Theater

BG high students get in the act as directors in this weekend’s showcase

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Claire Wells-Jensen is trying to block a quartet of actors on the stage of the Bowling Green Performing Arts Center. The arrangement of actors just doesn’t seem to be coming together quite like she and co-director Lily Krueger envisioned. “This is the most stressful thing I’ve ever done,” she says. Maybe as frustrating as a mom trying to hustle a teenage daughter off to school. Maybe as frustrating as herding cats… on the internet. Wells-Jensen and Krueger are directing “The Internet is Distract – Oh Look A Kitten!” That’s one of four one-act plays on the bill Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at 7 p.m. at the Bowling Green Performing Arts Center. The school’s Improv Troupe will also perform. Tickets are $8 and $6 for students and senior citizens. Seniors with a Bobcat Pass get in free. Jo Beth Gonzalez, the advisor for the Drama Club, said the program of one-act plays gives students a chance assume the director’s role. “Kids think directing is easy until they do it. They learn so much,” she said. Certainly that was the case for Krueger and Wells-Jensen. “It was not what I expected,” Krueger said.  “We’ve been in one acts directed by students, and you think you know what they’re going through, but it completely different.” The responsibility for the play from selection to staging falls on their shoulders. Wells-Jensen and Krueger realized their young cast needed a little more help concentrating so they did four focus exercises before each rehearsal. The other plays on the bill are: “Windmills and Millstones” by Louise Wade, directed by Meagan Worthy, a thought-provoking play about characters whose playwright has abandoned them. “Action News: Now With 10% More Action” by Jonathan Rand, directed by Rachel Amburgey, a comedy that spoofs local TV news. “Life as a Techie or Something Like It” by Christopher Fleitas, directed by Natalie Avery and Jessica Wilson, a comedy in which a student must decide which faction to belong to – the theatre techies or the actors – of a hilariously bad high school musical. Gonzalez said students must make a proposal explaining why they want to direct and what script they’ve chosen. She said she can give them some guidance as far as scripts, and they see some at the annual state thespian conference. But they often go online to find plays. “They’re sleuths,” the drama teacher…


BG foundation gives grants to community groups

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Community organizations were given grants earlier this week to bring music, sports, reading and more to Bowling Green. The grants, from the Bowling Green Community Foundation, are intended to help the very young to the very old, and everyone in between. The annual grant program began after the 1993 BG Leadership class started the foundation in order to help local groups serve the community, explained Cal Bowers, president of the foundation. “What you’re doing speaks to the vibrancy of our community. You’re at the core of it,” said Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards. This year’s grants total $29,000 for 14 different projects. “That’s an impact to this community,” Bowers said. Following is a list of all the projects awarded grants. BG Area Community Bands – $2,250 for a community band festival. “This is our 10th year as a community band. We feel we have become a staple in the community,” said Ardy Gonyer. “We’re very grateful for the support of Bowling Green.” Thom Headley explained the grant will help the band put on a concert with a guest conductor on May 6. BG City Schools – $1,000 for One Book BG literacy program. Two third grade teachers, Jeni Niekamp and Jonelle Semancik explained the grant will help the schools purchase books for every pre-kindergarten through fifth grade student. The reading program unites families and the community around one common book. “It’s created to promote a love of learning,” Semancik said. BG Parks and Recreation Department – $5,000 for the natural obstacle course. Ivan Kovacevic, of the parks and rec department, said the outdoor obstacle course behind the community center has already been the site of the Zombie Mud Run last fall. BG Parks and Recreation Department – $5,000 for waterpark splashpad creature. The splashpad additions help complete the area for the youngest pool users. “They are both really true community projects,” Kovacevic said of the pool and obstacle course. BG Youth Hockey Association – $1,100 for rink system upgrade. The hockey program involves 315 kids, ages 5 to 15, said Jennifer Bowers. “It’s a really big asset for the community,” she said. “It’s a team of people volunteering a lot of hours. The problem is we don’t have enough equipment.” The grant will help replace orange cones and upside-down buckets with real hockey goals. Bobcat Advocates – $1,310 for downtown banners. The…


Debate over afterlife puts church through hell in “The Christians”

