Location: Science Bldg. 102
Sortman, a 2004 University of Maine at Machias graduate and theatre
veteran, will bring the Peter Parnell play “QED” to Machias on February
14 and 15.
Presented by UMM, with funding from the Libra Foundation, QED provides a glimpse into the life of one of the greatest and most eccentric theoretical physicists of the 20th century, the late Richard Feynman.
The 90-minute performance of QED focuses on one night in Feynman’s life, about two years before his death. The audience is invited to see the honesty and insatiable curiosity that colored all aspects of his life, and the sense of humor that sustained him, even in tragedy. Feynman was truly one of a kind, a main reason why Sortman chose to perform this play.
Quantum Electrodynamics (QED) attempts to explain the behavior of the tiny particles that make up everything in the universe. Is it any wonder that the man who advanced this science had difficulty limiting himself to just a few things? QED, while essentially a one-man play, could not show the complete Feynman without the appearance of a non-traditional graduate student, played by Anna Baskerville. Her character, Miriam Field, helps the audience understand a man who is interested in everything.
After receiving his bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary fine arts from UMM in 2004, Sortman hit the road on a national tour of “The Giver,” starring as the play’s title character. Soon after, he relocated to New York City to pursue his acting career. He appeared there as Shylock (Merchant of Venice), as Capulet (Romeo and Juliet), and as Henry Taylor in Arthur Miller’s “The American Clock,” as well as in eight other plays, including the first major New York production of “Marat/Sade” since the original in the 1960s. The 2008 Tribeca Film Festival included a Melvin Van Peebles film, in which Sortman had a featured part.
In 2009, Sortman made two brief appearances in Machias and in Eastport, in benefit performances of “Darrow,” another one-man play. Last fall he appeared in Stage East’s production of “Proof.”
Sortman and his partner Ellie, a storyteller, singer, and actress, presently reside in East Machias and are hoping to bring a “way off Broadway” kind of theatre to the area through the formation of their Still Crazy Theatre Group.
QED will be presented in the UMM Science Building at 7 p.m. on Thursday, February 14, and Friday, February 15. Admission is free for students, $10 for adults, and $15 for couples.