January 28, 2013

Theater to Look Forward to

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Crooked, The Kitchen Theatre: The brevity of Crooked belies its emotional intensity. Playwright Catherine Trieschmann’s southern-fried coming-of-age yarn punches above its weight with a rich, involving narrative and compelling characterizations. The play follows 14-year-old aspiring writer Laney as she navigates the travails of growing up while trying to fit into her new surroundings after moving back to Mississippi with her recently-divorced mother. Structured around the relationships between Laney and her mother, as well as with her only friend at school, the socially awkward and deeply religious Maribel, this play depicts relationships as tools capable of abetting our processes of self-discovery. Opens at the Kitchen Theatre on Feb. 27. – Colin Chan

The Motherf**ker with the Hat, The Kitchen Theatre: Filled with drug addicts, AA counselors, depression and love, this dark comedy follows the relationship between ex-con/drug addict Jackie and his girlfriend Veronica. When Jackie returns home one day to find a hat that is not his own, he seeks advice on what to do about the motherf**ker with the hat who was with his girlfriend. One of playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis more accomplished works.The Motherf**ker with the Hat opens Apr. 10. — Meredith Joyce

What I Thought I Knew, The Kitchen Theatre: Adapted from a bestselling memoir by Alice Eve Cohen, and written by her, What I Thought I Knew is a darkly funny odyssey through one woman’s mental and physical struggles due to an unexpected pregnancy. Examining issues of women’s reproductive rights, the brokenness of the nation’s healthcare system, and the trials of motherhood, this is social commentary at its most incisive and revealing. Alice, who will be performing her own play at the Kitchen Theater, bares her soul in a way that critics call “ruthlessly honest” and “utterly inspiring”. Opens at the Kitchen Theater on Jun. 12. — Meredith Joyce

A People, Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts: Cornell alumni Lauren Feldman ‘01 is the writer behind A People, a new play about Jewish culture, tradition and humanity coming to the Flex Theatre on Feb. 15. This 10 person ensemble performance explores a Jewish woman’s simultaneous acceptance and denial of it of her lineage. Although the play focuses specifically on conflicts faced by Jews. A People is about celebrating and embracing all cultures and humanity itself. — Meredith Joyce

Mother of Exiles, Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts: In this play, an undercover Latina teaches her students how to be free before ironically falling captive to her own politics of fear. With a namesake quoted directly from Emma Lazarus’s “The New Colossus,” a poem engraved inside the Statue of Liberty,  this play explores the always relevant topics of education and immigration. In April, show support for both in this joint sponsorship effort from the Cornell Department of Performing and Media Arts and Cornell’s Latino Studies Program. — Alice Wang

Melancholy Play, Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts: Melancholy Play: A Contemporary Farce is, just what its name implies. The emotional misadventures of the melodramatic bank teller Tilly provide the comedic energy of this play by Sarah Ruhl, as she interacts with and forever alters the lives of a tailor, a hairdresser, a nurse, and a therapist. It’s a strange amalgamation, with characters turning into almonds, bursting into song without provocation, delivering passionate monologues about their own melancholy, but above all—falling in love.

Spencer Whale ’14 directs. The play runs Apr. 20, 7:30 p.m. in the Black Box Theatre at the Schwartz Center. — Kaitlyn Tiffany

South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut,  Risley Theatre: South Park probably needs no introduction, but some people might be unfamiliar with South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut, an animated musical comedy film based on the titular series, and written by the show’s creators, Trey Parker and Matthew Stone. Cartman and co. sneak into a cinema to see an R-rated Canadian film, but when their language becomes increasingly uncouth as a result, their parents and teachers decide to take action. Risley Theatre has taken this classic and adapted it into a staged reading, directed, acted, produced and managed by Cornell’s very own students. Plays at Risley Theatre on Feb. 2 at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. Tickets free but a $5 donation is recommended.  — Colin Chan

A Raisin in the Sun, Risley Theatre: In 1959, A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry became the first play written by an African-American woman to debut on Broadway. Taking its name from the poem “A Dream Deferred,” by Langston Hughes, the story is about a black family’s experiences in a neighborhood in Chicago and the residential segregation issues surrounding the Fair Housing Act. Considered the best play of 1959, one of the greatest chronicles of the black experience of the American dream and one of the first plays to draw a multiracial audience, A Raisin in the Sun is a game-changer in the history of American drama. The play will run Mar. 8 and 9 at the Risley Theatre. — Colin Chan

Bat Boy, Risley Theatre: Bat Boy: The Musical, with story by Keythe Farley and Brian Flemming and music by Laurence O’Keefe is based on a 1992 World Wide News story about a half-bat, half-boy “Bat Boy” who lived in a cave. “Bat Boy” himself is a lovable protagonist on a quest for acceptance, but the play is best known for its slapstick comedy, its elements of campy horror and its stabs at the hypocrisy, racism and scapegoating practices of society. With a constantly entertaining musical overlay of opera, rock, rap and traditional horror-film soundtrack, Bat Boy turns dubious tabloid farce into witty, intelligent entertainment. The show runs Mar. 29 and 30 at Risley Theatre and is still holding auditions, information about which can be found at risleytheatre.org — Kaitlyn Tiffany

Spring Awakening, Ithaca College: This March, Ithaca College presents the 2008 Tony Award winning Spring Awakening. A rock musical based on a banned 1891 German play of the same name, Spring Awakening is a classic tale of teenagers rebelling against repressive adults. Set in the original late 19th century Germany, the musical follows teenagers exploring the spring of their sexuality, heartbreak, and the darkness they know oh-so-well. The incredibly popular Tony award winning Broadway production where Glee star Lea Michele got her start may have closed in 2009, but its influence on a generation has far from disappeared. Discretion is advised. The play will run Mar. 26, 28 to 31 and Apr. 2 to 6 at Main Stage Theater. — Meredith Joyce

Original Author: Sun Staff