Theater

BGHS Drama Club nominated for Liberator award for raising awareness of sex trafficking

The Bowling Green High School Drama Club has been nominated for a Ohio/Michigan Liberator Award for its work raising awareness of sex trafficking. The troupe is nominated in the Student/Student Group category. The award, named for the historic abolitionist newspaper The Liberator, is given out by the national organization Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution. The drama club has been working to raise awareness of the issue for five years. Recently the club presented “Lily’s Shadow,” a play written by Roxanne Schroeder-Arce in collaboration with students. The Social Issues Theatre Class had been working on raising social awareness for sex trafficking since 2012, presenting play the cast devised at more than a dozen conferences in the region. The BGHS club is one of nine nominees from the two states. To vote visit https://www.liberatorawards.com/#vote. Voting continues through the end of the month. (Read story on production)


Operatic double header bridges the centuries with laughter

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Comedy is timeless. The BGSU  Opera Theater’s double-bill of “How to Reform a Drunk” by Christoph Willibald Von Gluck from 1760 and “The Four Note Opera” by Tom Johnson from 1972  are as different in their approaches as you’d expect from works written 200 years apart. The reactions they provoke are the same – knowing chuckles and hearty guffaws. The operas will be performed tonight (Nov. 3) at 8 p.m. and Sunday (Nov. 5) at 3 p.m. in Kobacker Hall on the Bowling Green State University campus. Tickets are $20 at the door, and cheaper if purchased in advance by calling 419-372-8171 or online. https://www.bgsu.edu/the-arts.htmlfrom The Gluck is a classic comic send-up. A vintner Lukas (Tyler Strayer) conspires to get the drunken father Zipperlein (Aaron Meece) to let him marry his daughter Marie (Hannah Stroh). She, however, is in love with the actor Anton (Aaron Hill). Her mother (Eunice Ayodele), the victim of her husband’s drunken behavior, is caught betwixt. As much as Katharine despises Lukas, “actors,” as she tells her daughter, “are the worst.” Still Anton gets into her good graces by concocting a plan to reform Zipperlein. That leads to a wonderfully fantastic scene with the husband believing he and Lucas have died and gone to hell where they will face punishment for their drunkenness. Before then they get to sing robustly of the joys of wine. The English translation and adaptation from the French by Ellen Scholl, of the BGSU faculty, presents the plot in a clear and wonderful way. And director Geoff Stephenson makes sure the show has a crisp pace leading to happy resolution.  We know these characters from…


Treehouse Troupe takes “New Kid” on the road to share lessons about tolerance

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bullying is an international language. That’s a lesson Nic learns on her first day in an American school. She had moved with her family to the United States from Homeland, not speaking English, and now she must adjust to life among strangers. That’s the plot of “New Kid,” a play by Dennis Foon being staged in schools around the region by Bowling Green State University’s Treehouse Troupe. Recently the troupe staged “New Kid” in the atrium of the Wood County Public Library for home-schooled students and students from St. Aloysius. We meet Nic played by Shannan Bingham and her mother played by Kristyn Curnow as they discuss leaving their country Homeland. The backdrop is colorful and their costumes are an iridescent green. Though they say they don’t know English, their lines come out as English, and the audience knows what they are saying. Soon Nic is in her new school, shyly joining two other students, Mencha (Autumn Chisholm) and Mug (Harmon Andrews) at recess. Before she comes out the audience gets to listen in on Mencha and Mug’s conversation. Not that it will do them any good. They’re animated as they chat but the words frustrate comprehension. Clearly it’s a language, just not one we understand. Nor as it turns out any other language. The actors’ body gestures, make it clear that they are negotiating some sort of exchange. The language was made up by the playwright to give youngsters a sense of what it’s like to be in a place where you can’t understand what anyone else is saying. Nic has a rough time. Mug starts by teasing and then taunts her, even breaking…


