Heartwood Regional Theater Company, in collaboration with the downtown Skidompha Library, will present the 2011 Page to Stage Festival Thursday, Jan. 13 through Sunday, Jan. 30, running January 13 through 30. Involving 18 performers, the festival will showcase three distinct styles of theater to be read, fittingly, in the intimate, literary setting of Skidompha Library. The Page to Stage Festival is appropriately sponsored by Maine Coast Book Shop & Café and offers a delightful alternative to the usual “Janu-Drama,” for which Heartwood has become known.

Directed by Griff Braley, three staged readings — five performances each, shown in a 15-performance repertory — include T.S. Eliot’s “Four Quartets,” Vaclav Havel’s “The Beggar’s Opera” and Arlene Hutton’s “Last Train to Nibroc.”  This repertory schedule avails audience of many viewing opportunities, with each play being read each weekend (sometimes twice) over the three weekend run. For those who wish to attend more than one show, the enjoyment could be spread over the run or one could catch all three performances in the same weekend.

John Farrell, co-founder of the award winning Figures of Speech Theater Company, presents the culminating work of T.S. Eliot, one of America’s most important poets, in the reading of “Four Quartets.” Farrell’s compelling reading of the long poem is a complex, deeply moving meditation on the human spirit, time, memory and place. Transitional compositions on flute and bass flute will be performed by Carl Dimow, a highly regarded composer and performer who teaches at Colby College and performs with the Casco Bay Tummlers. Presented by special permission of the Eliot Estate, performances are scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 13, Saturday, Jan. 15 and Friday, Jan. 21 at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Jan. 23 and Saturday, Jan. 29 at 3 p.m.

“The Beggar’s Opera” by Czech President and dissident playwright Havel is a free-wheeling, highly politicized adaptation of John Gay’s well-known 1728 work, later adapted as “The Threepenny Opera” by Bertolt Brecht and composer Kurt Weill in 1928. Havel, a playwright, essayist, and dissident, was the last president of Czechoslovakia and the first president of the Czech Republic. His adaptation was created to give voice to his opposition to Communist intervention in Czechoslovakia. It keenly satirizes government intrusion, using an underworld milieu to explore the intermingled themes of love, loyalty and treachery.  Readers are Kevin Kiley, John Adams, Alison Machaiek, Joe McGrann, Nancy-Grace Dersham, Nancy Durgin, Peter Christine, Laurie Brown, Earl Inman, Margo O’Leary, Deb Arter, Nick Buck and Maggie Machaiek. “The Beggar’s Opera” will be presented Friday, Jan. 14, Thursday, Jan. 27 and Saturday, Jan. 29 at 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Jan. 16  and Saturday, Jan. 22 at 3 p.m.

“Last Train to Nibroc” is Arlene Hutton’s quiet, subtle character study of life in the early 20th century and the sometime complex, sometimes fateful fortune of two young lovers. On a cross-country train ride, May and Raleigh meet and begin a life-long relationship. The first of a trilogy, the play explores the author’s Kentucky roots as she imagines the budding picturesque relationship of her father and mother, May and Raleigh, read by Elise Voigt and Steven Shema. The reading will be presented Thursday, Jan. 20, Saturday, Jan. 22 and Friday, Jan. 28 at 7:30 p.m.; and Saturday, Jan. 15 and Sunday, Jan. 30 at 3 p.m.

Sponsored this season by Bath Savings Institution, Heartwood Theater is pleased to present these three, literary staged readings to fill the long, dark weekends of January. Space is very limited in this venue. Reservations are available by calling 563-1373; sending e-mail to boxoffice@heartwoodtheater.org; or via the website at heartwoodtheater.org. Adult tickets are $9 reserved in advance, $12 at the door; tickets for students through high school are $5. All performances will be general seating, in Skidompha Library’s atrium. Directions are available via the website.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to dernest@villagesoup.com.