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Clearly Presbyterians don’t believe in bad karma. Otherwise the pastors and board of the First Presbyterian Church in Bowling Green would have thought thrice about hosting a production of “The Christians,” a drama about a church being ripped apart. The church lived up to its declaration on its sign outside as a welcoming congregation, and welcomed Broken Spectacle Productions into its sanctuary. Luke Hnath’s 2015 play “The Christians” is being presented Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m. in the church’s sanctuary. Tickets at the door are $20 and $15 for students. Tickets in advance are $15. Visit brokenspectacle.com. That’s a fortuitous setting for the play. After a small choir (William Cagle, Beth Felerski, and Lorna Patterson) directed by pianist Connor Long has offered a couple hymns, the pastor, Paul (Jim Trumm) steps out and greets the congregation. Given the stage is a sanctuary a moment of confusion ensues – is this a service or a performance? Trumm’s Paul is a warm, reassuring figure, glib but not quite unctuous. He’s certainly proud of what he’s built. As he details in the opening lines of his sermon, he built this church from a handful of worshippers in a storefront into a congregation of thousands with a church that has a bookstore, coffee shop and parking lot big enough to get lost in. This Sunday is one of celebration, he tells the congregation, because the mortgage on the church has finally been paid off. And the Sunday is notable as well because he is announcing a dramatic change in theology – he no longer believes in hell. Paul arrived at this epiphany not on the road to Damascus, but in a bathroom in an Orlando hotel. At a conference he heard a missionary lament that a boy, who burned to death in the process of saving his younger sister, would not go to heaven because he was not a Christian, not saved. Paul says that is incompatible with a loving God. “We are no longer that kind of church.” Trumm’s Paul announces this with joy and certainty. The audience – or is it a congregation? – would do well not to be so mesmerized by Paul’s preaching that they neglect to watch the others on the dais. The actors – Eric Batts as the associate pastor Joshua, Jim Dachik as the elder Jay, and Libby Dachik as Paul’s…


BGSU Arts Events, through Jan. 25

Jan. 11—The Faculty Artist Series begins the semester with a performance by cellist Brian Snow. Snow has earned a reputation as a gifted and versatile performer in chamber music, orchestral and solo settings after spending the past decade performing and teaching in the New York City area. His recital will begin at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Jan. 12—The reading series hosted by the Creative Writing Program and the Mid-American Review begins with BGSU graduate students Nick Heeb and Roseanna Boswell. They will present their work at 7:30 p.m. in Prout Chapel. Free Jan. 18—The Faculty Artist Series features Conor Nelson on flute. Nelson has appeared as a soloist with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and the Flint Symphony, among others. The recital will begin at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Jan. 19—The 59th annual Honor Band and Directors Clinic will feature the BGSU Wind Symphony in performance at 8 p.m. in Kobacker Hall. Free Jan. 19—Poet Bruce Weigl will read from his work as part of the Creative Writing Program’s Visiting Writer Series. Weigl is the author of “The Circle of Hanh”and more than a dozen other books of poetry, including “The Abundance of Nothing”(2012) and “Song of Napalm”(1988), both of which were nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. The reading will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Prout Chapel. Free Jan. 20—The Brown Bag Music Series will feature a musical theatre extravaganza by students and faculty from the College of Musical Arts. The program will begin at 11:45 a.m. in the Simpson Building, 1291 Conneaut Ave., Bowling Green. Free. Jan. 21—The 59th annual Honor Band and Directors Clinic will feature all Ohio Honor Bands. The concert will begin at 3:30 p.m. in Kobacker Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Jan. 25—The Faculty Artist Series presents pianist Robert Satterlee. He has appeared on the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts in Chicago, San Francisco’s Old First Concert Series and the Schubert club in St. Paul, Minn., among others. The recital will begin at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall of the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free


Broken Spectacle troupe brings “The Christians” to First Presbyterian

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Broken Spectacle Productions has staged plays in a bar, a lounge that served as a hookah lounge, and an empty storefront with one electrical outlet. The troupe makes it work. The company is peripatetic by design. Making it work is part Broken Spectacle’s mission statement. As Jonathan Chambers, who launched the theater company in 2014 with his wife Sara Lipinski Chambers, explains “It’s always about the plays and the spaces.” “We identify projects we want to do, then find spaces that are suitable,” he said. Chambers said Sara Chambers is always ordering and reading new plays. Last summer they came across “The Christians” by Lucas Hnath. He read it and knew immediately it was a play they should produce. “It ticks a lot of our boxes for us. It’s a new play that’s dealing with issues we’re interested in.” “The Christians,” which is structured around a sermon, “treats the issue of faith and people of faith with integrity, so it’s not making fun of belief,” he said. “In some respects the play is an argument that’s very old. If God is all loving, how can he send people to hell?” Chambers said they also realized “this is not a bar show.” Broken Spectacle will stage “The Christians” at First Presbyterian Church in Bowling Green, Thursday, Jan. 12 and Friday Jan 13 at 7 p.m. Tickets at the door are $20 and $15 for students. Tickets in advance are $15. Visit brokenspectacle.com. Knowing they wanted to stage the play set in a church in a church, they approached First Presbyterian. Chambers said they knew the church was a welcoming congregation, and its involvement in community projects such as Not In Our Town made it an attractive collaborator. Also First Presbyterian is the home congregation of cast members Jim and Libby Dachik, so they brokered the conversation with the pastors, Gary and Mary Jane Saunders. The response was enthusiastic, but the proposal had to be approved by others in the church as well. The main issue was the use of the sanctuary itself. The strength of the script and its approach to faith helped win approval. Church board members were uncomfortable with the sale of tickets at first, though they went along after the producers explained that there are inherent costs in staging a play. They did not want tickets sold in the sanctuary itself, so…


