Each week in Stage Door, Rick Pender offers theater tips for the weekend, often with a few pieces of theater news.
The Whipping Man is drawing big audiences for Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati. In fact, they’ve added several performances extending the closing date from Feb. 12 to Feb. 18. It’s the story of Simon, a dedicated former slave who remains in a ruined mansion in 1865 Richmond in the days just after the Civil War. Caleb, the wounded son of his former master, stumbles in (desperately needing some horrendous surgery) and then does John, another former slave, a young man raised side by side with Caleb. The slave-owning family was Jewish, and it’s almost time for Passover, which they must celebrate with limited means. It’s a powerful show about freedom and responsibility with a plot that will keep you guessing. As I noted recently in this week's Curtain Call column, director D. Lynn Meyers gets the most from her cast, especially Ken Early as Simon. This one is a must-see. Box office: 513-421-3555
Kristy Kemper, a senior at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, creates visually beautiful works of art filled with vibrant, lovely colors and stylistic, flowing Art Nouveau shapes and forms. The artist draws attention to the world of animals and their behaviors drawing us into a magical, beautiful and sometimes dangerous world.
Each week in Stage Door I offer theater tips for the weekend, sometimes with a few pieces of theater news.
The Whipping Man opened on Wednesday at Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati. The show made a big splash at Manhattan Theatre Club in New York last spring with Andre Braugher in the central role of Simon, a dedicated former slave who remains in a ruined mansion in 1865 Richmond in the days just after the Civil War. Caleb, the wounded son of his former master stumbles in (desperately needing some horrendous surgery) and then John, another former slave, a young man raised side by side with Caleb. The slave-owning family was Jewish, and it’s almost time for Passover, which they decide to celebrate. It’s a powerful show about freedom and responsibility with some jaw-dropping plot twists. Director D. Lynn Meyers gets the most from her cast. This one is a must-see. Onstage through Feb. 12.
The nominees for the 84th annual Academy Awards were announced this morning. Local-boy-done-very-very-good George Clooney, as expected, is up for this year's Actor in a Leading Role trophy for his work in The Descendants, while The Ides of March scored Clooney another nod for best Adapted Screenplay (the only nomination for the largely-locally-filmed flick). Below is the full list of noms. So — who's winning an Oscar this year?
There are lots of good choices for theatergoing this weekend. Enjoy these newly opened productions and your last chance to see an excellent production at the Playhouse.
Brian Harmon, an artist and educator from Taylor Mill, Ky., delights eyes with his photographic and installation artwork. Harmon uses his artwork as a means to communicate themes such as memory, memory loss and archiving. He took time out of his schedule to speak with ArtSeen about his artwork and his artistic methods.
I'm not the only one reporting on the advent of — and consternation surrounding — the phenomenon of tweeting (that is, sending 140-character e-messages) during performing arts events including theater. A CityBeat reader said "Amen and amen" to my Dec. 28 Curtain Call column in which I expressed concern that this would both distract other theatergoers and diminish the experience for anyone who's dividing their attention between action onstage and sending messages via his or her smart phone.
Here's another report, this one from today's issue of The Boston Globe. This feature suggests that some theaters might select a few "tweeters" with some theatrical knowledge to send messages during a show. That's an interesting wrinkle, creating 21st-century critics on a narrow scale.
I'd be grateful to hear more opinions on this topic.