BGHS actors hope new play brings issue of sex trafficking out of the shadows

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Bowling Green social issues theater troupe is taking its fight against juvenile sex trafficking to a new stage. The troupe has been presenting a scene about the issue for five years, including at conferences aimed at combating sex trafficking. That production was a devised play that was worked up by cast members. The devised scene was open ended. At the conclusion the audience didn’t get a resolution but a chance to talk. When the drama club earned $1,000 for creating a public service announcement on sex trafficking, drama teacher Jo Beth Gonzalez and the Drama Club decided to use the money to take the scene to another level, and “Lily’s Shadow” was born. Gonzalez brought in a friend who is a playwright Roxanne Schroeder-Arce to collaborate with the students on writing a script for a one-act play based on the devised theater piece. “Lily’s Shadow” will premiere at the Bowling Green Performing Arts Center Sunday, Oct. 29, at 3 p.m. The half-hour long play will be followed by a talk-back session about the dangers of human sex trafficking among minors. The playwright will be in attendance. “We hope people will give us a perspective on what they see because we hope the piece will have further life as a published piece,” Gonzalez said. Gonzalez said the play is fitting for children as young as 10. “We want young people to come to the play because it’s for them.” Children that young, she said, are targets of traffickers as is pointed out in the play. Schroeder-Arce, a former high school drama teacher who now teaches at the University of Texas at Austin, traveled to…


BGSU’s “Amazons” shows making art under the Nazis as darkly comic tragedy

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Frau in “Amazons and Their Men” is explicitly said not to be Leni Riefenstahl, the great German filmmaker who put her prodigious talents to the service of the Nazis. She is Riefenstahl’s moral doppelganger who allows us to view the filmmaker’s crisis of conscience between art and reality from another angle, one that puts her in even harsher light that reveals her self-deception. Art can never isolate itself from its context; reality has a way of infecting artifice. Jordan Harrison’s “Amazons and Their Men” opens tonight (Thursday, Oct. 19) at 8 p.m. in the Eva Marie Saint Theatre at Bowling Green State University, and continues with shows Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Next weekend shows are Oct. 26 and 27 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 28 at 2 and 8 p.m. Advance tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for students and children; all tickets the day of the performance are $20. Tickets can be purchased at bgsu.edu/arts or the Wolfe Center box office. As the play opens, we find The Frau (Sarah Drummer ) filming what she perceives as her masterpiece “Penthesilea” a version of Greek myth in which and  the Greek hero and her enemy Achilles fall in love. It is clear what draws her to this story, Penthesilea, queen is a strong, dominant woman, not unlike how she sees The Frau sees herself. Yet the passions within the story are at odds with her controlling nature. Passion for her is a tool to achieve her goal of a visually stunning work of art. That work aspires with a formal, chilly beauty….


The arts can save the world, opera composer Jake Heggie believes

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When composer Jake Heggie comes to campus next week, he has a charge for music students – bring back the arts to schools. “This is a critical moment,” he said. “Arts can save the world.” They build empathy and understanding, and without that human beings’ more destructive tendencies take hold. Heggie, composer of the operas “Dead Man Walking,” “Moby-Dick,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and others, will visit Bowling Green State University Sunday, Oct. 22 through Tuesday, Oct. 24 as guest resident for the Edwin H. Simmons Creative Minds Series. He will give a free public lecture on Sunday at 8 p.m. in the Donnell Theatre in the Wolfe Center for the Arts. He will also give talks about his work, present workshops, and offer master classes Monday and Tuesday. Visit for www.bgsu.edu/CreativeMinds the schedule. All events are free. Heggie knows well the power of music to give solace and bring people together. Growing up in Bexley outside of Columbus, he started to study classical piano, and around the house he heard the big band music his father, an avocational saxophonist, loved. His father had dreamed of becoming a musician, but the son of Hungarian immigrants, he went into medicine and became a doctor. He suffered from depression and committed suicide when Heggie was 10. Music helped Heggie deal with the emotional “shrapnel” of his father’s death.  “I found solace in piano and musical theater. That’s where I found strength.” He started about this time to write songs with his idols in mind, Barbra Streisand, Carly Simon, Peggy Lee, and the other musical storytellers whom he loved. He did not, he said, in a recent…


