Set Design Genius

You don’t need me to tell you about the excitement called Eurydice that’s underway at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. The daily’s Bob Fischbach drew a delicious sketch Sunday of the plans by designer Robbie Jones for Sara Ruhl’s twist on the classic story of Orpheus in the Underworld. The reason I was so happy to see a big spread on Jones’ collaboration with student director Krystal Kelly goes back to a UNO production of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. What Jones did then with the set and costumes was so brilliant I was frustrated that the whole theater community didn’t rush to honor what seemed to me the most brilliant work of its kind in my memory. Put that in perspective: elsewhere in this issue of The Reader you’ll see praise for the Talk Radio design by Martin Scott Machitto, and the review of Fences omits mention of a perfectly realistic treatment of back porch and brick walls by Bob Donlan simply because there wasn’t space enough for that authentic scene. Add the fact that one dare not pay tribute to scenic genius without bowing to the decades of artistry by the great Jim Othuse at the Omaha Community Playhouse. But even in that larger context it must be said that the mere knowledge that Jones will be a triple threat, doing technical direction and scenic design and costume design, plus Steve Williams handling lighting, makes it an understatement to say one expects another very memorable production. Check out Fischbach’s story on line for details of a ramp, a pool and a glass wall to reveal the underworld. Yes, there’s Ruhl’s poetic script that focuses more on the title woman than Orpheus himself, and a cast that also features the Lord of the Underworld and talking stones. Bless ’em all, but I’m waiting for Jones. It runs for two weekends on the UNO campus. Don’t wait for Halloween, but you’ve got the rest of October to catch Shelterskelter XV at the Shelterbelt Theatre near 32nd and California. You’re promised eight little thrillers with titles as mundane as “A Ghost Story” and as quirky as “Big Dogs Like Chocolate.” Call 341.2757 or visit shelterbelt.org. Witching Hour follows Talk Radio at 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays with its latest collaborative creation, namely Antifiction based, you guessed it, on what you think of when you hear “creation.” It’s just $10 at the door in Downtown Space at the Old Market. Cold Cream looks at theater in the metro area. Email information to coldcream@thereader.com.

posted at 08:19 pm
on Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

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