STRAND spotlight

By Liz McLeod
Still Your House Manager
What’s the difference between Tuesday and Wednesday? Did you ever think about that?
Or the difference between Monday and Tuesday? Or Wednesday and Thursday? Is there actually any difference at all?
Or is the whole concept of the calendar just a fiction we create by social agreement to impose form on an otherwise structureless reality?  Really, who even says there has to *be* a Monday, a Tuesday, blah blah blah?
This is the kind of thing you think about when you’ve breathed in too much Clorox. Time to take a break.
For me, it’s always been easy to tell the days apart. Monday I do the Strand banking and get the weekly report sheets and invoices together to be properly bookkept over in the office. Tuesday we do a matinee show and then I go get a hamburger and come back to do door duty for the evening show.  Wednesday I prep shows for the coming week. Thursday, more show-prep and then I project the nighttime show. Friday, I finish up show prep, do any necessary maintenance, and then run two evening shows. Saturday, I work up the weekly staff schedules, and Sunday, sometimes, I come in to help with tech on special screenings. There’s always something Strandy that needs to be done, I know when it needs to be done, and I do it. So now what?
I woke up this morning and the first thing I did was…  No, I lie. I woke up this morning and the first thing I did was sense the fragrant breath of Carol the Fat Cat sitting on my pillow with her nose about six inches from mine.  “Whoa,” I mumbled. “Social distancing.”
Her response was to lightly rake her delicate paws across my cheek. With claws extended to about one-eighth of maximum. Just to send a message.  I squinted thru my myopia at the alarm clock on the nightstand, and realized it was somewhere south of 7 am. I sat up. What day is it? “There wasn’t any matinee yesterday,” I said out loud, “and I didn’t do a nighttime show. So it must be….”
Carol glared back at me, her green eyes narrowing with frustration.  “None of that,” she snapped, in her distinctive crackly voice. (I translate for you. In her native tongue it was something like “Brrrraaaaaaap.”) “You well know what day it is. It’s the day when you give me Ocean Whitefish With Gravy. And you’re four and a half minutes late.”
“Make it ten,” I groaned,” falling back on the pillow. The claws extended to one-half and Carol brandished them menacingly. I sat back up, and threw the blanket aside. “Okay, whatever,” I conceded. “If that’s how it is.”
“That’s how it is,” replied Carol, dropping off the foot of the bed with a solid thump. She extended her tail to full mast and led me into the bathroom. I noticed I had about a third of a roll of paper left on the spool.
I looked at Carol accusingly. “Don’t even think of it,” I warned, knowing her proclivity for late-night de-spooling. “Stuff’s worth its weight in – well, you just can’t get it, you know?” Carol looked back at me inscrutably. I’d given her another hint as to possible extortion methods, and I felt like kicking myself. But I knew I couldn’t get my leg up high enough this early in the morning, so I dropped the idea and went about my morning ablutions. Carol never thinks much of such hew-mon habits as face washing and teeth-brushing, and she leaves the room in disgust when the shower comes on. “Don’t knock it till ya try it,” I try to explain to her, but she will have none of my suggestions.
So I go downstairs, unfurl a can of Friskies into her bowl, and shuffle into my home office to see if I’ve been dreaming for the past week. Not a chance. I look at as much of the news as I can stand and then at the calendar on the wall. What day is this? Wednesday? Thursday? Does it matter?  After brewing and downing a cup of Red Rose in a single gulp – plain, no sugar or cream, steeped for at least fifteen minutes – matters begin to come somewhat into focus. I don’t really *know* what day it is, but I’ll call it Wednesday just for the sake of argument. I’m going to do some maintenance on the projector today. The filters need to be cleaned and the inside needs to be dusted. This is dicey work – any time you have the projector casing opened you risk problems with the xenon bulb, a murderous-looking device prone to exploding with great and violent force if it doesn’t get its way.  I down a second cup of tea just to be prepared.
Carol leaps up on my desk and thrusts first her back end and then her front end directly into my face.  I know the body language, and she emphasizes her point vocally. “MORE,” she squawks.
“NO more.” I retort. “Cat food’s getting in short supply, you know. You’re going on short rations till this blows over. You could stand to lose some weight anyway, Miss Fat Carol The Barrel.”