“Rocky Horror Show” on stage in Maumee

From 3B PRODUCTIONS 3B Productions will present the musical stage version of “The Rocky Horror Show,” Oct.19-22 at the Maumee Indoor Theatre. Performance schedule is: Thursday, October 19, 8 p.m., Friday, October 20, 8 p.m., Saturday, October 21 7 p.m., followed by a midnight performance. Conversations with the cast and crew immediately follow each performance. Dr. Frank-N-Furter and his merry band of misfits take you on a strange journey of love, lust, and the quest for ultimate satisfaction in this updated version of the 1975 Broadway musical that inspired the cult film “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”. One dark and stormy night, Brad and Janet, a newly-engaged couple, set out to begin their journey toward matrimonial bliss when a sudden blowout forces them down a path of domination, illumination, and sensual debauchery that ultimately leaves them searching for more than just help with a flat tire. A parody tribute to the science fiction and horror B movies of the 1930s through early 1970s, this hilariously dark and foreboding musical invites you to leave your inhibitions at the door, and revel in the strange and absurd. Fans of the film will recognize many of the songs, such as “Science Fiction Double Feature”, “Damn it Janet”, “Time Warp”, “Sweet Transvestite”, “Hot Patootie”, and more. The production features many local actors, including: Emily Popp, Janet: Courtney Gilliland, Bradley King, Bradley King, Durrell Johnson, Matt Badyna, Shannon Ruhe, Mara Connor, Tanner Duvall, Zachary, Patrick Davis, and Dylan Coale. Audience members are encouraged to dress in costume, bring props (non-food only), to dance, or to sing-along. This show is recommended for ages 18 and up. “Rocky Horror”  is directed Joe Barton, with music direction by Janine Baughman, and choreography…


Horizon Youth youngsters tune into absurd comedy with “Magic Harmonica”

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The stage manager in Horizon Youth Theatre’s production of “The Magic Harmonica and Other Fanciful Tales” has problems keeping her cast in line. They always want to veer away from the script. Officious, and controlling, the stage manager played Kaitlyn Valantine is not above yanking one narrator for another when they displease her. What she can’t control is the way the playwright Janet Layberry also has a mind of her own. These four one-act plays within a play all employ the tropes of fairy tales, but do so in absurd and comic ways. “The Magic Harmonica” is on stage at the Otsego High auditorium Thursday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $5. Visit www.horizonyouththeatre.org/product/harmonica. The play uses the troupe’s younger cohort of actors, ages 6 through 12, but there seem few concessions to age. The humor is at times intentionally juvenile, often involving grade school word play. Nobody delivers those jokes better than an actual grade schooler. Sometimes the humor seems pitched to the parents, as when Michelle (Calista Wilkins) in “The Woobly Fiasco” tells the enchanted prince carrying an outsized sword: “People haven’t used swords for ages, now they have … lawyers.” And then there’s the jester played by Liam Rogel who trades in absurdist non-sequiturs. Each story has lessons here but they spare us the morals and never let messages get in the way of a good time. The first of the four plays, “You Call That a Bedmonster?” is a typical fairy tale set up. Here we have a princess (Addie Smith) upset by a monster, except what troubles her is that this monster, Humphrey…


BGSU Arts Events through Oct. 24

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING  & COMMUNICATIONS Oct. 11 – The Faculty Artist Series presents BGSU tuba/euphonium instructor David Saltzman. An active soloist and chamber musician, Saltzman was the winner of the 1996 Colonial Euphonium Tuba Quartet’s Tuba Solo Competition in Albany, New York. Since then, he has performed solo recitals at many regional and international festivals, and he has most recently been part of a consortium of tuba players commissioning a new concerto for tuba by Samuel Adler, currently slated to premiere in October 2018. Salzman’s performance will begin at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Oct. 12 – The Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble will perform as part of a small ensemble with guest artist Matthew Murchison. Murchison is known as a varied performer, composer, arranger, educator, conductor and producer. He was a member of the River City Brass in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from 2002-15, and was the principal solo euphonium for the last nine of those years. Since then, Murchison has performed solo and chamber music concerts across the U.S. The performance will begin at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Oct. 13 – The BGSU Concert Band will perform as part of Homecoming festivities. The band will perform traditional repertoire and new compositions by the world’s leading composers, conducted by Dr. Bruce Moss. The performance will begin at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall of Moore Musical Arts Center. Tickets in advance are $3 for students and $7 for adults and available at bgsu.edu/arts or by calling 419-372-8171. Oct. 15 – The Sunday Matinee Series presents “Bedroom, Parlor and Bath” (1931, U.S.A., 85 minutes, directed by Edward Sedwick, with Buster Keaton, Charlotte Greenwood and Reginald Denny), with an introduction by film historian Dr. Jan…


Tickets Available for HYT’s “Magic Harmonica”