Toledo Museum offers Great Art Escape over holidays

From TOLEDO MUSEUM OF ART The Great Art Escape, a week of free performances, art activities and after-hours flashlight tours, returns to the Toledo Museum of Art Dec. 27-Jan. 1. Sponsored in part by Taylor Cadillac, the week of special events has become a holiday tradition for bringing together family, friends and holiday guests. Explore the galleries with the debut of the Toledo Museum of Art’s new app. During the Great Art Escape visitors are invited to play a treasure hunt throughout the galleries. Three temporary exhibitions organized by the Museum’s curators are sure to delight visitors of all ages. Gabriel Dawe: Plexus no. 35, on view in the Great Gallery, is an ethereal indoor rainbow created especially for the space it occupies. Mexican-born artist Gabriel Dawe’s textile installations have been seen in galleries around the world, most recently as part of an exhibition at the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C. The installation in the Great Gallery is sponsored in part by the TMA Ambassadors, a group of volunteer fundraisers. The Libbey Dolls: Fashioning the Story in Gallery 18 features 78 fashion figures depicting French styles from 1493 to 1915. The Libbey Dolls, formerly known as the Doucet Dolls, were the product of the World War I aid effort. Purchased in 1917 by Toledo Museum of Art founder Edward Drummond Libbey, the dolls’ clothing was created by Jacques Doucet. Art by great French artists like Nicolas Lancret and Louis-Léopold Boilly, as well as drawings and engravings from late 19th-century fashion publications, inspired his creations. Shakespeare’s Characters: Playing the Part in Gallery 6 marks the 400-year anniversary of the great playwright’s death. The exhibition explores The Bard’s band of characters, from the comedic to the tragic. Approximately 30 paintings, prints, sculptures and photographs bring the beloved writer’s works to life. Here’s a list of other free activities planned during the Great Art Escape: Make a Puppet, Tell a Story! Dec. 27 and 29: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Family Center Dec. 30: 3:30-8 p.m., Family Center Make a puppet in the Family Center and perform your own improvisational theater with it in the Cloister Gallery. Ask Me Hours Dec. 27-30: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Main Museum Dec. 31-Jan. 1: Noon to 4 p.m., Main Museum Look for docents wearing a red “Ask Me” button as they travel the galleries answering questions and engaging visitors in discussion about the art…


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 will perform. According to the university, the former circus aerialist “will present a personal narrative of the truth behind the romantic image of flight based on her 25-year career as a professional aerial acrobat, from trapeze artist to high diver and now as a competitive, world record holding skydiver. She also will perform a piece to convey her journey through movement using aerial rings that she used to fly on 20 years ago.” Violet and Fortuna’s “Laces” tells the 100-year-old story of house in Toledo. Given Garber-Pearson’s work can’t fit it into one box, Arts X is ideal venue. “For me, it’s an opportunity to show my work to a diverse audience interested in the arts. I like it that it’s the whole campus… all the arts coming together for one event.” Garber-Pearson’s involvement in circus goes back to her graduate…


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 will begin at 4 p.m. in the Thomas B. and Kathleen M. Donnell Theatre located in the Wolfe Center for the Arts. Free Dec. 3—The 12th annual ArtsX will take place from 5-9 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center and the Wolfe Center for the Arts, including the Dorothy Uber Bryan and Willard Wankelman galleries, where student and faculty artists and performers show off their talents to the community. The evening includes works from the College of Musical Arts, the School of Art, the Department of Theatre and Film, the Creative Writing Program, the Dance Program, and numerous other organizations, along with holiday shopping. Free Dec. 3—The Annual Faculty and Staff Exhibition opening reception will be held from 5-9 p.m. in the Dorothy Uber Bryan and Willard Wankelman galleries located in the Fine Arts Center as part of ArtsX events….


