Theatre Review: “Proof” at Theatre on the Square

Late last Sunday afternoon I drove to Massachusetts Avenue in downtown Indy to catch the 5:00 showing of “Proof” at Theatre on the Square.  It was…oh-my-GOODNESS wonderful.

This Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning drama was written by David Auburn.  Julianne Inskeep directed it here at TOTS, assisted by William Skaggs.  The technical director was James Trofatter.

The production elements in this show are beautiful and the acting is superb.  I forgot that I had seen all of these actors in other shows.  I forgot even that they were actors at all.  I laughed a lot throughout the show, but I cried from down in my belly during the last two or three scenes.

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Starting with the Chewy Center

I have a friend who always reads the last few pages of a book first.  Then she goes back and reads the whole thing from the beginning.  She says she can more fully enjoy the book if she knows what’s coming. 

I would never do that – and I am not going to spoil anything for you here, either – but I do sometimes go early to the multi-plex movie theater.  While I am waiting for my chosen movie to start, I pop in and out of the other viewing rooms to see if there is anything else I want to see from the beginning.  

It’s a little like crunching down on a new kind of hard candy to see if there is something surprisingly good inside.  Five minutes of boring is not necessarily enough to turn me off of a movie – sometimes you really do need to start at the beginning to fully appreciate a piece – but five minutes of hey! yowza! is enough to make me come back another time for the whole thing.  In other words, to buy a whole bag of the candy and enjoy each piece the way it was meant to be enjoyed.

Well, I don’t know if this analogy really works, but maybe you get the idea.

On Sunday afternoon I headed for Franklin to see the Our Town Players’ presentation of “Apt 3A,” by Jeff Daniels.  Unfortunately, I turned left at a point where I should have turned right and I was almost to Shelbyville at showtime.  By the time I found my way back to the theatre, it was too late to go in.

So…I read a book in the lobby until intermission and then I snuck in at the beginning of the second act.

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Theatre Review: “The Vagina Monologues” presented by Indy V-Day

On Saturday night I drove downtown to the Fountain Square neighborhood to see a staged reading of Eve Ensler’s play, “The Vagina Monologues.”  The venue was the Wheeler Arts Community building.  The reading was organized by Kelly Thomas to benefit The Julian Center.

This two-night, sold-out benefit was part of V-Day, which is “a global movement to end violence against women and girls that raises funds and awareness through benefit productions of Playwright/Founder Eve Ensler’s award winning play…” (from the program notes.)

It felt good to be helping these causes, of course, but I also just loved the show.  The collection of monologues that Ensler first performed in New York City in 1996 has been tweaked and expanded over the years.   The version I saw on Saturday night was thought-provoking.  It also inspired joy.

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Theatre Review: “Six Degrees of Separation” – a Stageworthy Production

On Friday night I drove through thickly falling snow to the Broad Ripple area of Indianapolis to see Stageworthy Productions’ presentaton of “Six Degrees of Separation,” by John Guare. The venue was the sanctuary of the Jesus Metropolitan Community Church.  Lori Raffel directed.  The producer was John Kastner.

This is a very cerebral show: it didn’t make me feel any strong emotions, but it did give me a lot to think about in terms of the elusive nature of intimacy, the iconic power of art, and the impossibility of ever completely knowing how our own actions affect other people.

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Already a change in “Habit” policy.

After a long conversation with Sue at the IRT box office this afternoon, I caved.  I accepted free tickets to see “The Power of One” and “The Piano Lesson.”  Less than two months as a theatre reviews blogger and I am back to accepting media passes.

Sigh…

I was not going to accept any more media passes from any theatre for two reasons: 

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Theatre Review: “West Side Story” at Beef and Boards

On Wednesday night I went with friends to Beef’n’Boards Dinner Theatre on the northwest side of Indy to see “West Side Story” – book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

I had never seen a staged version before, only the 1961 Academy Award-winning movie.  The movie was adapted from the 1957 Broadway production, which was directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins.  Wikipedia says that this was Sondheim’s Broadway debut.

I imagine that when this show first appeared it was considered edgy (or daring or whatever they called “edgy” back in the late 1950s.)  In some ways, the show seems quaint now.  The “Bop! Bam! Daddy-o!” language, for example.  The clean-cut “juvenile delinquent” clothes, for another.  The stylized violence, for another.

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Theatre Review: “Dearly Departed” in Martinsville

Last Sunday afternoon I drove a bit south of Indy to Martinsville to see “Dearly Departed,” by David Bottrell and Jessie Jones.  It was directed by Brent Wooldridge and presented at “The Depot” by The Martinsville Arts Council’s Merry MAC Players.

I was charmed and delighted by this wacky piece.  It manages to take every negative stereotype of “country white” (how is that for a euphemism?) and present it affectionately, even touchingly.  Also, while this show pokes fun at families, it also celebrates them.

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Storytelling Review: “Punching the Lard: True Stories and Tall Tales” by Bil Lepp

Storyteller Bil LeppOn Saturday night I drove downtown to the Indiana History Center for storyteller Bil Lepp’s presentation of “Punching the Lard: True Stories & Tall Tales.”  It was produced by Storytelling Arts of Indiana and sponsored by Andrew Hamaker.

The IHC’s Frank and Katrina Basile Theater was packed.  Earlier in the evening, several people had attended Storytelling Arts of Indiana’s annual fund-raiser dinner and auction.  This year marks the 20th anniversary of Storytelling Arts of Indiana’s founding by Ellen Munds, Nancy Barton, and Bob Sander.  Storyteller Celestine Bloomfield shared a beautiful five-minute slideshow that gave highlights from Hoosier Storytelling Festivals and Story Theatre series over the years.  The slide show brought back many, many good memories.  The art of storytelling includes such a wide and deep range of styles and material!

Bil Lepp’s style is sexy, mischievous, and wholesome, all at the same time.  What is that line from the West Wing TV show?  “Women want to sleep with him and men want to drink a beer with him.”

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Theatre Review: “Unmerciful Good Fortune” at the Alley Theater

On Friday night I drove downtown to the Alley Theater to see the opening night performance of “Unmerciful Good Fortune,” written by Edwin Sanchez and directed by Carrie Schlatter.

Afterwards I sat in my car and sobbed for a good long while.  The cumulative effect of this intense drama is a satisfying catharsis.

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Housekeeping

My new business cards for Indy Theatre Habit arrived in the mail today!

They look a little different from what I imagined when I filled out the online template, but I am still delighted.  Now I will have something tidy to hand to people who ask me to repeat the name of my blog, rather than tearing off a corner from a theatre program and scribbling down the url.

I have another housekeeping chore that I am going to accomplish in this post: I am going to list all of the shows that I saw in 2007 with the names of their theatres, playwrights, directors, design team members, cast, and crew.  This way, whenever I am trying to remember what other show I have seen someone in, I can use the “Search” thingie at the top of my blog theme to find out.

I am sorry that this makes for a somewhat long and boring post, but what can I say?  The librarian in me insists upon it.  Ultimately it will be a help to everyone, I think, so I ask your patience.

Also, I will not be able to complete this job before I have to leave for the theatre tonight.  I am just going to get it started in order to lock it in place at this point in the blog.  I will fill in the blanks over the next week or so, in between working at my day job and, of course, seeing and writing about more shows.  Yay!  More shows!

In 2007, I saw:

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