June 24, 2013

This is Not Shakespeare's Macbeth

Closing out NoExit Performance’s 2012/13 season is a unique 90 minute drama. Adapted and directed by Michael Burke, the show is a retelling of Macbeth, but instead of Scottish kings and a fight for the crown, our main characters are all patients in a mental hospital.

Using the existing eeriness of an old school that’s been transformed into an office complex, the production takes advantage of its location. As the audience makes its way into an old classroom and settles into the seats the patients are already stumbling around muttering to themselves. From that moment you know the title of the play, This Is Not Shakespeare’s Macbeth, is definitely true.

As the story unfolds we hear well-known lines like “Out damn spot” and “something wicked this way comes” being spoken from the mouths of nurses and mad men. Macbeth (Matthew Goodrich) is a semi-catatonic patient rambling nonsense when we first meet him. As he becomes the troubled murderer audiences have been fascinated with for centuries, we don’t know if what we’re seeing is happening only in his head or if it has already happened and he’s remembering it or if he’s committing the crime as we watch.

Georgeanna Smith is our Lady Macbeth in a nurse’s uniform. The manipulative femme fatale’s steely determination is laudable. In one scene we watch her struggle as she is literally being weighed down by her crimes. That moment, along with some others, are ominous and memorable scenes. Others are lost in the frantic nature of the show, highlighted by the ever-changing lighting which throws us from darkness into light every few minutes. The productions use of props is well done; much is accomplished with a simple sheet or flashlight.

The difficulty of the play is that original play of Macbeth is undeniably the story of one man’s guilt driving him mad. When you remake the show and Macbeth is crazy from the opening scene, where can you go from there? The man character is surrounded by insanity in the asylum and so watching his descent into madness is much less startling. If crazy is the norm, it’s not shocking when a character loses his mind. What makes his particular lunacy noteworthy among so many troubled souls?

Despite its struggles, the show offers a completely fresh look at Macbeth. As NoExit has done with past productions …Macbeth is something unique and daring. I’m excited to see more of their work in the upcoming 2013/14 season:

The Beast, the Lady, and the Sanguine Man – August 
Swan Lake – October
The Nutcracker – December
Richard III – February
Middletown – April
Venus – June

Don't Miss the Show

For more information about NoExit Performance, shows, times, and locations or ticket purchases, visit www.noexitperformance.org / email info@noexitperformance.org. This show is performed at the Irvington Office Center, 338 S. Arlington Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46219.

Performances: The show runs until June 29 and offers three performances a week; beginning at 8 pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Tickets: To purchase tickets, (317) 258-2255. Prices range from $15 to $20. The show does not have an intermission.

Photos Courtesy of NoExit Performance.

June 10, 2013

EclecticPond Announces 2013/14 Season

EclecticPond announces its new season with a variety of shows to celebrate Shakespeare’s 450th birthday in 2014.

Shakespeare Wrote What...?
IndyFringe, Aug 15th – 25th

Sure, you’ve heard of Hamlet, or seen Romeo & Juliet, but what about Cymbeline, King John or Titus Andronicus? ETC presents not one, but FIVE of Shakespeare's lesser known plays, in the madcap, irreverent parody style loved by audiences who saw 10x10, and at last year’s Fringe, Dracula: The Panto.

September 13th – 28th 

You all know the story - "Two star-crossed lovers...," their feuding families, and (SPOILER ALERT), they both die at the end. But, this isn't your school textbook Verona. Originally conceived for student audiences, ETC is excited to share R&J with the entire community. Which family will you choose?

10 x 10
December 7th – January 4th

Back by popular demand! After a sold out run last year, 10x10 returns...with a vengeance. This year promises to be bigger, stronger, louder, AND still averaging just 10 minutes per play! Will your favorites make the cut? Featuring a revived and revamped cast of ETC regulars, plus special guests. You can't afford to miss it!

Comedy of Errors
February 28th – March 15th

“How many fond fools serve mad jealousy!” - Q Artistry Artistic Director Ben Asaykwee makes his ETC directorial debut with Shakespeare's farce of mistaken identity. Slapstick, two sets of twins, a shipwreck...what more could you want?

Young Shakespeareans Project
April 11th – 26th

In celebration of his 450th birthday, we invite our Young Shakespeareans to tread the boards. If you are aged 8-16, this is your chance to be a part of your own Shakespeare production - A Midsummer Night's Dream. Learn about the Bard, while learning lines. Come and join the fun!

The Wars of the Roses
Summer 2014

The original game of thrones! The House of York and The House of Lancaster contend for England and France. Each of Shakespeare's histories condensed into one action-packed hour, presented during this summer festival. Or if you dare, join our ensemble of eight actors as they perform the entire eight hour epic, over the course of one day!

For more information visit the EclecticPond site here

June 5, 2013

West Side Story

Jets and Sharks have taken over Clowes Memorial Hall as West Side Story closes the Broadway Across America 2012/13 season this week. The young cast brings the tried and true musical back with earnest renditions of “America” and “Tonight.”

The dance-heavy production adds some unique elements including a strange ballet dream sequence for “Somewhere” that puts the tomboy character of Anybodys front and center. It also turns the playfully light number “Gee, Officer Krupke” into a crasser fare. More successfully it incorporates a significant amount of Spanish into the lyrics of the songs and dialogue. This change helps highlight the differences between the cultures, giving the Puerto Rican scenes a distinct feel. A few characters, particularly Theo Lencicki as Riff, seemed to have a hard time finding their footing in their roles; he never quite clicked with the character.

When you’ve had the opportunity to see multiple productions of the same show, different plot points tend to stand out each time. In this show I noticed Tony’s journey more than I had in the past. Long before he meets Maria he’s become dissatisfied with gang life and he longs for something more. Tony, played by Addison Reid Coe, finds both his salvation and destruction in Maria’s love. Their naiveté and passion convinces them that they are invincible despite their situation. When combined with the ending, Tony's hopefulness struck me as particularly poignant in this performance.

The well-known score and beloved story hold up after decades of performances. The story itself, a re-telling of Romeo and Juliet, holds up after centuries. There will always be strife between different groups. There will always be young lovers who come to tragic ends. For those who can sing along with every line or for those who are hearing Tony and Maria sing “Tonight” for the first time, the show is still a delight. There may be stronger productions with more seasoned actors, but the core story is solid and remains a delight.

Don't Miss the Show

The show runs until Sunday, June 9 at Clowes Memorial Hall so hurry to get tickets to the show. Tickets can be purchased at Clowes Memorial Hall, The Murat Theatre, by calling (800)-982-2787 or online at www.broadwayacrossamerica.com. Shows begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

Broadway Across America will be back this fall with a fresh collection of shows. Up first is Flashdance and October. Check out the complete season here.

Photos Courtesy of Broadway Across America