Submitted by HORIZON YOUTH THEATRE Horizon Youth Theatre is pleased to present their third annual fall production for younger actors aged 6 – 12, The Magic Harmonica and Other Fanciful Tales. Directed by Keith Guion and featuring thirty children from many area schools, Magic Harmonica will be performed at Otsego High School (18505 Tontogany Creek Road) on Thursday, October 12 and Saturday, October 14 at 7:00 pm; and Sunday, October 15 at 2:00 pm. Tickets can be purchased online now at www.horizonyouththeatre.org/product/harmonica for just $5.00. The Magic Harmonica and Other Fanciful Tales by Janet Layberry is a collection of four enchanting plays sparkling with charm, wit, imagination, and a quirky sense of humor. In You Call That a Bedmonster?, Princess Julia discovers that Humphrey, the monster under her bed, is missing, and sends her guard out to find him. The Magic Harmonica brings a bit of excitement and adventure into an otherwise dull kingdom. But Hoo Is It For? takes us through an enchanted forest where nothing is what it appears to be, and the party which is rumored to be happening is hard to find. The Woobly Fiasco is a play within a play about a Stage Manager having trouble with her actors, who are supposed to be narrating a play about Wooblies, mysterious creatures who have become the caretakers of the animals with whom they share a crowded forest.   The cast members all play at least two roles within the four mini-plays and are as follows: Simon Baney, Lauren Carmen, Arianna Chung, Greta Chung, Emily Coan, Brianna Dunham, Reece Hall,    Emma Kate Holbrook, Bindi Hoskay, Emma Montion, Kathryn Mullins, Lauren Peppers, Lee Ann Polinsky, Adam Proulx, Isobel Roberts-Zibbel, Liam…


Black Swamp Players’ “Baskerville” is more about laughs than logic

  By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Ken Ludwig’s “Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery” gives the whodunit a whole new twist. Figuring out the mystery take a back seat to figuring out what actor will appear where and as what character speaking in what accent. The cast’s coming and goings, all facilitated by a revolving stage whips up the kind of manic comedy that makes Ludwig’s plays so beloved of community theater troupes, including the Black Swamp Players. “Baskerville” opens the Players’ 50th season this weekend. Shows are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. and Sept. 29 and 30 at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church, 1526 E. Wooster St., Bowling Green. Tickets are $12 and $10 at http://www.blackswampplayers.org or at the door. That the Players should open their 50th season with this comic take on a classic Sherlock Holmes tale is entirely fitting since Ludwig comedies and a variety of mysteries have been a staple of their seasons. They come together in “Baskerville.” The play, directed by Kistin Forman, takes the classic tale and surrounds Holmes (Eric Simpson) and his friend Dr. Watson (Lane Hakel) with a cast of  40 zany characters all played by three actors—Christina Hoekstra, Jordan Jarvis, Ben Forman, who also gets credit for the clever set design. Here the sleuth’s cogitation over the clues is  upstaged by their antics. They bounce from one character to another, sometimes in the same scene. Forman, at one point, keeps having to switch hats, literally, to play two different people. That also means slipping from a Texas drawl to a crisp English accent. Now I’m usually death…


Horizon Youth Theatre’s ‘Kindergarten’ packed with lessons & laughter

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Horizon Youth Theatre’s “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” opens with a story about a kindergarten production of Cinderella. That’s interesting given just last spring many of these same young actors were performing “Cinderella.” That Rodgers and Hammerstein “Cinderella,” however, did not have a pig. Productions of the classic fairy tale usually don’t have pigs. But in this Robert Fulghum story, a pig is just what the thoughtful young Norman (Bella Truman) wants to play. When told there’s no pig in Cinderella, the youngster replies: “There is now!” And the fairy godmother in this tale, the kindergarten teacher, makes sure Norman’s dream comes true. From this kindergarten scene through a lecture by a Greek philosopher (Daniel Cagle) who’s not afraid to answer a question about the meaning of life, Fulghum’s play offers life lessons and uplift leavened by lots of laughter. Horizon Youth Theatre is staging the play opening tonight (Thursday, Sept. 14) at 7 p.m., continuing Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets, $5, will be sold at the door. Seating is limited. The show is being presented with the audience in the round on the stage. That puts the audience in the middle of the action as the young actors hustle making entrances and exits and wrestling oversized alphabet blocks onstage. There’s no place for the young thespians to hide with eyes all around and large mirrors on the back wall reflecting the action. Director Cassie Greenlee said she’s a fan of the show. She directed one scene of it with another troupe and wanted to direct the entire play. Fulghum is, she said, “a…


