You-review-it Monday

April 21, 2008
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For me, the weekend included the second half of the James Still double bill at Indiana Repertory Theatre and a run to Purdue University for an exhilerating student production of "Hair" (a midnight show, no less).

And you?

Did you catch the crooner at Conseco? The images at IMOCA? Or the new Hoosier Home Front exhibition at the Historical Society?

What arts and/or entertainment did you experience this weekend?
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  • I had a busy arts weekend, too.

    If I had to pick just one of three shows I saw, it would have to be Black Gold at the Phoenix. I love this explosive new play! It is delightfully fast-paced with layers and layers of clever humor and good food for thought. The six cast members play a gazillion characters each, but the whole thing is amazingly easy to follow. I felt as if I were right there with them in a Detroit back yard, at a theatre in the Middle East, at the White House, and more...

    But I also was I glad for the time I spent at two other shows:

    Spotlight's production of Ordinary People was quite moving and I was interested to see the photos they had of the renovation in progress at their new location on Main Street in Beech Grove.

    Two Orphans at the Belfrey Theatre in Noblesville was a lot of fun because the audience was invited to boo and cheer and otherwise emote actively as the actors and pianist did their thing.

    I will write about all three shows in more detail on my blog, of course, over the next few days.

    I read about half of TELL ME WHERE IT HURTS: A DAY OF HUMOR, HEALING, AND HOPE IN MY LIFE AS AN ANIMAL SURGEON, by Dr. Nick Trout (Broadyway Books 2008) but I had to stop because the chapter on euthanasia was making me cry too much. However, the book is a good mixture of storytelling and factual info, and I would recommend it to anyone who ever thought about becoming a vet.

    GETTING AIR, by Dan Gutman (Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers 2007), was probably written with 4th-8th grade readers in mind, but I enjoyed it, too. A skateboarding guy, his two friends, and his sister are on their way to a skateboarding event when their plane is hijacked by terrorists. Using the titanium skateboard that he and his dad invented, Jimmy and his friends defeat the terrorists...but then their plane crashes into the Canadian wilderness. The skateboard helps them survive there, too!

    This morning I started reading CAPTIVITY, by Debbie Lee Wesselmann (John F. Blair Publisher 2008) So far, it is a captivating (sorry) novel about the director of a chimpanzee sanctuary in South Carolina. The book opens with her arriving at work and finding that someone has let out the chimps that were being held separate from the wild for health reasons. This is the sort of engrossing book that can make me late for my day job, so I forced myself to set it aside for a while in order to come check the ibj blog and then get dressed for the day.

    Have a great week, Lou and everyone!

    Hope Baugh
    www.IndyTheatreHabit.com

    PS - Lou, you mentioned Steve Martin's novel, SHOP GIRL, a while back. I remember thinking, the whole time I read that book, Steve Martin wrote this? STEVE MARTIN??!!! It was so much more depressing than I had expected.
  • PS - I hope to catch Iron Kisses at the IRT this week and Looking Over the President's Shoulder at the IRT next week. I love being able to see two plays from the same playwright back to back!
  • I managed to see Looking Over the President's Shoulder last night and was incredibly pleased. It was brilliantly acted and picked up steam as it went along-an incredible feat for a one-man show! It was an endearing portrait of someone who played an oft-overlooked role in the White House for several administrations. I would recommend it to anyone, particularly those who might enjoy the human side of politics.
  • I saw Iron Kisses Saturday at the IRT. Once again, I am amazed at the insights into a particular situation seen by James Still. Here in Indiana, I wonder if the mention of 'gay wedding' will either cause patrons to come - or to stay away. But the play would have been almost as moving if it were about 1 sibling getting a divorce at the same time as the other is getting married in a traditional marriage.

    The real focus of the play is on family relationships: how the roles we assume as a child continue to affect us as adults, and how the roles & relationships evolve as the children become adults, and ultimately, the caregivers of the parents.

    I could not believe how many lines in the play hit the nail on the head in terms of my own family experiences. My birth family has continued to have a close relationship (although we, too, are spread around the country). And the death of my Mom last year after a 6 month battle with cancer has brought us all closer, though we asked ourselves many of the same questions explored in Act III.

    I would highly recommend this 90 minute play to anyone who has a family and wonders how those relationships affect the rest of your life!
  • I went to the opening of Is you Is or Is you ain't at the Indpls Museum of Contemporary Art on Thursday night and it was awesome.
    Great video by a unique artist and great space to view it in.
  • Friday evening, I went to the Michael Buble concert and went in with no expectations – mostly because I did not know what to expect – and left surprisingly entertained. His between-songs banter was funny, to a point that I did not expect – adult oriented, but not crass. His opening act was amazing – seven gentlemen who created full songs with only their voices, but made it sound as though they had nearly an entire stage of instruments behind them. My only disappointment was that during one of the final songs of the evening Michael sang with the opening act, but instead of using their full range of talents to do a different rendition of his song, he instead used the group as glorified back-up singers and the song sounded much like it does on his album. However, that aside, I gained a new respect for Michael Buble and his abilities – even though I liked him just fine before.

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