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Showing posts from February, 2011

Neat

The Indiana Repertory Theatre has brought back the Going Solo Festival for a second year. The festival consists of three separate one-man shows, each about 2 hours, with an intermission, and focusing on wildly differing topics. The three shows are all offered simultaneously on the IRT’s upperstage, where the set is designed with a versatile sweeping wooden floor to accommodate the trio of plays.

Milicent Wright stars in Neat, the sequel to last year’s Pretty Fire. The show, written by Charlayne Woodard, explores the playwright’s adolescence in the turbulent 1960s and ‘70s. The title character, Neat, is Woodard’s aunt who was left mentally stunted after an accident when she was an infant. Wright plays both women with delight. Her exuberance for the roles makes the characters come alive.

The play looks at the huge impact Neat had on Woodard’s life. With her childlike innocence, Neat inspires her to explore her heritage and appreciate the world around her. There are a wide variety of stor…

In Acting Shakespeare

The Indiana Repertory Theatre has brought back the Going Solo Festival for a second year. The festival consists of three separate one-man shows, each about 2 hours, with an intermission, and focusing on wildly differing topics. The three shows are all offered simultaneously on the IRT’s upperstage, where the set is designed with a versatile sweeping wooden floor to accommodate the trio of plays.

In Acting Shakespeare, one of the shows, stars James DeVita, who wrote the show as a tribute to Sir Ian McKellen’s show, Acting Shakespeare. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the playwright performing Shakespeare’s work at his home theatre in Wisconsin and was thrilled to have the opportunity to see him perform his own work at the IRT.


Acting was a completely foreign concept to DeVita as he grew up in Long Island. He became a fisherman and fell into a career on the stage through a string of coincidences and lots of hard work. During a class trip to New York he saw McKellen perform his show and sat…

Goldie, Max and Milk

Max is an unemployed, single woman living in Brooklyn, who has just given birth to a daughter. Shortly after moving from Oregon to Brooklyn so her long-time partner, Lisa, can take a new job, the couple decide to have a child together. While Max is pregnant, Lisa has an affair with her new boss and moves out. Abandoned, Max is left trying to find her footing as a new mother.

Goldie is an Orthodox Jew and a lactation consultant who helps Max learn how to nurse. She's uncomfortable with Max's lifestyle and tries to keep her distance from her client. Her daughter Shayna's own secrets come to light and force Goldie to question her beliefs.

The play attempts to tackle a wide variety of issues, including single parenting, drug dealing, same-sex relationships, fidelity, betrayal, religious prejudice, unconventional family dynamics, sibling relationships, motherhood, unemployment, breast feeding and more. That's a lot for a two-hour production. Parring down the issues and choo…

Hairspray

An eternally optimistic teen with a passion for dance takes on inequality in 1960s Baltimore. The Tony Award-winning musical, Hairspray, deals with issues even bigger than the hairdos sported by the cast. Racism, segregation, obesity and prejudice are just a few of the big ones. The peppy show, with its unexpected serious side, teaches the crowd an important lesson in self-confidence.

The support cast is filled with gems. Marty McNamee as Corny Collins, Carly Vernon as Penny, Angela Birchett as Motormouth Mabelle, Jarvis B. Manning Jr. as Seaweed, Karen Pappas in all her roles. Each one adds spice to the show; Birchett with her powerful voice, Vernon’s na├»ve sincerity, Collins’ Seacrest-like chirper attitude, Manning’s dance moves, and Pappas’ combination of physical comedy and perfect delivery.


The absolute highlight of the show is Tracy's parents. Dan Dowling Jr. plays as Edna, a big, but shy woman and John Vessels is her devoted husband. Edna is a role traditionally played by a m…