Classic Thriller On Stage In South Bend PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marcia Fulmer   
Wednesday, 31 October 2012 23:19

The list of plays written by Frederick Knott is short and sweet. Well, maybe not sweet — all are murder mysteries — but definitely short. The grand total is three. Two have become classics, both on stage and in their cinematic variations.

Wait Until Dark  South Bend Civic Theatre  INOne — “Wait Until Dark” — opened Friday evening in South Bend Civic Theatre’s Wilson Mainstage Aditorium under the direction of Richard Baxer. It strikes a note of fear common to a great many people: fear of the dark. In this case, that fear is exacerbated by the fact that heroine Susy Hendrix (Eva Cavadini) is recently blind, making her easy prey for the trio of criminals who invade her Greenwich Village apartment in search of a doll stuffed with heroin.

She is unaware of the doll’s contents, as is her husband Sam (Jared Roy Windhauser), a freelance photographer, who brought it from Canada as a favor to a woman who asked that he take it to her hospitalized child.

The drama begins with two ex-cons Mike Talman (Tucker Curtis) and Sgt. Carlino (Chad Hoefle) literally bumping into each other in the empty Hendrix’ apartment, both summoned by a letter from Harry Roat, Jr. (Matthew Bell), a stranger to both men who definitely knows a lot about each of them. Roat reveals a plan to retrieve the doll which requires the participation of both men.

The revelation of his detailed plan takes up most of the first scene (each act has three) and hinges on Susy’s blindness which enables the thieves to portray themselves as other than what/who they are. Sam, lured out of town on a bogus assignment, leaves his handicapped wife to take care of herself.

Hyde Quartet Haunts Familiar Jekyll PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marcia Fulmer   
Monday, 29 October 2012 16:01

With Halloween right around the corner, its seems natural that the play of choice for Elkhart Civic Theatre should be a newer take on Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1886 novella “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” which opened Friday evening in the Bristol Opera House.

Penned by Jeffrey Hatcher, the play’s title is “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” There is no need to define it as a “strange case.” That, within the first few minutes, is obvious.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde  Elkhart Civic Theatre INThe illness of Dr. Henry Jekyll is, in this context, self-inflicted. Today we would describe him as suffering from a split personality or DID (dissociative identity disorder), a diagnosis increasingly common in this century (and a popular character twist in current daytime dramas).

In the turn of the century England, however, it was seen as dabbling in the dark arts. That much of the original narrative is still in tact.

What has been changed in the Hatcher formulation is definitely off the path of the 132 film versions, not to mention those on stage or TV. There still is only one Henry Jekyll (Brent Graber) but there are four incarnations of Edward Hyde (Colin Rusel, Carl Wiesinger, Tony Venable and Melissa “Missy” Domiano), each of whom also plays one or more additional roles.

The action begins a year after Jekyll has found his personality-splitting formula and is beginning to realize that it may be getting out of hand. Unlike the traditional narratives, he is not in love with a “good girl,” but instead is consumed with exploring the dichotomy of human nature. When asked if he believes in the soul, he is elusive, answering “Man gives names to things we cannot understand.”

Laughter Lightens 'The Violet Hour' PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marcia Fulmer   
Tuesday, 02 October 2012 18:56

Several age-old questions are posed during the running time of “The Violet Hour,” recent play by Tony Award-winning playwright Richard Greenberg, heading into its final performances in the Warner Studio Theatre at South Bend Civic Theatre.

The Violet Hour  South Bend Civic Theatre  INIf not all those questions are immediately apparent or easily answered, the interaction between the plays five characters offers a great deal to think about and a great deal of laughter whether conclusions are drawn or left dangling.

The immediate plus of this production is the cast — Steven Matthew Cole, Brad Mazick, Joshua Napierkowski, Laurisa LeSure and Kaylee Ross — and the director, Aaron Nichols, who definitely is one of the best in the more-than-immediate area. Definitely looking forward to seeing more of his work!

Doug Hildeman’s set design turns the arena stage into a three-sided thrust, necessitated at least in part by the emissions from a mechanical character, unseen but integral to the action

'Steel Magnolias' Are Still Blooming PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chin   
Thursday, 13 September 2012 18:11

In 1987, Robert Harling wrote a short story which became a play to help him deal with the anger he felt at the death of his beloved younger sister due to complications from diabetes.

The play was "Steel Magnolias," which opened last Friday evening on South Bend Civic Theatre's Wilson Mainstage Auditorium.

Steel Magnolias South Bend Civic Theatre It opened off Broadway in 1987 and two years later became a movie. Since then it returned (briefly) to Broadway in 2005 and next month will air as a Lifetime channel movie. Whether it helped Harling — who turned from playwriting to scriptwriting — or not, it has entertained many audiences since then.

The original script calls for six women. The film and the TV movie added men. While producers of those vehicles must have felt the need of male presences, it works as well if not better by leaving the off-stage men to the imagination of the audiences. After all, it is the women, not the men, to whom Harling's title was referring.

In the quarter century since its first production, "Steel Magnolias" has proven itself a solid choice for community and regional theater companies around the world. With its focus on the redeeming qualities of real friendship, it offers an ageless application to audiences of all ages.

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