Theater

Arts X reaching for new heights

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Erin Garber-Pearson has performed several times at Arts X at Bowling Green State University. The former teacher in the School of Art feels right at home at the festival that brings all the arts on campus together. Her own work blends sculpture, video, storytelling and aerial acrobatics. That’s a perfect fit for Arts X with its mélange of art sales, exhibits, musical and theatrical performances, all colored by a certain level of tom foolery. When Garber-Pearson and Kathleen Livingston perform at Arts X as Violet and Fortuna on Saturday, Dec.3, the acrobatic storytellers will take the work to new heights. The work-in-progress “Laces” involves two solo and two duet pieces.  The duets require the performers to fly higher. Working as a solo aerialist is challenging enough but working together requires a heightened sense of communication and trust, Garber-Pearson said.  The duo has been working on the duets for three years. Arts X is “a good time to show” what they’ve been working on. The works fits right in to the theme of Arts X 2016:  “Volanti: Seeking Unknown Heights.” The event runs from 5 to 9 p.m. and is preceded at 4 p.m. by a holiday concert by the Bowling Green Philharmonia in Donnell Theatre in the Wolfe Center. Arts X is a free public event. Violet and Fortuna will perform two 20-minute shows, one at 7 p.m. and another at 8 p.m. in the Donnell Theatre. They will be joined by dancers from Auxwerks in Ann Arbor. Also BGSU faculty member Montana Miller…


BGSU Lively Arts through Dec. 5

Nov. 29—Undergraduate and graduate piano students will perform at 7 p.m. at the Wood County District Public Library, 251 N. Main St., Bowling Green. Free Nov. 29—Percussion ensembles will perform at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall at the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Nov. 30—The Early Music Ensemble will perform at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Dec. 1—The International Film Series concludes with the 1977 film “Neokanchennaia P’esa Dlia Mekhanicheskogo Pianino (An Unfinished Piece for Mechanical Piano),” directed by Nikita Mikhalkov. From Russia’s most well-known contemporary filmmaker, an intriguing story of former lovers who meet at a pre-revolutionary country estate. Casual conversations on social issues and the music of Liszt, Rachmaninoff and Donizetti supply background to a Chekhovian treatment of returning past love. The screening begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Gish Film Theater located in Hanna Hall. Free Dec. 1—Creative writing students in the bachelor of fine arts program will present their work. The reading begins at 7:30 p.m. in Prout Chapel. Free Dec. 1—World Percussion Night features multiple styles including performances by the Taiko, Afro-Caribbean and Gamelan ensembles. The concert begins at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall at the Moore Musical Arts Center. Tickets can be purchased from the BGSU Arts Box Office at 419-372-8171. Advance tickets are $7 for adults and $3 for students and children. All tickets the day of the concert are $10. Dec. 3—Ensembles of the BGSU College of Musical Arts will perform a Holiday Concert as part of the 12th annual ArtsX events. The performance…


BGSU cast kicks up its heels in “Drowsy Chaperone”

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News “The Drowsy Chaperone” is a love song to musical theater, and our hero barely sings a note. Instead the Man in the Chair played by Nathan Wright, listens and revels and harrumphs, and in the end reveals himself. “The Drowsy Chaperone” opens in Bowling Green State University’s Donnell Theatre tonight (Nov. 17) at 8 p.m. and continues with shows Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. with matinees Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Advance tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for students and children. All tickets the day of the performance are $20. 419-372-8171 or visit www.bgsu.edu. The show opens in the dark with Wright talking about that sense of anticipation before the lights go on in the theater. Then they do, and he informs us what he expects from a show: “A good story and a few good songs.” And the man, being something of a curmudgeon, tells us as well what he doesn’t like, including breaking through the fourth wall and interacting with the audience, which is exactly what he is doing. And that’s what he does throughout the show, which is billed as a musical within a comedy. He puts on an LP, a prized possession, though we don’t know just why until much later. It’s an original cast recording of a 1920s musical “The Drowsy Chaperone.” As the overture starts, the man begins a guided tour of the show, and we slowly find out why it is his favorite. Even he admits it’s hardly a classic. Rather it is a spectacle…


First United Methodist spreads the Gospel with rousing “Godspell”

