Alone on stage

September 10, 2009
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A full house greeted Butler University visiting artist Tim Hardy for the first of a two-show-only stint in Nick Young’s one-man play “Galileo” (Sept. 9-10). It wasn’t just the size of the audience and the quality of the performance that I found inspiring. It was also the presence of a number of local actors and other creative types in the crowd.

Seeing this level of excellent work can be intimidating, but I hope that it also proves inspiring. Hardy—a faculty member of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art who appeared in such landmark productions as Peter Brook’s “Marat/Sade” and Peter Hall’s “Henry V”—created a weary, funny, sad Galileo angry at himself for misjudging the forces against him.

His explanation of the power of the rack as a torture device effectively painted a flesh-and-blood picture of the consequences of his alleged heresy. It brought humanity to his brilliance, taking this from history lesson to a strong evening of theater.

Even though you are too late to catch this one, the '09/'10 Indy theater season will feature other one-person shows. Such presentations raise a number of questions that I thought I'd bounce off you:

Do you feel that these minimalist shows -- the IRT is presenting three of them later in the season -- should have the same ticket price as fuller-cast productions?

John Leguizamo recently tried out his new one-man show here. Mike Bribiglia, who scored an off-Broadway hit with his "Sleepwalk With Me" will be in town next week. What is the line between a stand-up act and a one-person play?

Indy Fringe and Storytelling Arts have presented many one-person monologists locally. Is storytelling the same as theater?

Your thoughts?

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  • It's Birbiglia. I saw "Sleepwalk with Me," and it was very entertaining, but definitely straddled the thin line between stand-up and "theatre." I also saw Lily Tomlin's revival of "The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe," and that was most definitely a PLAY. I think the difference may be in the way a show is shaped. I did not see "The Year of Magical Thinking," but that struck me as a stupid idea for a one-person show. I see no reason why the tickets should be cheaper for a play with only one person in the cast, although it is very obvious that theatres stage these (especially IRT) to save money.

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  1. to mention the rest of Molly's experience- she served as Communications Director for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works and also did communications for the state. She's incredibly qualified for this role and has a real love for Indianapolis and Indiana. Best of luck to her!

  2. Shall we not demand the same scrutiny for law schools, med schools, heaven forbid, business schools, etc.? How many law school grads are servers? How many business start ups fail and how many business grads get low paying jobs because there are so few high paying positions available? Why does our legislature continue to demean public schools and give taxpayer dollars to charters and private schools, ($171 million last year), rather than investing in our community schools? We are on a course of disaster regarding our public school attitudes unless we change our thinking in a short time.

  3. I agree with the other reader's comment about the chunky tomato soup. I found myself wanting a breadstick to dip into it. It tasted more like a marinara sauce; I couldn't eat it as a soup. In general, I liked the place... but doubt that I'll frequent it once the novelty wears off.

  4. The Indiana toll road used to have some of the cleanest bathrooms you could find on the road. After the lease they went downhill quickly. While not the grossest you'll see, they hover a bit below average. Am not sure if this is indicative of the entire deal or merely a portion of it. But the goals of anyone taking over the lease will always be at odds. The fewer repairs they make, the more money they earn since they have a virtual monopoly on travel from Cleveland to Chicago. So they only comply to satisfy the rules. It's hard to hand public works over to private enterprise. The incentives are misaligned. In true competition, you'd have multiple roads, each build by different companies motivated to make theirs more attractive. Working to attract customers is very different than working to maximize profit on people who have no choice but to choose your road. Of course, we all know two roads would be even more ridiculous.

  5. The State is in a perfect position. The consortium overpaid for leasing the toll road. Good for the State. The money they paid is being used across the State to upgrade roads and bridges and employ people at at time most of the country is scrambling to fund basic repairs. Good for the State. Indiana taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the toll roads to the tune of millions a year as we had for the last 20 years because the legislature did not have the guts to raise tolls. Good for the State. If the consortium fails, they either find another operator, acceptable to the State, to buy them out or the road gets turned back over to the State and we keep the Billions. Good for the State. Pat Bauer is no longer the Majority or Minority Leader of the House. Good for the State. Anyway you look at this, the State received billions of dollars for an assett the taxpayers were subsidizing, the State does not have to pay to maintain the road for 70 years. I am having trouble seeing the downside.

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