If you're up for something newer, the Cincinnati Playhouse presents the world premiere of John Yearley's LEAP starting Thursday on the Shelterhouse stage. It's the story of a man who uses the chaos of 9/11 in New York City to escape his disintegrating marriage and life. An avalanche of Cincinnati theater crashes down on Thursday -- from Shakespeare to a world premiere at the Cincinnati Playhouse.
CSF's artistic director, BRIAN ISAAC PHILLIPS, has fallen in love with TROILUS & CRESSIDA, written right after Hamlet, but infrequently staged for more than three centuries. "It's a beast of a show," Phillips says, noting its huge cast of characters. But he thinks the resistance to produce it stems from its dark tone: "It's a biting commentary on love and war that I don't think people wanted to see." Phillips is directing, using a contemporary setting -- "wearing desert camo, drab sweaters, the sound of mortars, a green chemical ooze lighting effect." He likens Troilus to Romeo & Juliet "on a really bad acid trip -- and not that friendly shit that makes you see bluebirds." The fact that Troilus is not a well known work appeals to Phillips: People will be on the edge of their seats, he says, because this is not a familiar story. Tickets: 513-381-2283. ...
If you're up for something newer, the Cincinnati Playhouse presents the world premiere of John Yearley's LEAP starting Thursday on the Shelterhouse stage. It's the story of a man who uses the chaos of 9/11 in New York City to escape his disintegrating marriage and life. Sitting in the quiet Playhouse lobby to discuss his play, Yearley mentions some acting training that taught him "what you come up with spontaneously in the moment is 100 times more interesting than anything you will ever plan." Yearley says his central character, simply called "Man," finds "this bizarre path that takes him where he needs to be." Yearley has followed his own path, saying he's been "ridiculously lucky," having several plays staged as much by happenstance as hard work. Not that he hasn't worked hard -- this is his eighth draft of Leap. But his script was not submitted to the Playhouse's Ed Stern through routine channels: Instead it came via James Wolk, a scenic designer who has designed set for the Playhouse. Wolk read Leap as a judge for a playwriting competition in New York City. He liked Yearley's script and offered to pass it along. As to his play's appeal, Yearley, who is 35, says, "I write the kind of theater I'd like to see. I sometimes find theater stodgy; that's why some people don't go. My play is very contemporary; it's my sense of humor, but it's not jokey. People who like the arts but don't necessarily like theater have really liked this show." Tickets: 513-421-3888. ...
You can see the first local production of a script by the edgy playwright, Sarah Kane. Her 4.48 PSYCHOSIS is being staged by the Know Theatre Tribe. Check out pay-what-you-can performances, Thursday through Saturday, at Gabriel's Corner (it runs through March 12). At the same location on Tuesday at 7 p.m., you can hear a reading of another of Kane's unflinching scripts, BLASTED, presented by Know and the WOMEN'S THEATRE INITIATIVE. 513-300-5669. ...
Northern Kentucky University is staging the cult hit, BATBOY: THE MUSICAL, based on an oddball story from The National Enquirer. Winner of the several 2001 awards as the Best Off-Broadway musical, it too opens Thursday. At NKU's Black Box Theatre through Feb. 27. Tickets: 859-572-5464.
CLEAR STAGE CINCINNATI is presenting David Mamet's 1992 play, OLEANNA, at the Fifth Third Bank Theater through Sunday. There's an ebb and flow to the choreography of power between a college professor (David Hughes) and a struggling student (CCM senior Julianna Bloodgood). His distracted arrogance and her confusion (is it real or feigned?) result in charges of sexual harassment and worse, delivered in Mamet's staccato dialogue. CEA Hall of Fame director Michael Burnham directs this taut, 90-minute production -- a frequently ringing phone punctuates the tension -- that will leave you wondering who's right and who's wrong. (Rick Pender) grade: A
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