Storytelling Review: “Tales of Now and Zen” by Motoko

Storyteller Motoko 

On Saturday, January 10, 2009, I drove downtown to the Indiana History Center to hear storyteller Motoko share “Stories of Now and Zen.”  The program was presented by Storytelling Arts of Indiana as part of the Barnes & Thornburg Storytellers Theater presenting the Creative Street Media Group Storytelling Series.  This particular event was sponsored by Marcia Baker.

It was a lovely evening of storytelling.

Continue reading Storytelling Review: “Tales of Now and Zen” by Motoko

Theatre Review: “Fiddle Shticks” by Three Dollar Bill Comedy Company at Comedy Sportz

Cast of the Three Dollar Bill Comedy Company

I have now been to two “editions” of the Three Dollar Bill Comedy Company’s “Fiddle Shticks” show at Comedy Sportz.  The first was on Friday, January 9, 2009.  The second was the following Friday, January 16, 2009.  The show is every Friday night at 10 pm for six weeks (through February 13, 2009.)  Each week, the company repeats audience favorites from the previous week and incorporates a few new sketches that are based on up-to-the-minute current events.  You must be 17 years old or older to attend.

Continue reading Theatre Review: “Fiddle Shticks” by Three Dollar Bill Comedy Company at Comedy Sportz

2009 Alex Award Winners Announced

At last, the Alex winners! - phone photo at the final committee meeting by Kaite Stover 

Nick Hornby calls the Alex Award the “not boring” book award.  It is given to ten good books that were published in the previous year for adults but which have special appeal to teen readers as well.  If you could take only ten new books with you for recreational reading on a deserted island, the Alex ten would make a satisfying bundle.

Here is the official press release from this morning.  I’d like to tell you just a quick, tiny bit about this year’s winners, too, because I am one of the nine committee members from around the country who selected them.  I am very proud of our list.  They are all “wow” reads.  They are all worth your time.

Continue reading 2009 Alex Award Winners Announced

Books for Me, Theatre for You?

“Snowcaps Near Denver” - photo by Bryan Siders 

For the next several days I will be at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting in Denver, Colorado.  I am a member of the Alex Award committee, which recognizes ten books that were published for adults in the past year but which have special appeal to teen readers as well.  We have been reading all year.  We have to make our final decisions this weekend.

What does that have to do with theatre?  Nothing, and usually I do try to keep my day job separate from this blog.  However, I wanted to let you know why I would not be seeing any Indianapolis theatre this weekend.

If I were going to be home this weekend, I would:

Continue reading Books for Me, Theatre for You?

“Of the People” Is Up and Running – THANK YOU!

Abraham Lincoln photo by Alexander Hessler - courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society 

If you have been reading my blog all along, you know that for the past six months I have been working on a commission from the Indiana Historical Society and Storytelling Arts of Indiana.  It is part of their “Sharing Hoosier History through Stories” collaboration.

Well, yesterday (Sunday), I premiered it!

I learned a lot from the premiere, and I have a lot of notes for myself about how to improve the program for the future, but I also had a wonderful time during this first public sharing of it.  My “high” afterwards was due in large part to the attentive, supportive listening of the 88 people who attended.

THANK YOU, everyone!

The collaboration between Storytelling Arts and the IHS includes grant money to help museums, historical societies, libraries, and other organizations who would like to host this new Lincoln program during 2009, which is the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth.  For more information, please call Erin Kelley, Coordinator of Public Programs for the Indiana History Center, at 317-234-0427.

Hope Baugh – www.IndyTheatreHabit.com

P.S. – During the impromptu “Lincoln stories swap” at the end of my premiere on Sunday, one person told about how the Lincolns had had to ask several couples before they found two people who were available and willing to go with them to the theatre to see “Our American Cousin” on April 14, 1865.

I loved that he told that story.  I added that I sympathized with the Lincolns because sometimes it is hard for me to find people to go with me to the theatre, too, and I get free tickets! 

I want to clarify that it is not hard to find people who want to go to theatre “more often” but it is sometimes very time-consuming to pin down who is going to what with me when.  So far, I have only met one person (Joe Boling) who wants to go to five shows a weekend the way I do, and no person who is free to go with me to all five shows.  That’s why I said I am always looking for more theatre buddies to add to my list.

I have enjoyed “sharing the wealth” of my media passes with Dawn, Adrienne, Chris, Susan G., Ned, Dane, Jack, David, Trevor, Sandra, Christine, Dan, and Kristin (I think that’s everyone.)  I want to make sure I say clearly to these people, “I enjoy going to the theatre with you, and I will definitely ask you again!”

Hope

“Fiddle Shticks” and Lincoln Stories This Weekend

Portrait of Abraham Lincoln by Alexander Hesler, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society

“Of the People: Stories and Images of Abraham Lincoln,” by Hope Baugh (that’s me!), premieres this Sunday, January 18, 2009 from 4:00-6:00 pm at the Indiana History Center (not to be confused with the Indiana State Museum.) 

This program is part of the Sharing Hoosier History through Stories collaboration between the Indiana Historical Society and Storytelling Arts of Indiana.  Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the door and may be purchased online before 5:00 Saturday night via the Storytelling Arts of Indiana website or by calling 317-232-1882.

