Theatre Review: “Spring Cleaning” by Indiana Playmakers

On Sunday, February 14, 2010, I drove to Massachusetts Avenue in downtown Indianapolis to see an anthology show from a group called the Indiana Playmakers.  The collection of eight short plays by eight different Indiana playwrights was called “Spring Cleaning.”  It was presented by (and at) Theatre on the Square in association with the Rachel McGeever Fund.  It was produced by James Trofatter. 

Rachel McGeever Fund director Ron Spencer, plus Bernard Wurger and Dorothy Webb, are acknowledged in the program as being the judges, so I assume that these eight plays were selected as the best out of a larger collection of plays submitted by members of Indiana Playmakers.

The effectiveness of the plays was uneven, but I enjoyed getting to see such a good variety of themes, topics, and styles all in one evening.

Here are the names of the plays in the order they were presented, along with the names of the playwrights, the directors, and the casts:

  • “Pandora’s Other Box” – written by Robert Morse, directed by Marsha Grant. A man brings his comedy improv troupe to group therapy.  (Cast = Michael Maloney as Dr. Hayes, Karen Webster as Joyce, Daniel Earle as Steve, Donna Wing as Terri, and Jim Trofatter as Wayne.)
  • “Making Friends” – written by Alice Caroline, directed by Clara Marshall McClure.  A desperate woman robs a passerby at gunpoint and ends up making love with him in the bushes.  (Cast = Ken Ganza as Man and Marty Essig as Woman.)
  • “Beneath the Water Lilies” – written by Madge Dishman, directed by Clara Marshall McClure.  A husband and wife celebrate their wedding anniversary by buying gifts for their home.  She buys a painting of water lilies.  He buys…a canoe to go under it.  (Cast = Catherine Nading as Megan and Daniel Earle as Richard.)
  • “The Tragedy of McCain” – written by Greg Ellis, directed by Marsha Grant. A Shakespearean witch discusses politics with a politician.  (Cast = Jim Trofatter as McCain and Jill Murrell as Witch.)
  • “Confiteor” – written by Pat McGeever, directed by Marsha Grant.  Historical drama about an Irish mining family.  (Cast = Karen Webster as Breda, Daniel Earle as Mick, and Ken Ganza as Niall.)
  • “A Dream Fulfilled” – written by Robert Morse, directed by Clara Marshall McClure.  A troubled man tells his “saga” to his bird as he looks forward to reading about his revenge on the front page of the newspaper. (Cast = Jim Trofatter as Gene Curry, Pat McKinley as Mrs. Jennings, and Jill Murrell as Mrs. Raye.)
  • “Three Letter Words” – written by Madge Dishman, directed by Marsha Grant.  A funeral stirs up family issues.  (Cast = Marty Essig as Anita May Adkins, Pat McKinley as Elsie June Davis, and Karen Webster and Lily June Wyles.)
  • “Nasal Hygiene” – written by Pat McGeever, directed by Clara Marshall McClure.  The owner of a beauty salon introduces a new treatment inspired by her swami.  (Cast = Pat McKinley as Dinah, Jill Murrell as Hazel, Catherine Nading as Noreen, and Jim Trofatter as Subir Strinigarpayeei.)

Marsha Grant ran light and sound for all eight plays.  The casts plus Bayley Godzeski served as stage crew.  John Fullam ran the Box Office.  The ushers were from The Wellington Group.

Hope Baugh – www.IndyTheatreHabit.com

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