adaptation of E. B. White’s beloved classic. The show runs Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. through Sept. 1.

Acadia Rep is located in Somesville. Call the box office at 244-7260, or visit

For more arts & entertainment news, pick up a copy of the Mount Desert Islander.

Fenceviewer Staff

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