“Midwestern Hemisphere” and “The Job”

Sam Fain in “Midwestern Hemisphere”Last Sunday evening (4/13/08), I went to the Artsgarden to see “Midwestern Hemisphere” a second time.  I didn’t think it was possible to enjoy the piece more than I had the first time, but I did.   What an enjoyable show!

I appreciated the deftness of Laura Glover’s lighting design even more this time.

And I fell in love with the six actors – Sam Fain as Harrison, Robert Neal as Jerry, Kelsie Coughlin as Miranda, Claire Wilcher as Rebekka, Frank Shelton as Tommy, and Megan McKinney as Sue – all over again.

I thought I was going to have an accident during Rebekka’s uncontrollable laughing scene, it was so funny.  Seriously: I was glad I had a sweater with me that I could wrap around my hips if I had to.

There was an additional funny touch during intermission this time: the director, Michael Shelton, passed out “minutes from the neighborhood meeting.”

Also this time, I paid more attention to the screening of the short film, “The Job,” before the show began.  I like movies well enough, but given a choice, I would usually rather spend a night out at a live performance rather than at a movie theatre.  However, I was delighted by this short film about immigration.  Everyone looks so sharp and elegant at the beginning…and then comes a hilarious twist!  It is a powerful “What if?” in a tiny, elegant package.  Screaming Frog Productions created it.

It made me want to check out the whole Indianapolis International Film Festival, coming up April 23 – May 3.  If all of the festival films are as funny and thought-provoking and well done as “The Job,” it would be worth giving up a night of live theatre or two to explore the film festival.

Speaking of upcoming events, Andria Parera, the box office manager for the Heartland Actors’ Repertory Theatre, which is the group that produced “Midwestern Hemisphere,” gave me a postcard advertising HART’s next event, which will be a free performance of William Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice.”  That show will take place on August 1st, 2nd, and 3rd at the White River State Park in downtown Indy.  It will be part of a series of free performances (mostly musical) from a variety of Indianapolis arts organizations.

The postcard says that Chuck Goad and Ryan Artzberger will act in it, which makes Shakespeare doubly attractive.

Also at “Midwestern Hemisphere” last Sunday night, I ran into actor Dane Rogers.  He was there with actor April Armstrong and director Matt Cunningham. 

I didn’t get to talk with Cunningham much (what can I say?  sometimes a paralyzing shyness strikes me from out of the blue!) but I hope to be able to catch the Indiana premiere of “bare” at the Wheeler Arts Center at the end of July.   It will only run one weekend – July 24-27 – but the Thursday-Saturday run includes both a Saturday and a Sunday matinee, which is especially useful to someone with a heavy theatre habit, like me.

Rogers and Armstrong are both in “Victor Victoria,” which opens at the American Cabaret Theatre on April 25. I had penciled that into my calendar a long time ago.  (Although I have not made a reservation yet, I am hoping to see it on Sunday, April 27.  Maybe I will see you there, too?)

And finally, I shared a hug with director Bryan Fonseca, whose production of “Black Gold” had just opened at the Phoenix Theatre.  I got a chance to see this rolling world premiere of a new play by Seth Rozin this past Thursday and loved it.  More about this in my next post.

Hope Baugh – www.IndyTheatreHabit.com

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