Rhonda Clark directs “Is He Dead” under the hovering presence of authors Mark Twain and David Ives. In 2003 Mark Twain scholar Shelley Fisher Fishkin discovered Twain’s marvelous unfinished play – “Is He Dead” written in 1898. Although never produced, the play is an excellent example of Twain as a playwright. The timelessness of Twain in “Is He Dead” is just as hilarious as “Charley’s Aunt” and includes cross-dressing as well. “Is He Dead” originally had three acts and is a story of an artist who fakes his death in order to create value for his paintings. He then masquerades as his own sister in order to sell the art in the estate. The artist, Jean-Francois Millet is real although the play is entirely fictional. (Millet actually achieved recognition and financial security as an artist quite late in life and influenced upcoming artists such as Van Gogh). “Is He Dead” takes place much earlier in his life and the quality of Millet’s work is accurately conveyed by Twain and David Ives follows through.
The story of Helen Keller and her incredible strength in overcoming grave disabilities is known to most everyone as the story of two determined women; Helen Keller and her teacher, Annie Sullivan. Helen Keller was a healthy normal baby girl who lost both hearing and sight as an infant. The tragedy robbed her of a normal life without any means of communication. It was hoped that Miss Sullivan would be able to break through the wall of understanding enough to give the girl a functional life. Sullivan did more than that; she gave Helen Keller a successful meaningful life. “The Miracle Worker” by William Gibson gives us the initial meeting of teacher and pupil, and sets up the importance of their lifelong companionship.
“Much Ado About Nothing” is being presented in Oklahoma City through February 23 in downtown Oklahoma City. This is the first Shakespearean presentation by a professional company in forty years and deserves great praise and more of the great bard. Shakespeare is often considered an obstacle because the language has evolved so much since the reign of Elizabeth. Shakespeare should be performed rather than read, and the performance needs to bring out the relevance to the modern audience using that language. The audience needs to be able to appreciate the beauty of Shakespeare so that they may enjoy the intricacies of plot. Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre (City-Rep) presents, in conjunction with Theatre OCU (Oklahoma City University) “Much Ado About Nothing in the Freede Theatre at the Civic Center Music Hall.
A Holiday favorite has always been “A Christmas Carol” with as many adaptations for stage as stages to present the show. At the Jewel Box ‘Theatre Richard Lemin directs his own adaptation of Dickens’ classic with no additions, subtractions or alterations. The result is a very refreshing production delighting the audience.
CityRep Theatre in Oklahoma City is showing the Tony Award winning “Red” this weekend only, November 22 through November 24, 2013 at the Freede Little Theatre at the Civic Center Music Hall. Playwright John Logan has brought a segment of Mark Rothko’s life as an artist to the stage. Rothko is an acclaimed modern artist whose work seems simple but is as complicated as the man himself. There are certain stereotypical aspects of an artist’s vision; self-absorption and irritability in the studio is very common. An artist should never be judged based on his behavior on his working turf; the artist, as well as his work should be judged according to the art that is created.
Carpenter Square Theatre is celebrating 30 years of producing eclectic and occasionally controversial entertainment. “Lobby Hero” is a comedy/drama by Kenneth Lonergan and is a difficult challenge for Director Doobie Potter who rises to that challenge. The action takes place in the lobby of a Manhattan high-rise apartment building. The lobby is always manned by a security guard, either Jeff, or the security supervisor William with the title of Captain. They frequently have encounters with the police officers whose ‘beat’ includes the apartment building. The officers are Bill and his rookie partner, Dawn. Apparently the two cops are more than partners, at least as far as Dawn is concerned.
Fabrice Conte directs “Medea” at the Oklahoma City Theatre Company in the City Space Theatre at Civic Center Music Hall. Directing such a demanding example of Greek tragedy from the acclaimed playwright Euripides can be very daring. Conte must stage the production with authority but cast the play with actors who are able to present the bicamarel mind that realistically represents the mentality of the age. “Medea” is a horrific play to watch in many ways for the modern audience, but when the characters present ancient duality with sensitivity and familiarity the nature of the deeds can be transcended by the mind that conceives of those deeds.