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V-Day 2005

Theaters, Actors, Etc.

By Rick Pender · December 15th, 2004 · Curtain Call
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Thom Atkinson wrote Cuttings for Annie Fitzpatrick and ETC; it's been re-staged in Fort Myers, Fla
ETC

Thom Atkinson wrote Cuttings for Annie Fitzpatrick and ETC; it's been re-staged in Fort Myers, Fla



When Cincinnati marks V-DAY 2005 on Feb. 13 with a reading of Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues, some familiar voices will be heard at a new venue, Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati (1127 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine). Fox 19's REGINA CARSWELL, who hosted the annual CEAs for CityBeat on Nov. 22, will be a reader, as will VICTORIA MORGAN, artistic director of the Cincinnati Ballet. Presented by Cincinnati Experimental Arts (the folks behind the Cincinnati Fringe Festival), the performance will benefit the Rape Crisis Center of Cincinnati and Planned Parenthood of Greater Cincinnati. ETC only has 190 seats, so to snag one, you need to call 513-621-2787 right away.

Thom Atkinson's play, CUTTINGS, which had its world premiere at ETC in October 2003, has been staged again, this time at Theatre Conspiracy in Fort Myers, Fla., where it was a finalist in the theater's annual new play contest. Atkinson (a versatile writer who won the 2004 Mercantile Library Fiction Competition with his short story, "Blue Highway," published in CityBeat in September (citybeat.com/2004-09-29/cover2.shtml) is earning solid reviews for the one-woman script he wrote for ETC actress Annie Fitzpatrick. "Holly" explores a childhood accident and how it has affected her subsequent life. Atkinson, a native Cincinnatian who directed Cuttings at ETC, says, "Holly's story is about loss and reconciliation, and it addresses the essential normalcy of the grotesque and the familiarity of our loneliness." In Florida, Atkinson is just a spectator and another actress is playing Holly.

But Cuttings is compelling theater: One critic, calling it "remarkable," says it's "the kind of play that critics and theater audiences live and hope for." When Cincinnati marks V-DAY 2005 on Feb. 13 with a reading of Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues, some familiar voices will be heard at a new venue, Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati (1127 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine). Fox 19's REGINA CARSWELL, who hosted the annual CEAs for CityBeat on Nov. 22, will be a reader, as will VICTORIA MORGAN, artistic director of the Cincinnati Ballet. Presented by Cincinnati Experimental Arts (the folks behind the Cincinnati Fringe Festival), the performance will benefit the Rape Crisis Center of Cincinnati and Planned Parenthood of Greater Cincinnati. ETC only has 190 seats, so to snag one, you need to call 513-621-2787 right away. ...

Thom Atkinson's play, CUTTINGS, which had its world premiere at ETC in October 2003, has been staged again, this time at Theatre Conspiracy in Fort Myers, Fla., where it was a finalist in the theater's annual new play contest. Atkinson (a versatile writer who won the 2004 Mercantile Library Fiction Competition with his short story, "Blue Highway," published in CityBeat in September (citybeat.com/2004-09-29/cover2.shtml) is earning solid reviews for the one-woman script he wrote for ETC actress Annie Fitzpatrick. "Holly" explores a childhood accident and how it has affected her subsequent life. Atkinson, a native Cincinnatian who directed Cuttings at ETC, says, "Holly's story is about loss and reconciliation, and it addresses the essential normalcy of the grotesque and the familiarity of our loneliness." In Florida, Atkinson is just a spectator and another actress is playing Holly. But Cuttings is compelling theater: One critic, calling it "remarkable," says it's "the kind of play that critics and theater audiences live and hope for." Another reviewer says it's a "daring, deftly written play" that "explores the fragile territory of the soul through one damaged but articulate character." Perhaps it's time for ETC to bring it back, or for another Cincinnati theater to put Cuttings into its next season. The haunting work was seen by no more than 500 people in 2003; an encore's in order. ...

Several weeks ago the Cincinnati theater community lost two familiar faces. First was JOE CONGER, who taught theater at Northern Kentucky University for 20 years, including 12 years as department chair. He directed shows at NKU, the Showboat, ETC and Kincaid Regional Theatre and trained many actors who appear regularly on local stages. Second was FRED GARY, since 1976 the regular piano player at Arnold's Bar & Grill, a favorite downtown hangout for actors and theatergoers. The quiet musician was a veteran musicologist who worked at the old College of Music (a predecessor of CCM) and at Eastman School of Music. Conger and Gary died in mid-November; their legacy lives on.

MINI REVIEWS
THE SANTALAND DIARIES and HAPPY HOLIDAYS, from New Edgecliff Theatre, are comic pieces by satirist David Sedaris. The former recounts his employment as an elf at Macy's; the latter is an imagined holiday letter from an overwrought woman who's picture-perfect family has disintegrated from suburban bliss to infanticide. Santaland is a genius piece of sardonic commentary, but it's based on Sedaris' own voice (culled from a series of radio commentaries); Holidays is a fictional portrait that's funny on the page but hard to accept in person. Both monologues feel forced onstage, even when a competent comic actor like Patrick Downey takes them on. (Rick Pender) Grade: C+

THE EIGHT: REINDEER MONOLOGUES, from the Know Theatre Tribe at the courtyard of Arnold's Bar & Grill (it's selling out regularly), is a satiric piece inspired by 1991 Congressional hearings for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. It's a series of "depositions" by Santa's reindeer about the jolly old elf's possible sexual misconduct. A lot of it is truly funny -- good a year ago, the show's stronger with the addition of Charley Clark as aggressive alpha-male Dasher, Daniel Davidson as gay Cupid (he could end up in your lap!) and Jim Stump as Rudolph's boozed-up, conflicted father, Donner -- but it turns so dark that no one's laughing at the end. (RP) Grade: B

 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
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