Work a little harder and see something unexpected. That's my theme for this weekend. Theater shouldn't always make you laugh or even smile. Sometimes a playwright sets out to make you uncomfortable or to portray characters who are thoroughly unlikeable. Harold Pinter (pictured) did that a generation ago, and Adam Rapp does it today. Pinter's Ashes to Ashes gets a quick production on Saturday and Sunday evenings at Hebrew Union College.
The show —featuring top local actors Dale Hodges and Kevin Crowley — is a drama about a man and a woman in a difficult conversation about her abusive ex-lover. As she recalls the violence she has experienced, her vision expands to the violence of the world and she becomes one with all victims of political atrocities.
Ashes to Ashes is presented by Cincinnati Psychoanalytic Institute, which arranged speakers (a psychoanalyst and a Holocaust expert) to discuss the issues in the play after each performance. Find ticket and more information here.
Rapp's plays tend to focus on contemporary young people with unbalanced lives. His Red Light Winter is the story of two former college buddies who decide to take a fantasy vacation in Amsterdam, pursuing the vices that aren't acceptable in the U.S. They meet and compete for the attentions of a prostitute, and things don't end happily. The play is an examination of the impact friends and strangers can have on one another. It's being presented by CCM Drama on the UC Campus at the Cohen Family Studio Theater.
Tickets are free, but you do need to make a reservation. Call the box office at 513-556-4183 to make yours. For more on the production, click here.
You might not be entertained by either work, but you'll see the world in some different ways.