She gets her back up at this, and I know what’s coming. “YOU SHOULD TALK,” she sneers. “YOU DON’T LOOK LIKE YOU’VE MISSED TOO MANY DRIVE-THRUS.” We have this conversation every day.
As I pull on my coat and head out the door, I look back at her. She’s sitting on the kitchen floor, her back towards me, showing her utter disgust at the shoddy service I provide.
My world, the low hew-mon world, may be in a state of utter disruption right now, but for Miss Carol the Cat, it’s still business as usual. She always knows what day it is. In her calendar, it’s always Caturday.
By Liz McLeod
Still Your House Manager
I am a creature of routine. Always have been, always will be. And for the better part of fifteen years my routine and the Strand’s routine have been one, tick tick ticking its way along the familiar mileposts of the Midcoast show business calendar. Fall and Winter? Not a time of falling leaves, gentle snows, and Ho Ho Ho, but Opera Season – Saturday Matinees and Tuesday Encores breaking up the flow of the film calendar, and a couple times a month a live concert to keep things lively. Spring and Summer? Simply that all-too-short interval of long days and short nights and propping the front door open to let the popcorn fumes out that comes between the Camden Conference and CIFF. Season after season, year after year, that’s the way it’s gone. Well over 6000 movie shows, close to 300 live concerts, almost as many opera screenings, and I’ve lost track of all the other events. You get the idea.
And now, bupkis.
You know what it’s like when you’re riding a speeding subway car and it has to come to a fast stop? But you keep moving and let go of the pole and crash into the person in front of you? Well, this situation is like that, except of course without the close personal contact. Keep your distance, bub. Six foot minimum.
Or to quote a great Duke Ellington tune, “Don’t Get Around Much Any More.” Look it up on the You Tube if you don’t know it.
Not that I ever got around much in the first place. For the best part of a decade and a half the Strand has pretty much been the extent of my social life. Show business is like that. Your job isn’t to have fun yourself – although I try to violate that rule as often as I can get away with it – but to make sure everyone else is having fun. So I spend most of my waking hours here, either preparing for shows or doing what has to be done once they start. Contrary to what you might have heard, though, I do have a home other than the theatre – a modest little working-class house in the North End of Rockland, the kind of place with a bathroom the size of a broom closet, steep stairs that desperately need to be painted, a kitchen with no ventilation other than an open window, and a living room that gets sunlight about half an hour a day. But as the realtor who sold it to me said, “it’s got plenny a’ chahm.” It’s not much, but for twenty years it’s been my home. It’s just that when you coop me up there, take away my daily work routine, I get antsy. Jittery. Stir-crazy.
I don’t get many visitors, other than a couple of Strand Kids Emerita who serve as my de facto Next Of Kin. One of them dropped by the other day to check in on me and see how I was handling these latest developments. She found me hunched like a pot-bellied Gollum over my kitchen table, shoving cold French fries into my mouth with both hands.
“You don’t handle capitivity well, do you?” she observed with insight.
“Mgggggrpph!” I replied, hunching lower over my plate as if to defend it. “MUSTN’T TAKE THE PRECCCCCCIOUSSSSS!”
“Ah,” she nodded. “You’ve been grocery shopping.”
And indeed I had. I’m not what they call a prepper by any means, so I don’t actually keep much food in the house other than what I need for each day. Most of my meals, given my work routine, tend to be eaten on the run, and the waitstaff at the Rockland Café and the Waterworks Pub know my order before I even sit down. But we live in a bewildering new era now, and I’d hit the store hoping to pick up a bit more than my usual daily routine of Boston Globe, cat food, and lottery tickets. So I ventured deep into the empty-shelved aisles of the nearest supermarket – passing red-eyed throngs trawling the aisles for any lone misplaced roll of toilet paper --  and emerged, somewhat shell shocked twenty minutes later, with two cans of Hormel Chili, two boxes of matzo, an industrial-sized jar of peanut butter, a can of Vienna sausage – can you tell I go in for fusion cuisine? – and of course six cans of Friskies Filets.
I might not be dealing well with household captivity, but Carol – she’s my eleven-year-old, equally pot-bellied feline housemate – will be living large.
Now, just because the Strand is closed doesn’t mean I’m not working. There’s plenty of maintenance and upkeep required to keep the building ready to reopen once this situation blows over, and I’ll be there for the forseeable trying to keep up with it all. And from time to time I’ll take a minute to jot down a few lines reflecting on, hopefully, the lighter side of this rather unpredecented situation. I’d invite you to drop by the house some time, if you ever get around to the North End, to sample my famous Chili Matzo Delight, but, you know, Social Distancing and all…

Dear Friends,

As our community comes to terms with this emerging public health emergency, and we figure out the best way forward for keeping our friends and neighbors safe and healthy, we are following the recommendations of the CDC and our state and local health officials. We have made the decision to temporarily suspend all programming at the Strand until we have been advised that it is safe to resume and re-open.

We plan to stay in close touch with you all, via our website, email, and social media, to keep you not only updated, but also educated and entertained—so that we can continue to feel connected during a time when we are being asked to keep our distance! Stay tuned for the latest installments of our newly launched “STRANDed" programming. (See below)

Our commitment to the health and safety of our community extends mightily to our incredible staff. Starting today we have implemented a work-from-home/work alone policy that will allow employees to continue to maintain their livelihoods while the Strand is dark. To that end, it is important that we, as a community of Strand supporters, recognize that when the life we love here in midcoast Maine resumes, it will be our continued financial support as members, donors, and ticket-buyers, that will see the Strand through this challenging time.

