The Play's the Thing - As always, I note my predisposition against Shakespeare as my mini-brain is both impressed and impeded by the arcane language. That said, Curtainless Theatre is a GOOD thing, packaging the words of the Bard in smaller doses, and applying them to modern day Important Issues — well staged by some obviously dedicated Shakespeare-ophiles (Rose Jangmi Cooper, Jennifer Dachtler, Kris Vitols, Alaina Humphrey, Leo Poroshin, Steve Ledyard, Charles Hoogstraten, Cale Hills, Sarah Smith, Sam Oberg, Kameron Going, and Iris Raine Paul, who is also the leader and author/editor of this project.
“The play's the thing wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king” is Hamlet’s ploy to use theatre to call out a murderer. In this case, a mashup of Shakespeare scenes set at Othello and Desdemona’s wedding point out sexism, violence against women, LGBT/race/gender issues — also intended to “catch the conscience” of today’s theatre-goers.
Post show panelists Melina Brann of Women’s Center of Greater Lansing (http://www.womenscenterofgreaterlansing.org), Leah Dryer of EVE (http://www.eveinc.org), Phiwa Langeni of Salus Center LBGTQ Resource (www.saluscenter.org), and Karrington Kelsey of Black Lives Matter(https://blacklivesmatter.com/chapter/blm-lansing/ led a spirited post show discussion mostly revolving around the challenging balance of diversity and inclusion in local theatre.
Thanks to Sue Chmurynsky for facilitating this “guest appearance “ at Riverwalk’s Black Box. Curtainless is a nomadic group; keep track if their future locations at http://www.facebook.com/curtainlesstheatrelansing
Then Mark and I dashed back to the Urban Beat in Old Town for a re-view of the excellent Room Number - followed by the Renegade Ruckus, results of jeff croff's 24-hour playwriting/performing experiment where authors Janet Colson, Scott Mullen, Elizabeth Calloway, Dwayne Yancey and Rico Bruce Wade had 12 hours to write 10 minute scripts (some were considerably longer) based on these prompts: Must be a Western, some “make me” line I didn’t copy down completely, the line “It is if the cheese is talking,” the use of the word Urban (in honor of host venue Urban Beat) and the names of Renegade Pillars, Paige, Melissa and Chad.
The scripts were fun - but marred by some dispute over whether scripts would be allowed onstage and a lot of resultant “line!” calling. (Perhaps 12 hours is NOT enough time for memorization, especially if those scripts exceed the 10 minute length?) Still, this was a theatrical adventure worthy of the free, creative spirit of Renegade Theatre. Kudos to the brave actors: Liz Croff, Rachael Steffens, jeff croff, Lainie Plunkett, Paige Plunkett, Christopher Verhil, Edward Heldt, Judith Evans, Connor Kelly, Quinn Kelly, Steve Lee, Ny’keiria Blocker, Autumn S, Sallee Kallenbach, and Nick Lemmer.