Sunday, May 25, 2003

The arts

Posters showcase local art


When you're at the theater this week, pick up the first ever League of Cincinnati Theatres brochure.

The slogan is "We're making a play for you!" One side offers a sneak peek of the 2003-04 season at 21 theaters, with downtown map and ticket deals. (Make sure you keep the brochure folded to the ticket deals.)

The other side is a rendition of Michael Bath as wacko Baba Yaga in Ensemble Theatre fave holiday musical The Frog Princess. Local artist Holly Schapker was recruited by committed local theater fan Donna Wymore.

Schapker says the playful character of witch doctor Baba Yaga inspired her original oil on plywood. (It will be auctioned at Ensemble's Tony Awards party on June 8; call 421-3555 for details.)

She added "Matisse-like shapes" for the borders and lots of tropical fruit, a nod, perhaps, to Baba's jungle diet. "I had a great time putting it together," she says.

Wymore & Associates (artwork and design) and tireless local theater supporter Jerry Rape and SpringDot (printing) made the project happen.

The limited edition posters ($15) will be on sale at area theaters, Summerfair and Ensemble's Tony Awards Party.

Time Flies

Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park's Ohio University M.F.A. Acting Company will perform David (All in the Timing) Ives' collection of short plays, Time Flies, May 28-June 8 in the Marx Rehearsal Hall.

The title piece is about a pair of mayflies who discover (while watching a nature documentary) that they only have one day to live and decide to make the most of it.

$10 adults, $6 students. 421-3888.

Gallery gears up for summer

Times are good for The Performance Gallery in the East End.

"It's been baby steps; we're all volunteers," notes founding member Brian Robertson, "but the production schedule is ramped up and we have several projects that will take us through May of next year."

Robertson is celebrating the Gallery's first anniversary by directing Jean Genet's The Maids featuring Sunshine Cappelletti, Regina Pugh and Carrie Ellen Zappa.

Women's Theatre Initiative takes over in July with In Flame, then will come local thrash poet Nathan Singer's Chasing the Wolf.

It's about reverse racism with a time travel spin, Robertson explains, with a contemporary guy warping back to 1938 Mississippi. The Delta Blues are a leit-motif.

Robertson says he's talked to Blue Forms Theatre from Columbus about the possibility of bringing some avant-garde work in for a weekend.

The Maids plays Thursday-Saturday. 333-8482.

Mariemont's Act II

For everyone curious about the "Act II" theater series announced by Mariemont Players in next season's brochure, here's the story, from board president Dan Dermody.

"Some of us want to do something a little different," he says, but without messing with a good thing.

The solution: wedging in an occasional long weekend of more cutting edge theater than Mariemont is known for.

Ed Cohen will oversee the project, which probably will begin in late winter.

Act II will ideally present at least two titles a season. The plan is for productions to come in stage-ready, with Mariemont providing "a generous percentage of proceeds from the box office."

ACT II will invite proposals, says Dermody, but probably not until this summer. In the meantime, Mariemont wraps the current season with popular one-woman dramedy Shirley Valentine with Christine Dye, playing through June 1. (The only tickets remaining are for Thursday and Sunday evening performances, call 684-1236 to check availability.)

New Gate Theatre produces The Playboy of the Western World at Mariemont June 5-8.


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