Theatre
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.”

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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

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'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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Sanders Family Finale for Elkhart Civic PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marcia Fulmer   
Monday, 10 September 2012 23:11

Elkhart Civic Theatre audiences were introduced to the gospel-singing Sanders Family in 2007 when "Smoke on the Mountain" was a surprise hit of the '07-'08 season at the Bristol Opera House.

Smoke on the Mountain  Elkhart Civic Theatre  Bristol INNever one to loose track of a good thing, ECT brought back Vera and Burl Sanders and their mostly-musical progeny several years later for a holiday celebration in "Smoke on the Mountain Christmas." Since everything comes in threes, the theater group opened its 2012-13 season Friday with the final third of the "Smoke" trilogy, "Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming."

Nothing much has changed since the first encounter with the traveling family troupe. The two-hour (including intermission) program still is filled with Christian songs, old and new, and the witness speeches given by each family member still are lots of fun with humorously applicable messages for listeners of all ages.

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