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News “Godspell” turns the good news into happy talk. The musical, directed by Janine Baughman, is on stage at the First United Methodist Church Thursday through Saturday. The 34th annual dinner theater is sold out, but there will be about 20 tickets for show and dessert only available each night. Tickets will be $15 at the door. This after dinner seating will be at 6:45 p.m. With a book by John-Michael Tebelak and most of the music by Stephen Schwartz, the musical’s take on the Gospel is very much in the spirit of  1971 when it was created, free-spirited, free-wheeling. The show opens with a gaggle of philosophers, each spouting fragments of their philosophy creating a cacophony of abstraction. As “Tower of Babble” proceeds, they each take turns climbing a tall ladder center stage. Then John the Baptist (Will Baughman) enters, carrying a water gun, skirting the audience as he approaches the stage. He sets about baptizing the cast who have now shed their personas as philosophers. Now they are just folks, wide-eyed and happy. Baughman brings a big goofy charm to John, and then to Judas. The last to arrive is Jesus (Michael Barlos). Barlos conveys a charisma that instantly captivates the crowd and the audience. He exudes a warmth and tolerance, like a favorite teacher. He loves the rambunctiousness of his disciples, but knows when to firmly but lovingly draw the line. The cast is a team of individuals. They all have their own way of smiling, and each gets a chance to shine…


Horizon kids play out Aesop’s immortal lessons

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Horizon Youth Theatre’s production “The Fabulous Fables of Aesop” begins in chaos. We have 10 kids talking at once, as fast as they can. They are trying to tell all of Aesop’s fables, and this is the only way they think that they can accomplish the feat. That’s a hilariously real moment. Kids acting like kids. They do realize telling all the tales, about 600 at last count, even in that chaotic way would be impossible. What the Horizon Troupe does, using director Keith Guion’s script, is introduce us to the ancient fabulist’s world with a handful of those tales, little more than anecdotes, that continue to resonate to this day. Our language is spiked with phrases and lessons from the Greek storyteller’s fables, standing with Shakespeare and the Bible as a source for aphorisms and turns of phrase. Horizon Youth Theatre is staging “The Fabulous Fables of Aesop” tonight (Nov. 11) and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. in the auditorium for Otsego High School. Tickets are $5. Visit horizonyouththeatre.org. Beside its exploration of the tales of Aesop, the script offers a look into what it’s like to stage a youth theater production. Starting with chaos, the actors go through all the various chores they need to right on stage. The setting is simple a few blocks that the actors themselves mostly move into place from tale to tale. A table is located at the rear of the stage where they collect props and the costumes. The opening dialogue…


BGSU Arts Events through Nov. 23

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Through Nov. 21—“The Deathworks of May Elizabeth Kramner,” a mixed media installation by The Poyais Group, continues through Nov. 21 in the Dorothy Uber Bryan Gallery in the Fine Arts Center. The exhibit purports to be a re-creation by the Poyais Group of outsider artist Kramner’s (1867-1977) private lifework, a tent version of the town where she lived, with each tent representing someone who had died. Discovered by a team of anthropologists after her death but then lost in a fire, the installation was remade by the Poyais Group (Jesse Ball, Thordis Bjornsdottir, Olivia Robinson and Jesse Stiles) based on notes by one of the original anthropologists. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday–Saturday, 6-9 p.m. Thursdays, and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Free Through Nov. 22—“Criminal Justice?” an exhibit by activist artists Carol Jacobson and Andrea Bowers, investigates the attitudes and biases embedded in the U.S. criminal justice system. Jacobson is an award-winning social documentary artist whose works in video and photography address issues of women’s criminalization and censorship. Bowers’ video “#sweetjane” and drawings explore the 2012 Steubenville, Ohio, rape case and the citizens whose activism resulted in two rape convictions. The drawings reproduce the text messages sent among the teenage witnesses to the assault on an underage young woman. “Criminal Justice?” is on view in the Willard Wankelman Gallery at the Fine Arts Center. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 6-9 p.m. Thursdays, and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Free Nov. 9—The Faculty Artist Series continues with guitarist…


