Eric Brooks as RDC Carter and Lydia Gaston as Angelina Carter.

Perfectly Sensible: Precious Nonsense at the Kitchen Theatre

The aptly-named musical Precious Nonsense is advertised as a simple diversion from the stress of everyday life, and it delivers. Playwright and artistic director Rachel Lampert’s production is fun and lighthearted, serving as pure entertainment. The show is not new to the Kitchen Theatre; Lampert’s sister, Sara Lampert Hoover, directs as she did in the original production in 2004 and Eric Brooks reprises his role as RDC Carter. Lampert spoke to the audience before the show began on opening night and explained that the production was chosen to run at this time to distract theatre-goers from the stress of world events like the upcoming election, and it certainly does its job. The musical is set in the 1930s and follows the lives of members of a touring theatre company, the Carter Family Savoyards, dedicated to sharing songs from the comedic operas of Gilbert and Sullivan.

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Contemporary Sensibilities and Progression: Blood Wedding at Ithaca College

Article updated. 

Even before the show begins, the set at the Clark Theatre in Dillingham Center of Ithaca College is striking — clean lines, neat delineations of space with blues and whites, and solid colors immediately give a modern tone to Blood Wedding, the famous tragedy of Spanish playwright Federico Garcia Lorca. Set in twentieth century rural Spain, Blood Wedding tells the story of an on-going curse of a family feud and deception as it explores the story and aftermath of a young woman who abandons her own wedding for her former lover. Though such a story could easily slip into the realm of cliché, the clean aesthetic and direction of Ithaca College’s “Blood Wedding” keeps the narrative fresh and enthralling. Director Norm Johnson’s Blood Wedding remains contemporary in great part due to the set and costumes. The creative team (Scenic design: Emily Weisbecker; Costume design: Victoria Pizappi; Lighting and projection design: Steve TenEyck, assisted by Teddy Kosciuszek; Sound design: Don Tindall) does an incredible job with a nod to Lorca’s surrealist links — the look is simple but timeless.

Karl Gregory as Jason/Tyrone

Puppet Masters: Hand to God at the Kitchen Theatre

The Kitchen Theatre’s production of Hand to God would seem to be a very pure, if a little preachy, production if one were to just look at the set. Stuffed animals and toys are placed in bins next to a bookcase full of picture books, the theatre’s walls are covered in posters with messages about Jesus, and a colorful banner hangs above. But as soon as a skinny gray puppet pops up from behind a pulpit-like stage and starts cursing at the audience and ranting about the devil, it becomes clear that this is a very different kind of play. After this introduction, the play opens to a church in Cypress, Texas where Margery (Erica Steinhagen), recently widowed, leads three teenagers in sewing puppets for a church puppet show. The teens, rebellious Timothy (Michael Patrick Trimm), snarky yet compassionate Jessica (Montana Lampert Hoover) and Margery’s bashful son Jason (Karl Gregory) constantly bicker.

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The Secret in the Wings: A Preview

Fairytales are fun as hell. But we rarely access the kind of childhood innocence that allows us to immerse our world completely in someone else’s. Theatre practitioner Mary Zimmerman taps into this potency in collaboration with the famous ensemble-based company, Lookingglass. The product is Secret in the Wings, which strips down six relatively obscure and decidedly strange European fairytales and jam-packs them into a script that forces its actors into highly physicalized ensemble gymnastics. Performing and Media Arts and Government double major Brian Murphy ’16 is the daredevil of a director who found this play, which, at least in terms of normative narrative structure, presents itself as a hot mess of a script.