Tuesday, November 8, 2011

An Embarrassment of Theater Riches: Le Petomane, Theater [502], Walden

I know I blog a lot about theater and have a lot of friends in local theater, but I'm still not necessarily wise to the ways of theater people. One question that's been at the forefront of my mind lately is: why does it always seem a "feast or famine" issue for local theater here in Louisville? Who decides what a "season" looks like, time-wise? Who makes these schedules? I know many of the local theater companies participate in group auditions; why is it that these same companies don't participate in a group scheduling workshop at the beginning of each year?

I voiced this concern yesterday to Roommate, and he said, "You should do it."

Turns out he misunderstood what I was saying. He thought that I was saying that someone be in charge of keeping a master schedule of what's going on when and where in theater in Louisville. Not necessarily a bad idea, but that wasn't the point that I was trying to make. I was saying that someone should be the gatekeeper of that schedule. When he said, "You should do it," my wheels started to turn, and I imagined myself in a dark leather wing chair behind a massive desk, perhaps stroking a white Persian cat, with the leaders of all the local theater groups assembled before me waiting patiently while I doled out Louisville theater calendar real estate.

So, Louisville Theater professionals, I'm just putting this out there. If you need a Godmother of Theater Calendar Dispersal, you just let me know, okay?

Because maybe if I was the Godmother of Theater, we wouldn't have the glut of absolutely fantastic theater offerings that awaits us in the coming weeks.  We could spread out our theater love a bit more. (And right before the holidays, too, when we're all paying a little more attention to our pocket books and our discretionary spending...)

The must-see theater over the next couple of weeks...

First up, we have Le Petomane's A VERY SPECIAL HOLIDAY SPECIAL (with new special short masked piece, EN ROUTE).  I am terribly late to the Le Petomane bandwagon, I'm afraid. After years of hearing nothing but good things about them from friends and from the LEO Best of's, I finally got to check out 5 THINGS, their most recent show, and write an article about them for The Paper. And now I'm a believer. I have to admit, I liked the three people from Le Petomane that I interviewed so much that I fretted about seeing the show. I wanted them to be as smart and fun and funny on stage as they were in person, and they were... in spades. From their press release:

A Very Special Holiday Special features all you would expect from a Le Petomane season-appropriate outing: snappy tunes; a giant atomic beast crushing cities; baffled scientists pointing skyward and shouting. And a message of love. It isn’t Plan 9 from the North Pole; it isn’t Rankin-Bass’s Godzilla; but it’s not far away.

A VERY SPECIAL HOLIDAY SPECIAL runs from November 9-20 (dark on the 15th) at the Bard's Town Theatre at 730p. Tickets are a sliding scale of $8-$20. For more information visit: www.lepetomane.org

My work with The Paper also led me to interview Mike Brooks, the director of the second of Theatre [502]'s shows, HUNTER GATHERERS. And I had a similar "I like you so much, please don't suck" feeling when finally seeing the show. Again, Mike is smart and thoughtful in person, and his directing absolutely did not disappoint.  Theatre [502]'s third show launches at the Parkside Studios inside of Iroquois Amphitheater November 11, 12, 14, 18, and 19 at 8pm. BROADSWORD, directed by Amy Attaway, is billed as a "Heavy Metal Play." From their press release:

Four former friends have gathered to mourn the puzzling disappearance of one of their own. What dark secrets of their heavy metal youth still scrape and bang in the basements of their lives? Their childhood dreams of rock and roll glory long fallen by the wayside, the former line-up of the shoulda-coulda-woulda band find themselves in an awkward, maybe even sinister reunion gig. Richie disappeared late one night leaving nothing but the smell of ozone - or was it sulfur? - and his partners in rock may hold the only key to his salvation. Now, pitted between two mysterious strangers, the guys must decide: do they have the strength to burn out, or will they just fade away?

I saw the joint Theatre [502]/Le Petomane staged reading of IT CAN'T HAPPEN HERE at the Parkside Studios, and I'm so excited to see how they use the space (it's a climate-controlled space on the Amphitheater stage) for a full production. This is another don't-miss-it show. More info at www.theatre502.org

Is that not enough for you?  Wait! There's more!

From the Walden website:

Phantom Band is Walden Theatre’s latest Slant Culture Series play. A laboratory for new plays by rising playwrights that feature complex teen characters, the Slant Culture Series encourages young actors to seek inspiration from a fresh, inward angle. Previous selections include The Disappearance of Daniel Hand by Dan O’Brien, My So-Called So-Called Life by David Murray, and the powerful, tragic When In Disgrace (Haply I Think on Thee) by Damon Krometis.

I saw and loved SO-CALLED and WHEN IN DISGRACE, and I'm a huge, huge fan of the Slant Culture Series because of it. I always try to make it out to as many Walden plays as possible, but that this play is also directed by Alec Volz makes this a must-see for me. Performances are at Walden November 10, 11 at 8pm and Nov 12, 17, 18, 19 at 7:30p and 12 & 19 at 2pm. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students/seniors. More info: www.waldentheatre.org

Three can't-miss theater productions in two weeks. Louisville, you're an embarrassment of theater riches!

(I have to admit, though, that I'm a little ticked off... all shows close by the 20th, and Mama Lou is visiting from the Northern Hinterlands starting the 21st! Booo!)

1 comment:

Abigail said...

We could all definitely use a Godmother of Scheduling! I think one of the problems that a lot of the small companies run into is one of space availability - there aren't many small theater spaces locally, and they're used for many events, not just theater. So looking for two consecutive weeks or weekends can be a challenge, and we end up taking what we can get.