Keith Guion is a master of family entertainment

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Keith Guion wryly admits to being a bad influence on his three children. Guion is a theater devotee, as a director and writer, especially children’s theater. And all three of his children have followed his footsteps, and the Horizon Youth theatre and other troupes have been the beneficiaries. His daughter, Cassie Greenlee of Bowling Green, remembers when she was in fourth grade and had been offered the part of Annie in “Annie Warbucks.” She was concerned about taking the part, so she discussed it with her father and mother, Wendy Guion. They didn’t push her, rather discussed the pros and cons. She took the part. “That was the beginning of the end,” she said while waiting for a preview of her father’s current show, “The Fabulous Fables of Aesop.” Horizon Youth Theatre will stage the show Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at Otsego High School. Tickets are $5 and available at the door and at horizonyouththeatre.org. Guion wrote the “Fabulous Aesop” script a number of years ago while working in the Ashland area. That’s where his children, including two sons Matthew and Jeffrey Guion, grew up and picked up the love of all aspects of theater. “I never really encouraged them to get involved,” their father said, “they just sort of did.” That included acting, all the theater crafts and writing. The play references 21 of the more than 600 fables attributed to Aesop, the storytelling slave from ancient Greece. Eight of them are acted out, while the…


‘Gondoliers’ provides a comic & tuneful respite from dirty politics

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Maybe “The Gondoliers” is just what we need about now. With a political campaign rolling like a torrent of sludge to a messy conclusion, a frothy piece of social satire from another time is a welcomed diversion. The venerable team of Gilbert and Sullivan reminds us that being a doofus is just part of the human condition. Doesn’t matter if you’re royalty or gondolier, you are at heart a fool. But in the world of Gilbert and Sullivan even fools can spin off a tangle of intricate rhyme that precisely delineates the absurd world they inhabit. “The Gondoliers or the King of Barataria” was the team’s last hit back in the last decade of the 19th century. And Bowling Green State University Opera Theatre whips up a production that is true to the absurdist spirit of the original. The show is on stage tonight (Nov. 4) at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. on Kobacker Hall on campus. Advance tickets are $15 and $5 for students and children. All tickets the day of the performance are $20. Tickets can be purchased from the BGSU Arts Box Office at 419-372-8171 or at www.bgsu.edu/arts. The tale is a subversive fancy, so convoluted and contrived that when the character Luiz (Aaron Hill) repeats the story to Princess Casilda (Alissa Plenzler) she’s just as incredulous as the audience, though not nearly as amused. Casilda is the daughter of down-and-out royalty who married her off as a baby to a prince. When the prince’s family became Methodists “of the most bigoted…


BG High troupe conjures magical world of Narnia

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News On a gray autumn morning fourth and fifth graders from Bowling Green schools got to visit a magical land of Narnia. They came on school buses, accompanied by teachers. The heroes of the play “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe” that they’d come to see arrive in Narnia through a wardrobe in an English country home. For the BG students this was a release from the humdrum; for the quartet of British school kids, this was a life and death adventure, involving evil and redemption. The Bowling Green High School Drama Club opens the stage adaptation of the C.S. Lewis philosophical fantasy “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” tonight (Nov. 3) at 7 p.m. continuing with shows Friday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. in the Bowling Green Performing Arts Center. These children – Peter (Michael Martin,), Edmund (Bob Walters), Susan (Megan Carmen), and Lucy (Lily Krueger) – are transported into a land in the grip of eternal winter. The wicked White Queen (Claire Wells-Jensen) has cast a spell over Narnia. Unbeknownst to the children, their coming has been foretold as a sign of the return to the rule of Aslan (Martin Simon) the just, kindly, giant lion. Narnia is populated by magical forest creatures, who are largely on the side of Aslan and the evil magical creatures, the specters, ghouls and ogres who rally to the witch. The high school troupe brings this world to life. Mr. and Mrs. Beaver (Alexis Reinbolt and Moe Kellow) lumber about…


Horizon Youth Theatre presents ‘The Fabulous Fables of Aesop’

