FARMINGTON — The Emery Community Arts Center on the University of Maine at Farmington campus asks you to take a deep breath with Bess Wohl’s “Small Mouth Sounds” on April 6-8 at 7 p.m.

Small Mouth Sounds is a critically-acclaimed dramedy written by Bess Wohl with origins off-Broadway, followed by a national touring show. The Farmington performance is directed by Gavin Pickering, LCPC, who serves as a mental health counselor at UMF.

Filled with awkward and insightful humor, the play follows six strangers as they grapple with immense personal challenges at a hippie-dippie silent retreat. They are asked to abandon the comforts of their previous lives, take a deep breath, and connect with one another on a deeply human level. The silence speaks volumes.

With a sold out run at Ars Nova, The New York Times called Small Mouth Sounds, “an enchanting new play… as funny as it is quietly moving… a model of ingenuity.” The show was chosen as a “Best Of” critics pick in the New York Times, New York Magazine, The Hollywood Reporter and the New York Post (2016). 

Performances are open to the public, with Thursday admission, pay what you want. Friday and Saturday admission is $10 for adults, $5 for students with ID. Tickets will be on sale at the door, first come first served.

This show is recommended for ages 13 and over due to adult themes and language. Run time is around 90 minutes, without intermission.

Pickering studied theatre as a minor at UMF and explored drama therapy as a specialization in graduate school at the University of Maine, where he received a master’s of education. in both school and mental health counseling.

He explored using performance as a way to help both actors and audiences explore mental health and social issues. This included directing “The Laramie Project” in conjunction with his role as LGBT services coordinator at UMaine. He was also given special permission from the playwright, the late Rick Cluchey, to direct “The Cage,” the first play written and performed by a prisoner as part of the San Quentin Drama Workshop.

He has partnered with Emery Community Arts Center in the past, directing multiple iterations of The Vagina Monologues including a student written adaptation of this show. He has also performed in several shows at Emery including “American Dreams,” “ Death of a Salesman” and “Into the Woods.” 

Cast:

The Teacher- Kyla Wheeler
Joan- Lis Carlson, senior from Dover Foxcroft
Judy- Brianna Rush 
Alicia- Michaela Carney 
Ned- Peter Osborne 
Rodney- Trevor Hall
Jan- Jeffrey Thomson 

The Emery Community Arts Center is an innovative, experimental venue for the arts in Western Maine. It features an exciting 2,500-square-foot, 109-seat multipurpose performance space with dynamic vertical foldaway doors that open onto an outdoor performance area and a 1,600-square-foot Flex-Space gallery for traditional exhibits, new media and performance art. A dramatic interior corridor offers additional exhibition space and connects the center with the UMF Alumni Theater.

The Emery Arts Center gallery is located on Academy St. (between Main St. and High St.) in downtown Farmington. The gallery is open Monday-Friday, 10am-6pm; Saturday, 12pm-6pm. Closed Sundays and holidays.  Please check Emery’s website for updates at https://wpsites.maine.edu/emerycommunityartscenter/

For more information contact Ann Bartges, director of UMF Emery Community Arts Center at ann.bartges@maine.edu or 207-778-7461.