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Green Elevator: "The Guardian," at the Village Theatre through May 20 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 14 May 2012 06:00

Gage McCalester, Adam Mohr, and Lilo Foster in The GuardianI was willing to give the Internet Players’ The Guardian a lot of leeway, accepting playwright Kevin Straus’ presentation for what it is: A morality tale of environmental responsibility. While watching Thursday’s performance, I could forgive Straus his plot holes and unnatural dialogue because the author managed to discuss responsible green living with no detectable attitudes of intellectual and moral superiority. And Straus had me ... until the interpretive dance in the middle of the second act.

 
One Story, Many Voices: Disaster Tales Are Shared in "Titanic Aftermath," May 11 through 20 at the Playcrafters Barn Theatre PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Monday, 07 May 2012 06:00

Titanic Aftermath ensemble membersAs Oregon-based playwright Michael Wehrli is the author of Titanic Aftermath – the historical drama being staged at Moline’s Playcrafters Barn Theatre May 11 through 20 – I initially presume that he’s seen James Cameron’s Oscar-winning movie. In our April 25 phone interview, he tells me he has, and that it was even the inspiration for his play.

That’s not exactly the compliment it might seem, though, considering he calls Cameron’s Titanic “visually stunning and incredibly, maddeningly frustrating because of the fictional characters.

“I mean, they took up half the story,” says Wehrli of the young lovers played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, “and it was the actual survivors’ stories, to me, that were ... interesting. That, and the corporate-negligence side to the tragedy, which is hardly ever addressed in dramatic form.

“So I thought, ‘All right, well, I’m just going to write a play about all this.’” Wehrli laughs. “‘How the hell do I do that?’”

 
Torture Chamber Play: " The Pillowman," at the District Theatre through May 12 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Monday, 30 April 2012 06:01

Jason Platt, Dexter Brigham, and Matt Mercer in The PillowmanOn Thursday, the District Theatre debuted a most admirable, impressive production of Martin McDonagh’s The Pillowman, a play boasting numerous surprises both major and minor. Yet if the reactions of a few of the evening’s audience members are to be trusted, it might be necessary to spoil a few right off the bat.

 
Mostly Toothless: “Bat Boy: The Musical,” at Augustana College through May 6 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 30 April 2012 06:00

Lilli Pickens, Samantha Kammerman, and Bill Cahill in Bat Boy: The MusicalA musical based on the Weekly World News' tabloid-famous Bat Boy screams “camp.” Augustana College’s production of Bat Boy: The Musical, however, is not campy enough, as a couple of the leading actors played their parts too seriously or sincerely during Friday’s performance, softening the effect of this musical’s craziness.

 
The Accused: "Parade," at the District Theatre through May 5 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Tuesday, 24 April 2012 06:00

Bryan Tank and Kelly Lohrenz in ParadeWould it be possible to get a cast recording of the District Theatre’s Parade? Because the production is so well-sung by its cast members, I wouldn’t mind listening to them perform composer/lyricist Jason Robert Brown’s songs over and over again. The solos are stirring, as characters sing about their relationships and roles in a Georgia town gripped by the rape and murder of a 13-year-old girl. But some of the ensemble numbers gave me goosebumps during Saturday’s performance – particularly the hauntingly sad “Funeral Sequence: There Is a Fountain / It Don’t Make Sense,” performed as the townsfolk remember the young lady whose body was found in the basement of a local pencil factory.

 
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