by RoxyRegionalTheatre on January 11, 2013

Two very brave young women — Renee Ramsey and Sarah Key — came to ask if they might use the theatre as a place for the APSU Creative Writing Club’s Playfest. I was so impressed by their preparedness and their courage, I could only say yes, for it is the kind of event the new center for arts and education will house.

Wow … was I impressed with their young, yet highly professional handling of the whole event! Everyone was on time, prepared and well-rehearsed. I loved having the chance to critique, and I was moved that each and every one thanked me for my suggestions and more than pleased that they incorporated them into their performances.

New works hold a great untold value, coming as unexpected treats, like a Whitman’s sampler without the box-top map. Much kudos to APSU for training such talented young people!

Some plays have titles that are bothersome — but a title is only the messenger, and you don’t want to kill the messenger. I like what George Bernard Shaw said: “The theatre is a response for a sensible expression of our ideals and illusions and approvals and resentments. It cannot merely give pleasure. It defeats its very purpose if it does not take you outside yourself. It may sometimes give one sensations which are far from pleasant. The function of the theatre is to stir people, to make them think.” That includes titles, too.

We have received some flack over The Vagina Monologues. Nevertheless, I’m proud to have it as part of our canon of annually presented works, and I know it’s not for everyone but there are enough “everyone”s to fill the audience up each night and spread the word.

Adriane Wiley-Hatfield began her remarkable career with the Roxy as a young and talented Parks and Rec participant. She showed a natural gift which caused me to create a part, albeit a silent one, for her in The Noble Heart. She brought life and a tongue-in-cheek sarcasm to Dorothy Dix’s controversial character Miranda and, most recently, as Mrs. Muller in Doubt, more than holding her own with Roxy veterans Leslie Greene, Kendall Anne Thompson and Tom Thayer.

Beginning this Friday at 8pm, Adriane joins Leslie again alongside a weekly rotating repertory of Amber Wallace, Allie Michael, Jill Eichhorn and Courtney Berlyak. The Vagina Monologues runs upstairs in theotherspace through February 2, playing Thursdays at 7pm and Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm.

Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology is a remarkable work, but no more remarkable than the children who presented it last month as their “informance,” a kind of recital or rather a show-and-tell of all they have learned during the fall/winter School of the Arts program. They deserve yet another chance — in fact, two — to show their stuff. Everyone can see the magic and the effusion of talent exuded by these thirty young people at noon tomorrow and again next Saturday, January 12, at noon. Tickets are only $5.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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