“Of the People” is not a theatre piece, per se.  It is just me on stage, telling you some of the stories that made me fall in love with Abraham Lincoln and showing you PowerPoint slides of some of the photographs and other items in the Indiana Historical Society’s vast collection.

But it will be live, and it will be “crafted” (well crafted, I hope!) and if you are at all interested in our 16th president, I think you will enjoy it.  If you are available Sunday afternoon, I would be honored and grateful to have you in my audience.  The stories only come alive when all three elements – teller, story, and listener – are present.

Coming soon here on my blog:

** A review of “Fiddle Shticks,” the new, original sketch comedy revue presented by Three Dollar Bill Comedy Company at the Indianapolis Comedy Sportz theatre.  I went to the opening show last Friday night, and I am going to try to make it to the second version of it at 10:00 tonight.  It is every Friday night for six weeks.  I have an Encore show to judge first tonight, so we’ll see how the timing works out.  In any case, I had a wonderful time last week, and every week is supposed to be a little different.  I loved the writing last week, and the six players were a collective hoot – subtle and brilliant in their individual portrayals and in their interactions with each other. 

By the way, you must be 17 years or older to attend.  I don’t remember a lot of curse words (maybe it’s just because I’ve slept since last Friday) but no topic is sacred.

Also, today when I called to make my reservation, CS manager Troy Hannah gave me several minutes of his time to answer several of my questions about the Comedy Sportz club itself, so I will be sharing that conversation, too.  That man is articulate!  It was fun to talk with him.

** A review of storyteller Motoko’s funny and thought-provoking presentation of “Tales of Now and Zen” last Saturday night.  Even more than her stories, I appreciated the chance to chat with Motoko a bit afterwards.  She generously asked about my Lincoln program and I poured out anxiety that I hadn’t even realized I had been carrying.  She re-grounded me by reminding me of two important things that I had forgotten:  “The audience is on your side” and “It’s not about you, it’s about Lincoln.” 

** A review of Dance Kaleidoscope’s colorful “Magical Mystery Tour.”   This colorful, high-energy presentation was a real treat, too.  I now have crushes on several of the dancers and on creative cutie David Hochoy, DK’s artistic director and choreographer.

One can never have too many crushes.

My day job is unusually busy these next couple of weeks, too, so I ask your patience in terms of my blog.  As always, thanks for reading.  ‘See you at the theatres!

Hope Baugh – www.IndyTheatreHabit.com

Theatre Review: “Love Person” at the Phoenix Theatre

LtoR:  Karen Irwin, Tami Lee Satimyer, Sandeep Pamireddy, Angela Plank - photo by Julie Curry

Last Thursday my friend Adrienne and I met at the Phoenix Theatre downtown for the opening night of “Love Person,” by Aditi Brennan Kapil. 

It is presented here in Indianapolis as a National New Play Network rolling world premiere, shared with the Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis and the Marin Theatre Company in Mill Valley, California.  Bryan Fonseca directed it for the Phoenix.

I bet that every reviewer will want to describe the piece as “textured.”  I call first dibs on the word.

This uniquely textured, double love story is an exquisite celebration of everything that is complex, frustrating, enjoyable, and essential about communication.

For a communication junkie like me, this show is an almost religious experience.

Continue reading Theatre Review: “Love Person” at the Phoenix Theatre

Theatre Review: “A Night in Vegas” via TOTS

The cast of “A Night in Vegas” at Theatre on the Square

This past weekend I indulged my theatre habit in a way I haven’t since before I started this blog.  I saw one show twice and another show thrice.

I won’t have time to write a review of “Edges,” but I enjoyed all three performances that I saw of it, especially since co-workers from my day job accompanied me to two of them.  I heard something new and satisfying every time.

I hadn’t planned on seeing “A Night in Vegas” more than once, but the first time, Friday night, made me laugh a lot, both during the show and in the car again on the way home.  On Sunday afternoon I realized that I had time to tuck another viewing of “Vegas” in between the two “Edges” performances, so I went for it. 

Both shows were running last weekend at Theatre on the Square.   “Edges” has closed, but “Vegas” continues through Saturday, January 31, 2009.

“Vegas” is TOTS’ annual “naked boy in January show.”  It contains male nudity and stories of gay relationships.  Men kiss, hump, and snuggle each other.  If any of that offends you, well, then you probably shouldn’t go.

You also probably should not read the rest of this review.  I’m going to use the “p” word, for example.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

However, some of the biggest laughs and the pithiest food for thought in the show come from things that either have nothing to do with being gay or which transcend sexual orientation.  The playwright, Joe Marshall, explores a wide variety of expressions of love, sex, and affection within the homosexual framework.   Director Ron Spencer, assisted by John Fullam, and the cast bring the stories to life with humor that is more layered than mere campiness.

Continue reading Theatre Review: “A Night in Vegas” via TOTS

St. Louis Siren Call?

“St. Louis Arch 8″ - photo by Christina Rutz

Last night I drove downtown to see “A Night in Vegas” at the Theatre on the Square’s second stage.  I enjoyed this funny show about gay relationships and will post a detailed review of it in the next day or so.

In the meantime, I’d like to write about a couple of casual conversations that I had in the lobby – separate conversations that turned out to be related and which got me thinking about Indy’s theatre scene in general.

Continue reading St. Louis Siren Call?