Choreographer-director Diana Ford blends song, dance, poetry, videotape, projected images and music in a 90-minute collage of sound and movement that examines problems in contemporary society. Five dancers and a poet participate live.
Sometimes it's good to go away to get a little perspective. Two weeks ago, I attended the annual conference of the American Theatre Critics Association in Sarasota, Fla., a city that was new to me. I'll go back another time for theater in particular and arts and culture in general. A dark thread ran through this conference, since many ATCA members are victims of a sea change in journalism that's diminishing arts coverage by newspapers.
As the trees begin to put forth their leaves, it feels right that new play scripts are popping up in several locations around the Tristate. Cincinnati might be a mid-sized city, but we definitely have a theater scene that contributes to the future of the art form.
There's a twisted thread running through human nature that too often revels in persecuting people who are different. A thread in the spirit of some that necessarily answers this tendency, one that might be bent but not broken despite vile treatment, often counters it. That's the focus of Martin Sherman's 30-year-old play 'Bent,' getting its first-ever professional Cincinnati production by New Stage Collective.
For some reason, February and March seem to be a time when many theaters go into creativity overdrive and produce new works. I recently attended the fourth annual Colorado New Play Summit, presented by the Denver Center Theatre Company, where I heard readings of four new scripts plus a revised version of Meredith Willson's 1960 musical 'The Unsinkable Molly Brown' that's working its way toward an eventual Broadway production.
All too often, August Wilson is termed a great African-American playwright. That's foolishness. Go see 'Gem of the Ocean' at Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati and tell me if you can think of a better script by any American playwright, one with more poetry, emotion or affecting characters.
Cincinnati Playwright Joseph McDonough has a new show onstage at the Playhouse, his third in six years, making him that theater's most frequently presented playwright since 2000. And with good reason: His scripts are evocative, lyrical and always engaging.
Big stories in the news — events like 9/11 and the Iraq War — have been the focus of many plays and films during the past several years. They are points of reference in Dying City, a 2007 play by Christopher Shinn that portrays the effects of such world-changing events in the context of a small but powerful personal drama. New Stage Collective is giving the play its local premiere, the first work by Shinn presented on a Cincinnati stage. His provocative script and this strong production will warm up the January theater scene.