Speaking of writer Doug Wright, another of his plays is onstage this weekend when CCM presents a Cohen Family Studio Theater production of his 1996 play, QUILLS. The play gained some currency as a 2000 film starring Geoffrey Rush, earning him an Academy Award nomination.
Set in 1807, it's about the final days of the notorious Marquis de Sade, imprisoned in a mental asylum. His scandalous writings, although popular with the public, outraged the authorities. Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati (ETC) fans are surely cheering the announced return of TODD ALMOND for the regional premiere of the one-actor, 40-character play, I AM MY OWN WIFE (March 2-20, 2005). Almond won Cincinnati Entertainment Awards in 2001 and 2003 for his performances as the transgendered Rock singer in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, but he's also done subtler work as a soft-spoken upstairs neighbor in the world premiere of James and Annie at ETC and as a murderous servant in last summer's The Maids. Doug Wright's I Am My Own Wife is based on interviews with an aging German transvestite, Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, a curator of antiques who survived the Nazi and Communist regimes. Almond, a CCM grad (he was a standout in a production of Angels in America while a student), now lives and performs in New York City. ETC is the first theater in the country to secure regional rights to produce I Am My Own Wife. Info: 513-421-3555. ...
Speaking of writer Doug Wright, another of his plays is onstage this weekend when CCM presents a Cohen Family Studio Theater production of his 1996 play, QUILLS. The play gained some currency as a 2000 film starring Geoffrey Rush, earning him an Academy Award nomination. Set in 1807, it's about the final days of the notorious Marquis de Sade, imprisoned in a mental asylum. His scandalous writings, although popular with the public, outraged the authorities. Deprived of writing materials, he found creative ways to continue his art in an ongoing battle of wills. On UC's campus, Thursday-Saturday, 8 p.m., plus a Saturday matinee at 2:30 p.m. Free admission, but call for a reservation: 513-556-4183. ... There is so much good theater in Cincinnati that, even with Tom McElfresh's able backup, CityBeat struggles to review everything. I'm looking for a good writer who sees theater regularly (without ties to any local companies), who'd like to try her (or his) hand at writing occasional reviews. Drop me an e-mail if you're interested.
4 The Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival is staging a 50-year-old play, Arthur Miller's ALL MY SONS, a classic by a great playwright and a tragedy right up there with some of the Bard's best. Men and women are victimized by circumstance and fate, and good if prideful intentions result in falls from grace. Set in post WWII America, the central characters are typical, optimistic Americans of that era, former soldiers and their families, patriotic, successful business owners. But things are complicated by a son who died in the war and one who survived and now hopes to marry his brother's fiancée. It's an unsettling production, precisely what Miller had in mind. (Rick Pender) Grade: B+
4 Arthur Miller's best known classic, THE CRUCIBLE, is onstage at the Cincinnati Playhouse in an explosion of ferocious energy -- with power to spare and with both its corrosive plot and its haunting parable in absolute, dead-on-the-money focus. It's 1692 in Salem, Mass. Once accusations of misbehavior are broached, witch trials and hangings become inevitable. Witch-hunts are ever with us, as are accusations of collusion with a variety of devils. This production offers mighty performances by 20 actors, including Joneal Joplin (back again as Scrooge in December) playing a rabid judge. CCM Dean Douglas Lowry's original score, as much soundscape as music, presages events with a rumbling thrum and elevates the tragedy. (Tom McElfresh) Grade: A+