Posted in Indianapolis theater: previews

Openings for the weekend of 8/4

Since I was remiss in my updates last week, I will start with shows that have opened already but are continuing this weekend and then add what’s opening this weekend …

Catalyst Repertory and No Holds Bard: Eugene Ionesco’s Rhinoceros

945349-250The rarely produced play is about Berenger, who lives a very normal life. He’s a little messy. He’s sometimes late for work. He drinks too much. And everyone he knows is becoming a rhinoceros. At first the phenomenon doesn’t seem to be too much of a problem, but when his best friend Jean transforms right before his eyes, Berenger begins to worry. Soon he finds himself holed up as though he were in a zombie movie. Only with rhinoceroses. Ionesco wrote this play in response to the political zealotry he witnessed all around himself in Europe during the middle of the twentieth century. When surrounded by extremism and hatred, one of humanity’s strongest weapons in defense of civility and decency is, naturally, comedy. It is not a stretch to see the prescience of a piece about normal people transforming into rampaging beasts. Therein lies the heart of the play; it’s not necessarily poking fun at the absurdity of political organizations; it’s poking fun at how easy it is for people to believe in them. In the year 2017, we find ourselves blindly stampeding along with the rest of the herd. Maybe it’s time to take a moment to step out for a little while and laugh at it.

Noblesville Cultural Arts Commission Shakespeare in the Park: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Noblesville Shakespeare in the Park

The Noblesville Cultural Arts Commission presents its 25th annual production of Shakespeare in the Park this summer – the longest running production in central Indiana.  The performances will be in the new amphitheater at the First Merchants Pavilion at Federal Hill Commons.  To celebrate this, there will be a new production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which was the first play done by the group a quarter century ago.

Asante Children’s Theatre and Conner Prairie: Light: Douglass Returns

Asante Children’s Theatre at Conner Prairie

The play, written by Indiana playwright Celeste Williams, was inspired by the historic return to Indiana by prominent American abolitionist, writer, and speaker Frederick Douglass. The play came about after Williams, a former Indianapolis Star journalist, wrote a non-fiction piece in 2014 about Douglass for an area arts journal. That article recounted an appearance by Douglass in Pendleton, Ind., in 1843, when he was severely beaten as he attempted to give a speech against slavery. That incident of violence contrasted with the reception Douglass received in 1880 — some 37 years later — at a political rally in Noblesville, Ind.


Jett Theatrical Productions: Behind the Scenes

This is JTP’s first written, produced, and directed show and part of the first of a two-year summer-series production. Behind the Scenes is a present-day play narrated through the personal eyes of one character by the name of Miles. Miles is an interesting individual who serves as the middle child in his family. Often times, he struggles. He struggles with understanding his family and their lack of communication, equality, acceptance, and more. This family learns various forms of resiliency, whether that’s at church, home, or at work. They also find ways to function financially without impacting the family as a whole. How will Miles and his family overcome their personal challenges? Will Miles forever live his life silenced while feeling distraught? What is truly behind the scenes?

Ricks-Weil Theatre Company: Annie

Ricks-Weil Theatre Company: “Annie”

So, I don’t think this one needs a synopsis …

Amalgamated Stage Productions and Vince Accetturo: You Never Know: Cole Porter’s Lost Musical

Amalgamated Stage Productions and Vince Accetturo: “You Never Know: Cole Porter’s Lost Musical.” Photo by Olive Branch Photography.

Maria, maid to Mme. Baltin, impersonates her mistress while carrying out an assignation with the Baron de Romer’s valet, Gaston, whom she believes to be the Baron himself. The Baron discovers the pair, but, being a good sport, he assumes the role of his servant in order to assist Gaston in his romantic pursuit. When Mme. Baltin discovers her maid’s deceit, she is less of a good sport and exposes the masquerade. All ends happily, though, as the foursome sup by candlelight.