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New Edgecliff Theatre

Theaters, Actors, Etc.

By Rick Pender · August 3rd, 2005 · Curtain Call
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New Edgecliff Theatre will premiere a work by playwright/ puppeteer Matt Johnson, pictured here performing his piece, You Don't Exist to Me during the 2004 Fringe Festival
Rich Sofranko

New Edgecliff Theatre will premiere a work by playwright/ puppeteer Matt Johnson, pictured here performing his piece, You Don't Exist to Me during the 2004 Fringe Festival



If you want my opinion (that's why you read this column, right?), our local theater scene keeps getting better and better. The latest case in point is the 2005-2006 season announcement by NEW EDGECLIFF THEATRE (NET) -- four plays, including a world premiere holiday musical, several works new to local audiences and one classic by an American playwright whose work is always worth revisiting. After four years of David Sedaris' The Santaland Diaries (funny the first year but a bit stale in recent iterations), NET has moved on to a new play by Matt Johnson, who acts and directs for the Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival (CSF). 3 Times the Tail (Dec. 1-18) will feature puppetry by Johnson (his puppet-driven You Don't Exist to Me was the Pick of the Fringe Critic's Choice during the 2004 Fringe Festival) and Aretta Baumgardner. NET's artistic director, Elizabeth A. Harris says Johnson's play "uses three favorite fairy tales to hilariously tell a story in two parts that focuses on striving to obtain our dreams and those we hurt along the way, including those we love the most, our family." Johnson is emerging as a diverse writer for local stages; his one-woman play, Drinking Alone, is a nominee for a 2005 Cincinnati Entertainment Award as one of four choices for Best Premiere. NET takes a classic turn with David Mamet's 1975 drama, American Buffalo (March 2-19, 2006), an early work by the staccato playwright about three hoodlums and their twisted view of capitalism. Harris will act with another CSF veteran, Chris Guthrie, for the local premiere of Jane Martin's prize winner, Jack and Jill (May 18-June 4, 2006), an unconventional look at American romance and marriage. The season will wrap up with another local premiere, David Hare's The Blue Room (July 6-23, 2006), a piece about sex and power that created a stir in a 1998 London production featuring a naked Nicole Kidman.

Each of these promises to be gripping and edgy pieces of theater; all will be performed at the Columbia Performance Center in Columbia-Tusculum. Info:

New Edgecliff Theatre will premiere a work by playwright/ puppeteer Matt Johnson, pictured here performing his piece, You Don't Exist to Me during the 2004 Fringe Festival
Rich Sofranko

New Edgecliff Theatre will premiere a work by playwright/ puppeteer Matt Johnson, pictured here performing his piece, You Don't Exist to Me during the 2004 Fringe Festival



If you want my opinion (that's why you read this column, right?), our local theater scene keeps getting better and better. The latest case in point is the 2005-2006 season announcement by NEW EDGECLIFF THEATRE (NET) -- four plays, including a world premiere holiday musical, several works new to local audiences and one classic by an American playwright whose work is always worth revisiting. After four years of David Sedaris' The Santaland Diaries (funny the first year but a bit stale in recent iterations), NET has moved on to a new play by Matt Johnson, who acts and directs for the Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival (CSF). 3 Times the Tail (Dec. 1-18) will feature puppetry by Johnson (his puppet-driven You Don't Exist to Me was the Pick of the Fringe Critic's Choice during the 2004 Fringe Festival) and Aretta Baumgardner. NET's artistic director, Elizabeth A. Harris says Johnson's play "uses three favorite fairy tales to hilariously tell a story in two parts that focuses on striving to obtain our dreams and those we hurt along the way, including those we love the most, our family." Johnson is emerging as a diverse writer for local stages; his one-woman play, Drinking Alone, is a nominee for a 2005 Cincinnati Entertainment Award as one of four choices for Best Premiere. NET takes a classic turn with David Mamet's 1975 drama, American Buffalo (March 2-19, 2006), an early work by the staccato playwright about three hoodlums and their twisted view of capitalism. Harris will act with another CSF veteran, Chris Guthrie, for the local premiere of Jane Martin's prize winner, Jack and Jill (May 18-June 4, 2006), an unconventional look at American romance and marriage. The season will wrap up with another local premiere, David Hare's The Blue Room (July 6-23, 2006), a piece about sex and power that created a stir in a 1998 London production featuring a naked Nicole Kidman. Each of these promises to be gripping and edgy pieces of theater; all will be performed at the Columbia Performance Center in Columbia-Tusculum. Info: www.newedgecliff.com ...

Despite my enthusiasm for groups like NET, there's also some sad news this week: The WOMEN'S THEATRE INITIATIVE (WTI), which just presented its fifth annual production, Dreampuffs of War, growing out of its community play selection process (which involves public readings), has decided that "in spite of a loyal core of friends, there is not a large enough audience to justify mounting full productions of ... plays." WTI drew only 174 paid attendees to its six performances of Dreampuffs (July 14-23). Organizer Kristin Dietsche wrote in a recent e-mail that Dreampuffs will be WTI's final production "at least for a while." But she adds, "it's not the end of WTI. We are currently developing a new project that will support our mission in a way that better fits our audience, resources and mission." She adds, "in the meantime, we still love to read plays by women." WTI's final reading will be Aug. 16 at 6:30 p.m. at Sidewinder Coffee & Tea (4181 Hamilton Ave., Northside). Turn out and encourage this worthy group with your support.

MINI REVIEWS
At CINCINNATI SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged) crams all 37 plays (or at least passing mention of them) into less than two hours of frothy foolishness. This manic mayhem features three members of CSF's "Young Company" -- Rob Jansen (an easily exasperated pseudo-intellectual), Joshua Neth (a slapstick hick who gets stuck with the women's roles) and Jeff Sanders (a preening, pretentious "actor"). They have a blast, and audiences get to play several parts in the hilarity. A lot of updated topical references have been added: Here's a whiff of George Bush, there a reference to Paris Hilton. On the back wall is a wary image of the Bard, perhaps a bit nervous about what's happening onstage. Extended through Aug. 14. (Rick Pender) Grade: A-

 
 
 
 

 

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