Last Tuesday night was a special treat for me: I got to see live theatre during the week! (When I become independently wealthy, I am going to go out for dinner and see live theatre every night of the week!)
I drove over to Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre on the northwest side of Indianapolis to see “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas.” It is based on the Paramount Pictures film, which I love for its nostalgia, so I had been looking forward to the Beef&Boards show ever since they announced their 2010 season last year.
The staged production is enough like the movie to be satisfying but also magical in its own way because it is live and shared in an intimate setting. It is fun and romantic! The epitome of “feel good.” Although the story of it takes place during the Christmas season, it is more about love and loyalty between people than about Christ’s birth or Santa Claus.
This is a bizarre but charming show by the same person who wrote “In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play” which I saw at the Phoenix Theatre a couple of weekends ago. I wish I had been able to catch the Butler University production of the playwright’s “Eurydice” this month as well. Sarah Ruhl is now one of my favorite playwrights.
Holy smokes! Have you heard? Phil Van Hest, aka Phil the Void, aka the hilarious, long-time Indy Fringe performer who has been comfortably based in Los Angeles the whole time I have known him, aka the beloved purveyor of gnome saying bumper stickers and BattleCat trading cards, is definitely MOVING TO INDIANAPOLIS this spring!
Dear Reader, I must apologize for again taking longer than a week to post a review. I saw and loved Sarah Ruhl’s Tony-and-Pulitzer-nominated “In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play,” directed and produced by Bryan Fonseca, at the Phoenix Theatre in downtown Indianapolis on Sunday, October 3, 2010. That was the weekend it opened here. It is scheduled to run for two more weekends.
As wonderful as it is, it is not the sort of play that is going to be snapped up by community theatres here in central Indiana, and somehow I don’t see the other professional theatres picking it up, either, so if you want to see it, you had better make time to see it at the Phoenix. But even beyond the Phoenix’s exclusivity, the Phoenix’s production of this play is lovely. Truly lovely.
Last Friday night I drove to the Irvington neighborhood on the east side of Indianapolis for the 2010 opening night of the funny-dark musical “Cabaret Poe.” This Q Artistry production is richly staged in the ballroom(?) on the top floor of the Irvington Lodge. The piece was written and directed by local performance artist Ben Asaykwee, based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe.
So I’ve been working on my review of “In the Next Room, or The Vibrator Play,” by Sarah Ruhl, which I saw and loved at the Phoenix Theatre last weekend. It is a beautiful, beautiful show, both visually (the gorgeous Victorian set and costumes!) and in terms of the language and story, which are exquisitely presented by the actors under the direction of Bryan Fonseca.
I mean, yes,yes, you’re right: it is about the early history of vibrators. But it is also about the fact that there are no shortcuts to love and intimacy. The whole show has a loving quality about it, which is, in itself, lovely.
And…grr. I am bogged down by “l” words.
In the meantime, while I struggle to find the right words to express my response to the “In the Next Room…,” let me share the following press release that I received yesterday from Jason Loewith, Executive Director from the National New Play Network.
The first Sarah Ruhl play I ever saw was at a NNPN member theatre: the Wooly Mammoth Theatre in Washington, DC. And ever since I got to sit in on the NNPN annual meeting the year it was held here in Indy at the Phoenix, and I got to see the passion and commitment of all of the people involved, the NNPN has held a special place in my heart.
I am delighted to read about the NNPN’s big grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Congratulations, NNPN!
This past weekend was the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee. Performance storytelling lovers from all over the country – and even from other countries – gather to swap tales at this annual festival. I’m talking thousands of people, sitting on folding wooden chairs crammed under huge tents, listening to individuals on raised platforms “just” talking into microphones…and being transformed.
There are now several big storytelling festivals around the country, but the one in Jonesborough is “Mecca.” You want to hear the best tellers? Go to Jonesborough.
I haven’t been able to get down to Jonesborough for several years, so I am doubly glad that Storytelling Arts of Indiana continues to bring some of those top tellers here to Indianapolis.