Take good care of one another, and we will see you soon!


Jessie Davis

Executive Director

Dear Strand friends,

Our priority at the Strand is the health and safety of our patrons and employees. We will continue to monitor and follow guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as local and state public health authorities.

While the current risk level of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in midcoast Maine is considered to be low, we wanted to share the steps we're taking here at the Strand - and the precautions we, as a community of individuals, should take - to help keep each other healthy.

As of Friday, March 13, the Strand's regularly scheduled films will be screened as planned, until further notice; please see our websiteor call (207) 594-0070 for current updates.

Unfortunately, however, some of our upcoming events have been postponed or canceled due to decisions made by other presenting organizations or the inability of our visiting artists to travel.

As of today, we have had to postpone the following events:


·      March 14: Met Opera Live-in-HD: Der Fliegende Hollander

·      March 14: The Bicentennial Birthday Bash Show

·      March 14 & 15: Maine in the Movies screenings (In the Bedroom; Captain        January; Peyton Place)

·      March 20: Kat Edmonson concert

·      March 24: Met Opera Encore: Der Fliegende Hollander

·      April 5: Maine Jewish Film Festival


Rescheduled dates for these events as well as any additional event postponements will be announced via e-blast and social media, and on our website. Ticket buyers will be contacted in the event of a cancelation or postponement.

In the meantime, we ask that our patrons and staff adhere to the following guidelines and be aware of the steps we are taking to ensure everyone's health and safety:

·      If you have a fever, cough or sore throat, please do not come into the Strand. If you are sick, or wish to avoid a large group, we will happily refund your advance-purchased tickets for concerts that are scheduled through May 1; please call our box office at 207-594-0070 or e-mail [email protected]for assistance.

·      We will sell tickets for no more than 50% capacity for our movies, to allow for social distancing with fellow patrons

·      We have been increasing our frequency of cleaning and disinfecting our theater, including the box office, concessions stand, theater seats, and restrooms. 

·      We've instructed staff to follow standard precautions, including frequent handwashing, and to stay home if they feel ill. 

Thank you for your support and cooperation. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions!


The Strand Board and Staff

Coming on Friday, April 3 at 6:30pm

Using animation, projections, and her own moving shadow, multimedia performance artist MIWA MATREYEK creates magical, surreal, visually rich live performances that leave audiences spellbound!

THIS WORLD MADE ITSELF is a visually rich journey through the history of the earth, from the universe’s epic beginnings to the complex world of humanity. 

INFINITELY YOURS, her latest work, explores global warming, the anthropocene, and the vastly changing earth. 


Watch a TED performance


Miwa received her MFA for Experimental Animation and Integrated Media from CalArts in 2007.

She performs her interdisciplinary shadow performances all around the world, in various contexts, including animation/film festivals, theater/performance festivals, puppet festivals, art museums, science museums, tech conferences, and universities. A few examples are TEDGlobal, Sundance (New Frontier, 2011/2014), Future of Storytelling, Exploratorium, MOMA, Adler Planetarium, ISEA conference, Meta.Morph (Norway), Anima Mundi (Brazil) and many more. 

Miwa is also a co-founder and collaborator of the multi-media theater company, Cloud Eye Control.

She is a recipient of the Creative Capital Award (2013), Sherwood Award (2016), and Princess Grace Award. (2007, with subsequent project funding in 2009 and 2013.) 


This show is appropriate for all ages, so we have included it in our STRAND FAMILY SERIES with Pay-What-You-Can ticketing: $20, $10, $5, or $0

More info and tickets

Total run time approx. 70 min.

The Strand Family Series presents live performances designed to entertain and inspire all ages! From music to magic to puppetry, these shows are great opportunities for families to share a quality artistic experience at a cost that works for all -- Tickets are available for $20, $10, $5, or $0, so that cost is not a barrier to attend.

Shows in the 2019-20 Family Series:

Friday, Nov. 8 at 7:30pm: Mother Kofi: The Tale of an African Princess (Alphonso Horne)

Saturday, Jan. 4 at 11am: The Legend of the Banana Kid (Frogtown Mountain Puppeteers)

Friday, Feb. 28 at 6:30pm: Jazzy Ash and the Leapin’ Lizards

Friday, April 3 at 6:30pm: This World Made Itself and Infinitely Yours (Miwa Matreyek)

Saturday, May 2 at 11am: Go Home Tiny Monster (The Gottabees)


More information about these shows can be found on our website

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