Submitted by Horizon Youth Theatre Horizon Youth Theatre is pleased to announce its 2016 winter production, The Fabulous Fables of Aesop, adapted and directed by Keith Guion. Performances are at Otsego High School, 18505 Tontogany Creek Road, on Friday November 11 and Saturday November 12 at 7:00 pm; and Sunday November 13 at 2:00 pm.  Tickets are $5.00 and will be available at HorizonYouthTheatre.org or at the door. There will also be a preview at Wood County District Public Library on Saturday, November 5 at 10:30 am, which is free and open to the public. An excerpt will also be performed for John Zibbel’s Foundations of Inclusive Early Childhood class at BGSU on Tuesday evening to help demonstrate the benefits of theatre for elementary-age children. Actors aged 6 to 12 from six area schools are featured, as well as online / home schooled: BG Middle School, Conneaut Elementary, Otsego Elementary, Montessori School of Bowling Green, Maumee Valley Country Day School, and Ohio Virtual Academy.  The play involves a company of twelve young players who arrive to share the fables of Aesop. Since Aesop wrote as many as 600 fables, this is an enormous undertaking. Several players try to accomplish this challenging task by sharing different fables at the same time, speaking over one another to be heard. When this method isn’t effective, the remaining players explain, through one of Aesop’s fables, exactly why it didn’t work. Then all the players collaborate to share several additional fables, some of them familiar, others not as well known. By using very simple costumes and…


BGSU arts events through Nov. 16

Through Nov. 21 – “The Deathworks of May Elizabeth Kramer,” a mixed media installation by The Poyais Group, continues through Nov. 21 in the Dorothy Uber Bryan Gallery in the Fine Arts Center. The exhibit is a purported recreation by the Poyais Group of outsider artist Kranmer’s (1867-1977) private lifework, a tent version of the town where she lived, with each tent representing someone who had died. Discovered by a team of anthropologists after her death but then lost in a fire, the installation was remade by the Poyais Group (Jesse Ball, Thordis Bjornsdottir, Olivia Robinson and Jesse Stiles) based on notes by one of the original anthropologists. Gallery Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday–Saturday, 6-9 p.m. Thursdays, and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Free Through Nov. 22 – “Criminal Justice?” an exhibit by activist artists Carol Jacobson and Andrea Bowers, investigates the attitudes and biases embedded in the U.S. criminal justice system. Jacobson is an award-winning social documentary artist whose works in video and photography address issues of women’s criminalization and censorship. See story: http://bgindependentmedia.org/artist-documents-the-cycle-of-abuse-suffered-by-female-inmates/. Bowers’ video “#sweetjane” and drawings explore the 2012 Steubenville, Ohio rape case and the citizens whose activism resulted in two rape convictions. The drawings reproduce the text messages sent among the teenage witnesses to the assault on an underage young woman. “Criminal Justice?” is on view in the Willard Wankelman Gallery at the Fine Arts Center. Gallery Hours are 11 a.m. – 4p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 6-9 p.m. Thursdays, and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Free Nov. 2 – The Faculty Artist Series features the BGSU woodwind…


Contemporary comedy at Clazel puts Players in a different light

   By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News   Christopher Durang’s comedy “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” has made a quick turnaround from the Broadway stage to the stage of the Clazel in downtown Bowling Green. The Black Swamp Players will present the 2013 Tony winner for best play Nov. 3, 4 and 5 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25. Tickets available at Grounds for Thought and online at www.blackswampplayers.org.  Seating will be at tables for eight. The play’s quick trip from being a Sigourney Weaver star turn to featuring a cast of Players newcomers and regulars started when Deb Weiser read about the new comedy in the New Yorker. It struck her as a fun show to stage, so she pitched it to the Players’ board. The play seemed a good fit as well for the Clazel. Some of the language is more appropriate for the night club setting than the Methodist church basement where the Players usually work. Besides, the First United Methodist stage is occupied this month with the church’s own production of “Godspell!” Last year when the Players faced the same dilemma, they took an evening of one acts on the road, staging them in three different spots around town, including the Clazel. This year the show will stay put in the downtown venue. The ticket includes a buffet of hors d’oeuvres, dessert and coffee. And the Clazel’s bar will be open. Doors open at 7 p.m. This week the cast was busy off-site rehearsing for opening night. “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” is…


