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Showing posts from October, 2017

The Originalist

"The middle takes guts. The middle is where you go to sit down with monsters."
The Indiana Repertory Theatre's current Upperstage production, The Originalist, explores that middle, introducing us to a fictional relationship between Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and a liberal law clerk. The play is about the absolutely essential nature of debate. Having the freedom to openly discuss political issues is something we often take for granted in our country as we get lost in the fight. We forget that the person you disagree with doesn't have to be the enemy. 

The play features two incredibly charismatic leads. Henry Woronicz is Scalia, the conservative judge famous for his love of opera and passionate dissents. Woronicz revels in the role. He is combative and playful, even when the discussion is heated he doesn't lose his wry sense of humor. Ayanna Bria Bakari is his counterpart Cat, whose desire to better understand the other end of the political spectrum opens …

Cabaret Poe

When the Theatre on the Square closed its doors earlier this year, the perennial fall favorite Cabaret Poe needed to find a new home. The show settled into the fourth floor of Circle Centre Mall. It's an unexpected choice, but they make it work. All the best elements are still there, macabre humor, a trio of cynical performers who share the lead, and a delightful selection of Edgar Allan Poe's work. The result is a production that will apparently work in any performance space. 
The staging is simple. There are multi-media screens that fill with sinister silhouettes or scribbles of writing in different scenes. A raised stage in the center works to enhance numbers as the actors strut up and down the stairs in heels and bustles. 
Ben Asaykwee, the show's creator, stars in each performance, while the other two roles rotate between four cast members. Julie Lyn Barber and Georgeanna Smith Wade were featured in the show I attended. Asaykwee, as always, is charismatic and creepy in …

Review and Q&A: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Indiana Repertory Theatre opened its season with The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. It's a murder mystery, but not in the traditional sense. The murdered party is a dog and the "detective" is a teenage boy named Christopher, whose developmental disabilities allow him to see the world through a unique lens. The show is at once emotionally exhausting and energetic. There's humor strategically placed in almost every scene to help break the tension.

Mickey Rowe is acrobatic as Christopher. He is the first autistic actor to tackle the role in an American production. Though that's an accomplishment in its own right, he's also spot on in his portrayal. His ticks, his conversations, his immediate strong reactions when anything in his world deviates from its comfortable patterns, all of these things give the audience an accurate look at the world of one person with a developmental disability. 

As much as this is clearly Christopher's story, the r…