Tickets for HYT’s “Kindergarten” now available

Submitted by HORIZON YOUTH THEATRE Horizon Youth Theatre is pleased to announce its 2017 fall production, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, written by Robert Fulghum and directed by Cassie Greenlee. Performances are at Otsego High School, 18505 Tontogany Creek Road, on Thursday, September 14 at 7:00 pm; Saturday, September 16 at 7:00 pm; and Sunday, September 17 at 2:00 pm. All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten brings life to several of Robert Fulghum’s wonderfully told stories from his collected writings. Composed of around twenty short, inter-connected scenes, the play explores important life lessons learned at every age, through stories that are funny, engaging, impactful, and thought-provoking. From a kindergarten class’s highly unusual production of Cinderella, to an over-the-top wedding gone horribly wrong, to a young girl going up against her father in the ultimate familial showdown, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten will keep you laughing and keep you thinking. HYT’s production is staged in the round, a style of performance that places the audience on all sides of the actors, creating an intimate atmosphere that invites the audience to more actively experience the power of these stories and lessons.  Due to the unique in the round seating which is directly on the stage, tickets are limited for each show and it is highly recommended that they purchased in advance at this link: www.horizonyouththeatre.org.  From Thursday (9/14) on, if tickets are not sold out they can be purchased at the door. Tickets are still just $5.00. Raffle prizes, tumblers, and t-shirts will also be available for purchase to show your support for HYT. The ensemble, appearing as themselves, is as follows: Maddox…


North Korean troupe lifts curtain on harsh life under Kim Il-sung’s regime

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The scene acted out by eight defectors from North Korea left some, including the director, wiping tears from their eyes. A younger brother knelt by his dead sister pleading for her not to leave him alone. Over and over, he cried out, until another character came and led him off. Maybe they would cross the Tumen River into China, and maybe from China finally reach South Korea. As emotionally wrenching as the 20-minute drama was, the reality is worse, said Taejoon Choi, one of the actors. The audience saw “just a glimpse” of a situation “more serious and severe.” The cast members are not professional actors. They are victims of the North Korean regime who have made that journey to refugee camps in China, where further hardship and abuse awaits them, and finally to South Korea. This was not fiction. This was their lives, and continues to be the reality for those who remain in North Korea. The mission of the troupe from NAUH International is to expose the harsh realities under which people live in North Korea. As part of that mission the troupe visited Bowling Green State University Wednesday night to present “Kotjebi: We Are Happy.” The play takes place in the market, Jangmadang, where the casual brutality of life under despot Kim Il-sung plays out. A mother played by Gunjn Ju, sells homemade tofu to feed her two children. She is joined by a schoolboy played by Taejoon Choi. His father has died because of the famine, now his mother is dying because of typhoid. He is selling his father’s clothes to fulfill his mother’s last wish – to have an…


Black Swamp Players launch fundraising drive for a new home as part of golden anniversary celebration

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Black Swamp Players celebrated 50 years of drama and comedy Saturday night at the Clazel. That’s 232 plays, noted Lane Hakel, the troupe’s president. Those plays were staged in 28 different venues. After an admittedly unscientific poll at the Ohio Community Theatre Association conference, Hakel confirmed, for himself at least, his assumption that having a community theater company survive that long without its own home is rare. As much pride as the Players may take in beating the odds – “it’s a testament to our fortitude” – they want that to change. Hakel announced that in honor of its 50th anniversary the troupe is launching a campaign to raise $50,000 – $1,000 for each year the troupe has been entertaining the public. That would be the start of the fund that would be intended to either acquire the troupe its own house, the dream outcome, Hakel said, or rent a space more suitable to their needs. Since 2000, the troupe has been more or less in residence at the church hall at the First United Methodist Church. Hakel said the Players owe a depth of gratitude to the church for letting them use its space. But the room has limitations. It’s not a great place to act because of the acoustics, and there’s no infrastructure for sets and staging. Also because the shows are presented in the church there are contraints to what kind of material can be presented. Anything with “adult language” either can’t be done or must be “sanitized” as was the case for last season’s “Sylvia.” The troupe also often must hit the road in late fall, when the church…