Theater

Big Kids bring Bard’s beautiful works to BG stage

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Shakespeare’s plays and actual play collide when Beautiful Kids Independent Shakespeare Company brings the Bard’s works into Bowling Green’s City Park. Since 1997, the Beautiful Kids have localized Shakespeare’s observation that “all the world’s a stage,” and paraded Shakespeare’s panoply of characters across the Needle Hall stage. All within laughing and shouting distance of the swings, slides and picnic table. All within a wooded glade that can stand for parapets of a Danish castle, a battlefield at Agincourt, the Forest of Arden, or the wilds of Prospero’s island. The productions began in 1997 when a group of Bowling Green State University theater students decided to stage “As You Like It” at Needle Hall, and every year since students, graduates and the friends have returned to stage a Shakespeare play, sometimes two. The troupe marks its 20th year with “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” this week Wednesday, June 1, Thursday, June 2, and Friday, June 3,  at 7 p.m. The tradition has passed down from student to student with little formal structure. Tyler Ward, who was active with the troupe for five years starting in 2005, said because the plays are not done with the constraints of school or work, they have an element of freedom to them. “Beautiful Kids gave me the opportunity to explore Shakespeare on my terms,” he said. “We were doing it for the love of it. We were doing it because we wanted to do some freakin’ Shakespeare.” With the semester over, and the cast hanging on in town for a few weeks, “it became really celebratory. It became like a…


BGSU’s Jonathan Chambers honored for theatrical explorations

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News For Jonathan Chambers, theater is a venture into the unknown. “I’m interested in directing shows I don’t understand,” he said. “I see the creative endeavor of working on a show or writing an essay as the same. … It’s about my coming to a new understanding.” Chambers has taught at Bowling Green State University for 15 years, directing a show a year. They’ve ranged from “Quiet in the Land,” an intense drama about the Amish in World War I, to the giddy musical satire “Urinetown.” So when he started his most recent production “Middletown” in November, it was important for him to take the time to discuss the ideas embedded in the script with his young cast. Chambers doesn’t see a divide between the lecture hall and the stage. “I never found those two endeavors as separate,” he said in a recent interview. “I look for opportunities to spread that point of view to my students. … To me those two endeavors are more linked than separate. The idea of being a scholar artist is one I’ve tried to embrace in my career and, in turn, pass on to my students.” This mix of scholarship, teaching, and mentorship has been recognized by the American Theatre and Drama Society which has awarded Chambers its Betty Jean Jones Award. The award honors Chambers work over the span of a career. Chambers taught at St. Lawrence University in northern New York before coming to BGSU. He moved around when he was young as his father, a Church of Christ minister, moved from church to church. He sent…


Black Swamp Players will stage four shows in 2016-2017

Submitted by BLACK SWAMP PLAYERS The Black Swamp Players have announced their productions for the 2016-2017 season. On tap are: * “Sylvia” by A.R. Gurney presented at a venue to be determined from Sept. 16-18 and 23-25.  Directed by first time director, Wayne Weber. * “Vanya and Sasha and Masha and Spike” by Christopher Durang. One weekend only at the Clazel, November 3, 4, and 5.  Directed by Deb Weiser. * “Crazy for You,” Gershwin tunes with a Ken Ludwig book.  Feb. 17-19 and 24-26. at  First United Methodist Church and directed by Inge Klopping. * “Dixie Swim Club” by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, Jamie Wooten at First United Methodist on April 28-30 and May 5-7 and directed by another first time BSP director, Paul Soska.


“Getting Sara Married” tells of match made in mayhem

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News “Getting Sara Married” has just about everything you’d want in a romantic comedy: two reluctant suitors, a meddling aunt, a bout of amnesia and some serious food allergies. All those get comically twisted into a plot that not surprisingly ends up with the male ready to move his recliner into the female’s apartment. The fun is in the way the characters are manipulated in ways unlikely and comic into reaching that conclusion. The Black Swamp Players’ production of “Getting Sara Married,” written by Sam Bobrick and directed by Willard Misfeldt, a 40-year community  theater veteran, opens tonight at 8 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, 1526 E. Wooster St., Bowling Green. The show continues Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. and April 22 and 23 at 8 p.m. and April 24 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door or from Grounds for Thought or online at http://www.blackswampplayers.org/tickets/. Having a well-meaning, interfering aunt always benefits such a plot. In this case Aunt Martha (Fran Weith) fills the bill nicely. At once ditsy and single-minded, she’s concerned that her 30-something lawyer niece will “walk that long road of life alone.” “Left to your own devices,” she tells her niece in one of their hilarious telephone chats, “I’m afraid you’ll end up an old maid. By your age I had been married twice.” Isn’t that embezzler that Sara is representing single? But the niece, the Sara (Caris Cloyd) of the title, professes no interest in matrimony. She’s more concerned with preparing the defense for the embezzler. “Marriage,” Sara says at one point,…



Horizon Youth Theatre takes its show on the road… a necessity shared with others in BG thespian community

Horizon Youth Theatre is a troupe on the move… by necessity. The troupe is now in its 19th year of giving local children and teens the chance to be drama kings and queens, and it continues to be nomadic – at Otsego Elementary for its Festival of Shorts April 8, 9 and 10; holding drama classes at St. Mark’s in Bowling Green also that month; and in June presenting “Honk!” at the First United Methodist Church in Bowling Green. The location for the summer workshops is still a question mark. The troupe has had many homes over its lifetime from the soon-to-be-demolished theaters in University Hall on campus to whatever space has been available at the Woodland Mall. In a recent conversation a group of board members – President Karen Walters, Elizabeth Roberts-Zibbel, Alisa Suelzer and Haley Wilkins – said despite that peripatetic existence the troupe continues to provide theater experience to dozens of children. Since children participate in different ways, drama club to the full-blown productions, putting a precise number on how many children it serves is difficult. And the troupe is always recruiting. Still Walters estimated the participation has doubled in the last three years. “Our goal is education first, and we do that by putting on very high quality productions. But we’re not so much performance oriented as educational,” she said. Still the troupe knows how to put on a show as demonstrated by its participation in the Ohio Community Theater Association’s OCTA Fest Jr. and its collaborations with its partner the Black Swamp Players, including the recent production of “Seussical.” To do this, the board members…