February 20, 2009

Crime and Punishment


"Crime and Punishment" is currently on the Indiana Repertory Theatre's Upperstage. Three actors and a sparse set greet audience members attending this condensed adaptation of the classic book. For 90 minutes sinners and saints tangle together in the mess that is human life.

Andrew Ahrens plays Raskolnikov, a man tortured by his inability to reconcile his intellect and faith. Ahrens' turn as Macbeth earlier this season now feels like a taste of what was to come in this role. Like Macbeth, Raskolnikov's guilty conscience seeps out in all of his actions. Even his health begins to suffer under the wait of his guilt.

He is dressed in threadbare rags, the edges caked in mud. The former student finds it easy to postulate about the necessity for great men to break the law for the greater good, but his life falls apart when he attempts to introduce his theory into the real world. The abstract idea of morality is easy for him to discuss, but as soon as he puts himself into the equation, his life is thrust into chaos.

He seeks absolution from the prostitute Sonia, who he sees as a fallen sinner, like himself. Even in the depths of despair Sonia manages to find hope and maintain her faith. She is the antithesis of the cynic Raskolnikov.

The show delves deep into the psyche of a criminal. The scenes between Raskolnikov and the detective, Porfiry, are filled with tense interplay. The two go round and round discussing motives and theories, while at the same time dancing around the subject of the murder that's under investigation.

Crime and Punishment is sure to leave audience members mulling over the topics of right and wrong and religion long after the show ends.


Don't Miss the Show

The Indiana Repertory Theatre is located at 140 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, one-half block west of the Circle Center Mall between northbound Illinois St. and southbound Capitol Ave. "Crime and Punishment" runs until Sunday, March 8 on IRT's Upperstage.

Discounted tickets are available to students. Times for performances can be found at www.irtlive.com or by calling the IRT box office at (317) 635-5252. To purchase tickets call (317) 635-5252 or order online at www.irtlive.com

February 16, 2009

Movin' Out


Over Valentine's Day weekend the Murat Theatre rocked with the familiar songs of Billy Joel. Broadway Across America presented the Tony awarding-winning "Movin' Out" for one weekend only.
The loose narrative follows a handful of youths whose idyllic lives are shattered when the men are shipped off to fight in Vietnam. The guilt, anger and mourning that follow cripple the characters as they try to find their way back to a normal life.

"Movin' Out" is created in the same vein as other rock shows like "We Will Rock You," which showcases Queen's music, and "All Shook Up," an Elvis musical. It is unabashed celebration of Billy Joel's music. It forgoes a complicated plot to become a choreographed concert.

The show is an original collaboration between Joel and choreographer Twyla Tharp. Tharp's unique dance routines embrace every style of motion - swing, ballet, modern and more.

Tharp uses sweet melodies like "Just the Way You Are" and "Shameless" to create intimate ballet sequences. The talented dancers move together in perfect synch, demonstrating their characters' pain and love for each other using only their bodies. In other scenes, anger pours forth in almost violent thrusts to songs like "Big Shot."

"The Stranger" was both beautiful and haunting as the character Judy mourns the death of her love. It begins with that eerie whistle that sends shivers through the audience before bursting into the main beat.

With the exception of a few barked military commands, there is no dialogue in the show. Instead, the characters' stories are told through Joel's lyrics.

The cast is made up of rotating dancers and a piano man who perform the leads on different nights. The piano man sits on an elevated bridge above the stage and sings every song while pounding out the notes. He carries the show with his voice and ability to pull in the crowd.

"Movin' Out" is a concert in every sense of the word, but its blend of music and dance makes it a delightful for the eyes as well as the ears.

Don't Miss the Next Show

Up next for Broadway Across America is "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang." It will be at Clowes Memorial Hall from April 28 through May 3. Tickets can be purchased at Clowes Memorial Hall, the Murat Theatre, by calling (317) 239-1000 or online at www.broadwayacrossamerica.com.

February 10, 2009

To Kill a Mockingbird


As classic books go, "To Kill a Mockingbird" has long been an American favorite. The story, which deals with tolerance, racism and poverty, is all the more poignant because it unfolds through the innocent eyes of a child.
The Indiana Repertory Theatre is currently producing the play on its main stage. The set, designed by Robert M. Koharchik, transports the audience to the quiet street where the Finch family lives. The depth of the set, complete with peeling paint on the walls and a red dirt road, transforms the theatre so completely that it's easy to forget you aren't actually down south.

Lynne Perkins plays Miss Maudie and acts as the narrator for the show. Her constant asides to the audience keep scenes flowing with minimal explanation. Mark Goetzinger's Atticus Finch is patient, but stern. His portrayal of the iconic figure is wonderful in its simplicity. Atticus Finch is one of the most revered literary figures, but Goetzinger captures his humble nature and sterling morality.


Though much of the book must be abridged to fit the play's format, the courtroom scene is produced almost verbatim. It's even more enthralling to watch the action unfold, than to read it. The courtroom's cast, including Bob and Mayella Ewell and Tom Robinson, all give heart-wrenching performances. Each actor highlights their characters' loneliness, ignorance, spite or frustration as though they have truly slipped into the skin of that individual.


If "Mockingbird" is any example of the shows in store for audiences this year, IRT is definitely a theater to watch.


For more information about IRT's upcoming season visit irtlive.com.

Don't Miss the Show

Performances: The show runs until Saturday, Feb. 21 on IRT's Mainstage. Times for performances can be found at www.irtlive.com or by calling the IRT box office at (317) 635-5252.

Tickets: To purchase tickets call (317) 635-5252 or order online at www.irtlive.com Prices begin at $39.

The Indiana Repertory Theatre is located at 140 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, one-half block west of the Circle Center Mall between northbound Illinois Street and southbound Capitol Avenue.