I will post soon about the Indy Fringe Festival fundraising event last Thursday, which featured the wonderful Canadian writer/playwright/director/storyteller T. J. Dawe. I will also post soon about the exhilerating 2008 annual two-day meeting of the National New Play Network, which convened here in Indianapolis this year.
But to tide you (my reader) and me (the compulsive blogger) over while I am working on those two longer pieces, I am going to tell you briefly about my theatre adventures this afternoon.
I was “high” from hearing about new plays all weekend and I was driving two of the participants from the New Play Network annual meeting to the airport. I had really enjoyed spending time with them, and I was sad to see them go.
We passed the Theatre on the Square (TOTS) and I saw that the twinkle lights were on in the window.
“Hey!” I thought. “After I drop these guys off, I bet I could be back in time to catch the 5:00 show! Enough talking about plays, at least for the time being. I want to see one!”
Do I have a theatre habit, or what?
I also wanted to hear Erin Cohenour and Luke McConnell sing again.
Also, I had been thinking of something that someone told me at breakfast this morning. It was about the way his hometown newspaper’s theatre reviewer approaches reviewing. “He writes about the show he wished he had seen, instead of the show he saw.”
When I wrote about “Five Course Love” last week, I mentioned wishing for live musical accompaniment and a richer set. Had I been guilty of doing the same thing as that other reviewer?
For a number of reasons, then, on my way back from the airport I stopped by TOTS and bought a ticket.
This time I sat in the very top, back row. And this time I appreciated more fully the set designed by director Ron Spencer and technical director James Trofatter. From the back row, you get a richer visual that includes the pleasing lines of the set pieces and the stencilled light patterns at the sides and/or back. There were leaning towers of Pisa for the scene in the Italian restaurant, for example, and huge Texas maps for the barbecue place, plus a gorgeous sun for the Mexican scene and magical stars for the diner scene. This time, too, I noticed the shimmery turquoise globes topping the set pieces. And I appreciated the realism of the swinging doors into the kitchen.
So…my advice to you if you decide to see this show is to sit in the front row if you like to see lots of bare skin up close and to interact with the actors with your eyes. Sit in the back row if you want to see the set to full advantage.
Actor Scott Martin sounded much better, much healthier, this time, although I think he still needs to do whatever singers do when they have lots and lots of songs to sing in order to keep up their vocal strength until the end. I am, obviously, the wrong person to give advice about this, but I know there must be techniques or strategies or practices or something.
I enjoyed Cohenour and McConnell again, as expected.
I still wished for live musical accompaniment, though, even though I know it costs the theatre more.
I got to sit next to actor and playwright Matthew Roland. I think he and I could compete in a shyness contest together and tie, but we managed to have an enjoyable conversation. I enjoyed it, anyway. I hope he did, too.
I was surprised to learn that he had been in the Phoenix Theatre’s first bilingual show last year. I am sorry that I did not see that show! But what can I say: it was before I had developed my theatre habit. Roland and I traded impressions of this year’s show, “Our Dad Is In Atlantis” and agreed that we hope the Phoenix does another bilingual show next year.
In the meantime, I am looking forward to seeing Roland in the Heartland Actors’ Repertory Theatre (HART) production of “The Merchant of Venice” on the stage in White River State Park. Performances will be free to the public and will take place August 1, 2, and 3, 2008.
After “Five Course Love,” I got a chance to talk with Scott Martin a bit, which was nice. I also accepted an invitation to walk down to the Chatham Tap with Cohenour and McConnell, plus the show’s stage manager, Jon Lewis, and actor Ian Cruz, for some dinner. Cruz had just closed “Victor Victoria” today at the American Cabaret Theatre (ACT.)
After a while, McConnell’s wife, actor/director Rebecca McConnell, and Cruz’ wife, actor Nathalie Cruz, joined us. Nathalie had just closed “Victor Victoria,” too, but she had to go straight from that performance to a rehearsal of “Swing!” which opens at the ACT on June 13th. Rebecca is in rehearsals for the Our Town Players’ production of “Zombie Prom,” which opens on July 11 at the Franklin Cultural Arts and Recreation Center.
It was fun to sit out on the back porch of the Chatham Tap and hear about everyone’s shows, about their hopes for upcoming auditions, and their gossip and stories from a wide variety of shows, past and present.
It was also a relief(!) to finally learn the secret of what I thought was a little tea shop on the second floor of a building next door that is set back from the street. I had been walking past that alley for months, seeing the “open” sign lit up and wondering how in the world the place stayed in business if no one could get up there. It had been driving me crazy!
Tonight my dinner companions told me that even though there are tables and chairs set up on the balcony of that little place, it is not a tea shop after all but rather the Metro Gift Shop, aka the “Metro’s sex toy shop.” You get to it by going through the Metro Bar, whose entrance is on Massachusetts Ave.
I am glad to have the mystery solved, and I applaud Metro’s discretion…but wouldn’t it have been fun to go to a secret garden-like tea shop up there? Ah, well.
That concludes my blog posting for tonight. More soon about the Indy Fringe and the National New Play Network. Oh! And Five Course Love continues at TOTS for two more weekends. Please call 317-685-TOTS to make a reservation.
Hope Baugh – www.IndyTheatreHabit.com