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items tagged with Chris Jansen

There Go the Neighborhoods: "Clybourne Park," at the Village Theatre through November 16
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2014-11-10 12:00:00

Caciona Bernstrom, Chris Page, Ryan Mauritz, Mark McGinn, and Kelly Thompson in Clybourne ParkNew Ground Theatre’s Clybourne Park, written by Bruce Norris as a sequel, of sorts, to Lorraine Hansberry's classic play A Raisin in the Sun, takes quite a bit of time to get rolling. But once it does, this exploration of racial tensions at different points in American history is wickedly hilarious. Director Chris Jansen effectively employs a slow, nearly dull pacing to build to a significant payoff, particularly in the second act, when the purposefully bland tone fits the play's scene of a neighborhood-association meeting. Following Friday’s performance, I was amused at how, during the presentation, I went from being almost bored to laughing heartily.


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Stirring Quartet: 2014 Playwrights Festival, at the Village Theatre through May 11
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2014-05-05 12:00:00

I've noticed a common thread among amateur playwrights, in general, that gets me cringing a bit at the thought of seeing a locally-written play – or, in the case of the one-acts for New Ground Theatre’s 2014 Playwrights Festival, several locally-written plays, which I viewed on Saturday evening. All too often, I've found these writers struggle with dialogue, particularly in regard to writing phrases and conversations in a manner in which people actually speak. I’m happy to say, however, that this is not the case with New Ground's presentation, as all four of its playwrights manage to provide believable dialogue and discussions, removing from the equation the distraction of annoyingly obvious and unrealistic speech.


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Repertory Stories: New Ground Theatre’s Playwrights Festival, April 19 through 28 at the Village Theatre
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Feature Stories

2013-04-11 14:10:15

author Dana-Moss Peterson (left), with Jessica Denney, in New Ground Theatre's Mr. MarmaladeOver the years, Davenport’s New Ground Theatre has prided itself on the presentation of new works by emerging authors. But this year, even Artistic Director Chris Jansen is shocked to find the company not only producing eight new works in a season, but eight new works – the majority of them by local authors – over a two-night span.


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Glasnost Half Full: "A Walk in the Woods," at the Village Theatre through March 17
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2013-03-11 12:00:00

Matt Moody and John VanDeWoestyne in A Walk in the WoodsPlaywright Lee Blessing’s A Walk in the Woods successfully re-creates a sense of the Reagan-era Cold War conflict between the United States and the then-Soviet Union ... at least according to an older friend of mine who also attended Friday’s performance of New Ground Theatre’s production. However, my theatre-going companion also agreed with me that the play is reminiscent of the film My Dinner with Andre, famed for simply being a conversation between two people in one setting. And Blessing’s story is just that – a series of discussions between a U.S. and Russian diplomat sitting, or sometimes standing near, a park bench. For two hours.


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Critical Mass: Mike Schulz and Thom White Discuss Area Theatre in 2012
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Feature Stories

2012-12-31 12:00:00

Mitch Donahue, Alexander Robin Kass, Samantha Pauly, Kristin Gilbert, and Tristan Layne Tapscott in the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse's Legally Blonde: The MusicalFor our third-annual conversation on the Year in Theatre, Thom White – the Reader’s chief theatre reviewer – and I thought we’d shake things up a bit. So instead of meeting for an hours-long breakfast to discuss the area stage scene, we met for an hours-long dinner to discuss the area stage scene.

And while I managed to keep things lively by spilling a completely full glass of water not 10 minutes after sitting down, we also managed to touch on many of the varied experiences that Thom (occasionally accompanied by his partner’s daughter Madison) and/or I had during another eventful year for fans of the theatre. Pack a lunch, sit back, and dive in ... .


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