WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 
by Rick Pender 02.17.2012
Posted In: Theater at 11:09 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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Stage Door: Transmigration and Several Critic's Picks

Andrew Bovell’s Speaking in Tongues is a complicated noir-ish tale of marital deceit and cryptic crime that unfolds more clearly because of its accomplished four-actor cast, including local professionals Bruce Cromer (who’s played roles as varied as Ebenezer Scrooge for the Playhouse to King Lear for Cincinnati Shakespeare) and Amy Warner (a regular at Ensemble Theatre and Cincinnati Shakespeare). The show is a fascinating piece of theater that takes work to watch, follow and absorb. I suppose that some casual theatergoers will be put off by it, but if you like challenging drama and multi-layered acting, you’ll leave the theater with your gears spinning. I gave Speaking in Tongues a Critic’s Pick in this week's "Curtain Call" column. Onstage through March 4. Box office: 513-421-3888.If you’re a fan of the Cincinnati Fringe, you should check out the Transmigration Festival at CCM on the University of Cincinnati campus. I was there last evening and saw three of the six performances, especially enjoying Booth, an interactive piece by nine actors based on John Wilkes Booth’s final days. I also was entertained by The Eddie Shanahan Show, closely inspired by Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, but with some very modern twists. Attendees choose between six brief productions (30 minutes or less) that are completely created, promoted, enacted and staged by drama students. It’s a February boost of creativity, staged throughout the CCM facility, Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30, as well as a 2:30 matinee on Saturday. Admission is free, but you need to call the CCM box office to reserve your ticket: 513-556-4183.Another university option can be found at NKU. It’s Aaron Sorkin’s The Farnsworth Invention, telling the story of Phil Farnsworth who invented television but spent much of his life in legal wrangles with David Sarnoff, RCA executive and the first “media mogul.” Sorkin's credits — from The West Wing to The Social Network — are a guarantee of a heady, exciting tale based on real events. Tickets ($14 is the maximum price): 859-572-5464. Know Theater’s “comedy of anxiety” by Allison Moore, Collapse, opens with the collapse of a highway bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. But it’s about all kinds of things falling down — the economy, relationships. This is the kind of edgy script Know Theatre is known for, funny but meaningful. I gave the production a Critic’s Pick because it combines heart and humor. Collapse is presented with comic finesse and fine acting, especially by local professional actress Annie Fitzpatrick. Know’s best work of the season. Through March 3. Tickets: 513-300-5669. This weekend is your last chance to see the regional premiere of Matthew Lopez’s The Whipping Man at Ensemble Theatre (through Saturday evening). The historical play, set in Richmond, Va., in April 1865, just days after the end of the Civil War, is a gripping drama that’s beautifully staged and convincingly acted. I gave it a Critic’s Pick. The production has been extended a week because of demand for tickets; you won’t be contending with subscribers this weekend, so if you haven’t seen it yet — call for a ticket: 513-421-3555.Each week in Stage Door, Rick Pender offers theater tips for the weekend, often with a few pieces of theater news.
 
 

Macbeth (Review)

Cincinnati Shakespeare production is a strange brew

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s production of Shakespeare’s tragedy has bursts of chemistry and feeling mingled with drowsy places where the language washes over your brain, and the staging feels perfunctory. Macbeth has been given a contemporary setting, but it’s hard to see what the update adds to the play.  

A Winning Season

Cincinnati theater is off and running

0 Comments · Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Cincinnati’s Riverfest fireworks once fired the starting gun for local theater, but already several theaters have shows onstage. This week Cincinnati’s major theaters open their first productions of 2011-2012, launching a fall offering an unusual number of award-winning shows.  

Read My Scripts

0 Comments · Wednesday, August 17, 2011
While you might think of a play or a musical as entertainment — which it is — there’s another dimension worth considering. They are also works of literature, words written on a page meant to be spoken or perhaps sung. The success or failure of a performed work often hinges on the quality of the words in a play’s script or a musical’s book.  

Park It Here

0 Comments · Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Thanks to our own Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, productions of Julius Caesar and A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be coming to area parks during August and September. The latter play is a particular favorite since its setting is in a magical forest around Athens where lots of tomfoolery and mischief occurs, so it feels quite natural to watch it surrounded by trees and wildlife.  

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Review)

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company offers a fresh look and a fine cast

0 Comments · Monday, June 13, 2011
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s current production of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) is the regional premiere of a new version of the play first produced in 1987, and it’s much fresher. Instead of simply clowning around, the 2011 cast of Billy Chace, Justin McCombs and Brian Isaac Phillips truly throw themselves into the comedy, using acting skills usually reserved for more polished work.  

Two Gentlemen of Verona (Review)

Few motives or profound emotions in CSC’s latest production

0 Comments · Monday, May 9, 2011
Even the Bard’s byline doesn’t guarantee that that this early Shakespearean play is a comic gem. It has a few humorous moments, which do provide some respite in Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s current production, but they are few and far between in a silly tale that offers little motivation for its central characters and implausible solutions to their largely mean-spirited actions.  

The Handmaid's Tale (Review)

Cincy Shakes presents a frightening look at a possible not-too-distant future

0 Comments · Monday, April 4, 2011
Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel from 1985, The Handmaid’s Tale, tells a frightening story about a woman trapped in a not-too-distant future that seems even more real today than it did when the book was first published a quarter-century ago. A conservative overthrow of the U.S. government has created the Republic of Gilead, a theocracy in which women are subjugated to stereotypical roles.  

Cincinnati Theater Needs You

1 Comment · Wednesday, March 2, 2011
In August of last year, CityBeat’s Cincinnati Entertainment Awards (CEAs) for theater ended a run of 14 years by merging with the Acclaim Awards, a program established more recently by The Cincinnati Enquirer. As part of that merger, CityBeat offered to develop a new element that would preserve the CEA process of public voting whereby theater enthusiasts can cast ballots for onstage work they appreciate. To that end, the 2011 Acclaims will feature the newly established Cincinnati Theater Awards (CTAs) with results announced later this spring. That’s where your help is needed.  

Pride and Predjudice (Review)

Jane Austen adaptation saved by rewarding climax

0 Comments · Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Patience. That’s Jane Austen’s prescription for love woes of any kind, and it’s my advice for enjoying Pride and Prejudice, a Cincinnati Shakespeare Company production with a lot of talking, a lot of dancing and a romantic climax that makes it all worthwhile.  

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