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 created by the scriptwriters Bob Martin and Don McKellar to send up the various clichés of the style. The plot is slight. The handsome businessman Robert Martin (Justin Roth) is about to marry Janet Van de Graaff (Madi Zavitz), a darling of the stage. Their love is a whirlwind affair as love usual in a musical. Janet fell in love during a moonlit conversation about the Martin family’s oil business. She’s determined to give up her career. In “Show Off,” she demonstrates with great detail and energy all the things she no longer wants to do. She emjoys it all immensely. The plot is driven along by the best man’s insistence that the two lovebirds not see each other before the ceremony. Played by Braeden Tuttle, the best man is very conscientious and overwhelmed by his duties. So, in one…


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 in a song that reveals more personality. We feel we’re getting to know them. But it really is how they work together as a group that gives the production its lift. Other cast members are: Andrew Austin, Daniel Carder, Mara Connor, D. Ward Ensign, Courtney Gilliland, Cassie Greenlee, Garrett Leininger, Emily Popp, Tyler Strayer and Sherel White. There’s a palpable joy in their interplay as they act out parables. They even pull in audience members to help them. Throughout they inject contemporary references including a few jabs at the president-elect.  As cast members step into the spotlight for features, their fellow actors seem to enjoy them as much as the audience will. There’s much to enjoy. The music moves from the heartfelt ballad “Day by Day” sung by Connor to the gospel fervor of “Bless the Lord” performed by Carder….


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 even talks about scripting, how Aesop’s large output of fables will need to be trimmed down to a manageable number. They seemingly cast on the spot. As the moral of the first fable explains, they are stronger working as a team. That’s the message conveyed by a farmer (Lauren Carmen) to his brood of children, who learn a bunch of sticks is harder to break than an individual stick. True to the democratic nature of this troupe, the roles are evenly parsed out, with everyone getting a chance in the spotlight. There are roles, big and small, human and animal, inanimate and animate. Even the youngest, second grader Alice Walters and third grader Liam Rogel, get turns to narrate tales in addition to playing mice, pebbles and other roles. Yelia Xu holds her head high in her solo spot as…


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 Ariel Kasler. Kasler has performed at venues and events as diverse as the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto, the Detroit Jazz Festival, the Grand Theater in London, Ontario, the Clore Center for Music and Dance in Israel, New Music from Bowling Green, the NASA regional conference in Urbana-Champaign, the Victorian College of Arts in Australia and Rutman’s Violins in Boston. The recital will begin at 8 p.m. in Bryan Recital Hall at the Moore Musical Arts Center. Free Nov. 10—The Visiting Writer Series features award-winning author Claire Vaye Watkins. She is the author of “Gold Fame Citrus” and “Battleborn,” which won the Story Prize, the Dylan Thomas Prize, New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award, the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Silver Pen Award from the Nevada Writers Hall of…


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 rest are mentioned in passing. “The fables are about universal themes we all recognize,” he said. The behavior of the characters whether animal, human or even plant, are recognizable. “And most of the lessons are still pertinent today.” This amounts to a double dose of Aesop for the Horizon troupe. The older members staged “The Great Cross Country Race,” based on “The Tortoise and The Hare” in October. That was directed by Greenlee, and featured the human characters talking in “gibberish,” which was penned by Guion. Now the younger troupe members, those in grades second through sixth, will try their talents on these ancient tales. He selected the tale, including less known ones such as “The Oak and the Reed,” using the story theater form. “We are essentially a company of players who get together to tell these stories,” he…


‘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 and persecuting type,” the baby prince is whisked away by the Grand Inquisitor (Brett Pond) to Venice where he was placed with the family of a gondolier who had a son the same age. The father drank so much he forgot which boy was which, so now no one knows, except that stock figure in Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, the nurse. The entire play takes place waiting for the nurse’s arrival in the scene to settle the matter. The prince’s father has died in a revolt, so now the prince, whichever gondolier he is, is the king of Barataria. Those gondeliers Marco (Mark Tenorio) and Guiseppe (Luke Serrano) are the heartthrobs of a gaggle of farm girls, who refuse to select beaus until the handsome gondoliers decide whom to wed. The lucky girls are Gianetta (Hannah Stroth) and Tessa (Amanda…


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 as you’d expect of creatures more at home in water. The costumes and the way the characters move in character with them do much to create the world, which is otherwise represented by a few large, but simple set pieces. This enables the action to flow smoothly from scene to scene. The biggest technical accomplishment is representing Aslan. Martin Simon appears within a large wooden puppet that moves majestically about the stage. Amid all the spectacle, the human element remains at the forefront. Edmund’s story as one tempted and lured by the White Witch gives this an emotional dimension beyond a simple battle of good against evil. The actors playing the children form a believable band, each a distinct personality that complements the group as a unit as they move through this strange landscape. These characters must experience their own…