BGSU arts events calendar through Nov. 9

At the galleries – “The Deathworks of May Elizabeth Kramer,” a mixed media installation by The Poyais Group, continues through Nov. 21 in the Dorothy Uber Bryan Gallery in the Fine Arts Center. The exhibit, a collaboration with the New Music Festival, claims to be a recreation by the Poyais Group of outsider artist Kranmer’s (1867-1977) private lifework, a tent version of the town where she lived, with each tent representing someone who had died. Discovered by a team of anthropologists after her death but then lost in a fire, the installation was remade by the Poyais Group (Jesse Ball, Thordis Bjornsdottir, Olivia Robinson and Jesse Stiles) based on notes by one of the original anthropologists. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday–Saturday, 6-9 p.m. Thursdays, and 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Free Oct. 27–Creative writing M.F.A. students will read from their work at 7:30 p.m. in Prout Chapel. Free Oct. 27–The International Film Series continues with the 2012 German film “Oh Boy (A Coffee in Berlin),” directed by Jan Ole Gerster. A young man in the dreamy process of losing everything he has wanders through Berlin to the accompaniment of comedic mood music. His contemporary angst plays out on the black-and-white background of a city with a dark past. It’s never been so difficult to get a cup of coffee in a huge city. The screening will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Gish Film Theater in Hanna Hall. Free Oct. 27 – A performance of “Evelyn in Purgatory,” an award-winning dark comedy by Topher Payne, will begin at 8 p.m. in…


BGSU cast delivers heavenly performance of “Evelyn in Purgatory”

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Nothing is as it seems in the “rubber room.” That’s a room, one of many actually in the New York Public School’s reassignment centers. If you are a teacher who runs afoul of authority, you are sent here while your case works its way through the twisted bowels of the city and union bureaucracy. That can take months. And during that time teachers sit, for work days on end, supervised by a proctor who reports if they are late or absent, left to their own devices, though still subject to the whims of the bureaucracy. That’s the purgatory that Evelyn Reid (Laura Hohman)  arrives in when a student, known to be a liar, reports that she saw the teacher making out with a track star. Evelyn joins the other disaffected denizens of the room. How this bright, young and ambitious teacher changes the dynamic of the room unfolds in “Evelyn in Purgatory.” The Topher Payne play, directed by Cynthia Stroud, opened Thursday  in the Eva Marie Saint Theatre in Bowling Green State University’s Wolfe Center for the Arts. The show continues with performances: Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday, at 2 p.m.; Oct. 27 and 28 at 8 p.m.; and Oct. 29 at 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $15, available at:  http://www.bgsu.edu/arts-and-sciences/theatre-and-film.html. The script mixes sharp humor and close character observations with drama that darkens along the way. There’s an undertow of unease, not unlike a “Twilight Zone” episode. All this is presented on minimal stage and realized with vivid acting that brings…


BGHS Drama Club staging “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”

From BOWLING GREEN HIGH SCHOOL DRAMA CLUB  The Bowling Green High School Drama Club will present the classic C.S. Lewis story “The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe” on Nov. 3 and 4 at 7 p.m. and Saturday Nov. 5 at 2 p.m. in the Bowling Green Performing Arts Center. The Drama Club’s interpretation of the four children who enter the land of Narnia through a wardrobe and find themselves caught up in a war between the White Witch and the Aslan, the King of Beasts, features snow and fog, actors on stilts, a giant puppet operated by three actors, music, and masks. In addition to the Drama Club’s cast and crew members, 40 students enrolled in the high school’s Theatre Design course are designing, constructing and painting the play’s major set pieces. Under the leadership of director Dr. Jo Beth Gonzalez and technical director Ryan Albrecht, these students are crafting the oversized wardrobe, the great Stone Table, the Witch’s sleigh, the giant puppet Aslan, Mr. and Mrs. Beaver’s home, and the tree-scape background. Tickets, available at the door, for this family-oriented production are $6 for students and senior citizens, and $8 for adults. Production stage managers are Meagan Worthy and Josiah Brosius. The cast includes: Elaine Hudson, Martin Simon, Claire Wells-Jensen, Michael Martin, Megan Carmen, Bob Walters, Lily Krueger, Rachel Amburgey and Alexis Reinbolt. Also, Moe Kellow, Devon Jackson, Nova Cullison, Thomas Long, Ethan Brown, Olivia Strang, Charlotte Perez, Sydney Adler, Abraham Brockway, Alyssa Clemens, Sophi Hachtel, Jessica Miller, Narnia Rieske, Alexis Roehl and Anne Weaver.