OCP, Witching Hour and John Beasley Theater news

As David Letterman would ask his audience, “You like vibrators?” Nothing says “21 and Over,” the new Omaha Community Playhouse series of free performances, like Sarah Ruhl’s In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play. Kevin Lawler plays Dr. Givings, the scientist who invents a vibrator for treating “hysteria” in woman, and even in a man now and then. That’s why his young wife (Ashley Spessard) wonders what’s going on in the next room. The cast includes Vincent Carlson-Brown, Teri Fender and Tim Abou-Nasr among others. You get one look at this staged reading in the Howard Drew Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 21. You can donate and help pay royalties. * For its first weekend, March 18-19, the Witching Hour presents Bitch at its usual 11 p.m. in the Downtown Space, and it returns to that time April 1-2. But in between, March 25-26, you don’t need to be a night owl to catch 7:30 p.m. performances. Tickets are $10. Director Jennifer Pool, who co-wrote the devised piece with Kirstin Kluver and Kathleen Lawler, said the project was in the works last season when the three began looking into the executions of four women, the better-known Marie Antoinette and Mata Hari, and the less familiar Mary Surratt (linked to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln) and Ann Askew, who protested more than the average 16th century Protestant and was burned at the stake. They looked for common themes in the stories of their uncommon executions: from fire to guillotine to hanging. “We focused primarily on their actual words” or the words of those close to them, which the writers judged to be better “than anything we could have come up for them,” Pool explained. * What better time to remind you that every review you read is nothing more than a look at one night’s performance. Last week I praised the John Beasley Theater production of August Wilson’s King Hedley II, which I watched on a Sunday afternoon. It ran five or six minutes less than three hours. The night Bob Fischbach reviewed it for the daily it ran 15 minutes over three hours. His praise was mixed with criticism of actors struggling for lines and mentioned a man having trouble with an ear piece, perhaps to feed him lines. When I saw it a woman kept fiddling with her ear piece. Both performances had trouble with the timing of a gunshot. Both reviews reflected that the strengths outweighed the weaknesses, but my shorter review was also based on a 20-minute shorter show with fewer problems. Cold Cream looks at theater in the metro area. Email information to coldcream@thereader.com.

posted at 12:00 pm
on Friday, March 18th, 2011

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