December theatre offerings

By Jill Summerville

 

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (based on his novel), Sinclair Community College

Taking its title from the temperature at which books supposedly burn, Ray Bradbury’s play, based on his 1953 novel, shows what our society will become if people accept easy answers instead of pondering difficult questions. In this world, reading has been outlawed. Guy Montag raids transgressors’ homes and burns their books. When Guy meets Clarisse McClellan, a seventeen-year-old girl who loves books and the complex ideas they inspire, he begins to question his job, his staid marriage, and his previous happiness, which depended upon his ignorance. After Clarice suddenly disappears and Guy watches an elderly transgressor burn with her books rather than surrender them, Guy becomes a clandestine reader himself. Opening a book opens up a new world for Guy, one far more complex and dangerous than he could ever have imagined. This production runs from Feb. 9 through Feb. 17, 2018.

Sex With Strangers by Laura Eason, The Loft

House of Cards teleplay writer, Laura Eason, brings her sharp interest in what motivates people in their most tense moments from a crowded White House to a nearly-empty resort. Reserved Olivia was so upset by caustic online reviews of her first novel that she’s afraid to publish another. She hopes to find peace writing for her own pleasure until her resort stay is interrupted by sexy Ethan, a blogger ten years her junior, whose online publication about his own sexual exploits has made him a celebrity, if not a celebrated author. Ethan, whose blog shares its title with the play, wants to be a serious writer, and Olivia wants to be a successful one. Olivia and Ethan quickly decide they want each other, but the question of what they want from each other will reach far beyond the confines of their cozy resort. Eason adroitly reveals the cost of self-exposure, in love and in social media. This production runs from Feb. 1 through Feb. 18, 2018.

The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe by Joseph Robinette (based on the novel by C.S. Lewis), Cedarville University

C.S. Lewis’ Christian allegory, published in 1949, is a favorite fantasy for adults and children. When the Pevensie children, Susan, Peter, Edmund, and Lucy, are evacuated from London to the countryside during WWII, and the youngest, Lucy, finds that their new home holds a secret. The back panel of the wardrobe leads into a mythical land called Narnia. Narnia has long been ruled by a cruel witch whose spell consigns the land to a perpetual, bitter winter. Aslan, the lion who is the rightful ruler, has long been banished. Will the Pevensie children ensure Aslan’s return, or will they commit a terrible betrayal instead of a courageous sacrifice? This production runs from Feb. 1 through Feb. 11, 2018.

Stella And Lou by Bruce Graham, The Dayton Theatre Guild

Bartender Lou’s predictable days brighten whenever his friend, Stella, pays an unexpected visit. This time, however, Stella has a flattering sundress, a pair of high heels, and an ultimatum: Stella won a trip to Atlantic City, and Lou has to decide whether he wants to leave behind his bar’s counter (and his grief about his wife, who died two years ago) to go on a date with her. If he doesn’t, she tells him, she’s moving to Florida to be closer to her grandchildren. Bruce Graham’s 2013 play is about a moment when two people finally confront what has kept them from making a second start in the first place. Director Gary Thompson says, “Stella and Lou plays out a bittersweet dance of awakening dreams and dark regrets, as the title characters deal with issues of loneliness, love and friendship, and hidden despair, all in counterpoint to their younger friend, Donnie’s, first unnerving engagement to be married […It’s a] perfect show for chasing away the chills of winter, Stella and Lou both bares and bears three aching hearts through the midnight hour and on toward a new dawn.”  This production runs from Jan. 19 through Feb. 4, 2018.

The Tutors by Erica Lipez, The Playground

In Erica Lipez’s 2013 play, Heidi, Toby, and Joe are twenty-somethings who are struggling to make their rent instead of making their dreams come true. Toby and Joe still hope to find success with their Internet-start-up website for singles, joinme2you.com; unfortunately, it’s 2007, and a young dynamo named Zuckerberg has a similar hope. While they wait, the two men work as tutors for privileged high school students. Toby is an industrious tutor, while Joe mostly sees the students as future clients for the website. One student, the lonely, snobby Milo, ruthlessly inserts himself into Toby and Joe’s shared life. Meanwhile, Heidi is sharing an entirely separate life with a fantasy version of a college student whose thoughtful graduate school essay she proofread for work. The roommates aren’t living the lives they want, and they’re increasingly apathetic about the lives they’re living. When Milo uses their misgivings against them, they have to decide whether their bond is keeping them together or holding them back. This production runs from Jan. 4 through Jan. 7, 2018.

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Jill Summerville

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