On Stage

Imagine that: New, not-so-new and vintage classics

By Jacqui Theobald

Photo: Passengers on adjacent ships during rehearsal for the Sinclair Community College original production of “jux*ta*posed,” which runs Nov. 13–16

What do you do when you have a new space available, a zillion ideas and an eager staff and students? Certainly, it is the perfect opportunity for thinking outside the box or into a Black Box. Sinclair Community College Theatre Department has turned a former dance studio into a Black Box Theatre and will initiate it with an unconventional experiment.

Take a faculty member, Nelson Sheeley, with playwriting and directorial skills. Ask him to write a one-act play. Select an experienced student, John Ray, who shows great promise with many of the same skills and ask him to write a one-act play. Put the two into one piece, title the fully produced presentation “jux*ta*posed.” The two acts have similar, complimentary themes; the possibility of imminent death from female and male viewpoints. Each playwright claims his play is a comedy.

Then challenge each playwright to switch places and direct the other’s play.

Ray’s “Gilligan, The Titanic and Other Small Tragedies” was inspired by several recent cruise ships that encountered serious, possibly life threatening situations. What would passengers feel? How might they communicate with each other? Adjacent ship’s balconies provide opportunity; two articulate women manage to share it all. The title suggests the range of references.

Sheeley’s one act considers “The Art of Dying” as two brothers relive emotional relationships of childhood during the challenge of cancer. When the supporter/patient situation is reversed more issues or conflicts emerge; religion, money, fear of success.

Despite his past successes, Sheeley sounded humble as he mused, “It’s thrilling to see your own piece performed. Ray said, “It is intimidating to direct a professor’s creation, when he is right there.” Although they vow to keep hands off each other’s work, they know it won’t be easy.

“jux*ta*posed” runs November 13–16. Call 937.512.2455 or go to sinclair.edu/tickets for times, cost and special information. Blair Hall, Building 2, Fourth Floor.

What’s a beyond the fringe debut? “Dog sees God”

Now imagine what our favorite “Peanuts” people might be like in their teen years. The names have been changed to protect the innocent and we find “God Sees Dog, Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead” by Bert V. Royal at the Beavercreek Community Playhouse. It is an “unauthorized parody” first produced in the Off-Off Broadway Fringe Festival of 2004 and it emerged with much praise, winning the Fringe Excellence Award for Overall Production.

CB may previously have been Charlie Brown, and he’s having all kind of teenage angst with his childhood buddies who are equally distressed in their characteristic ways, only more so. Now we have to contend with sexuality and gender identity, more sophisticated bullying and questions about death. His dog – Snoopy? Oh no! – has to be put down because of rabies. Matthew D. Curry directs. Chris Harmon creates a “comic book” set.

The play is part of Beavercreek’s Edge of the Creek Series – the more adult offerings. Their season includes a Children’s Series and the more conventional Main Stage offerings. Given the edgy material and language, this play is definitely for adults and thoughtful teens, not children.

The show opens Friday, Oct. 25 and runs for two weekends, through Sunday, Nov. 3. Call 937.429.4737 or go to boxoffice@bctheatre.org for ticket information.  

Imagine you need comic relief with music

“9 to 5: The Musical” works at Playhouse South

Dayton’s own version of the roles made famous by Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda and Dolly Parton will be joined by five others and an ensemble of nine to sing and dance their way through the apocryphal beat the boss 1980s spoof. The good guys – meaning the gals – will conquer all.

Directed by Brian Kester, the show at the Clark Haines Theatre, 3700 Far Hills, runs Friday, Nov. 1 through Saturday, Nov. 16. Call 888.262.3792 or go to playhousesouth.org for times and ticket info.

Take your choice of classic murder mysteries

“Deathtrap” at the Dayton Playhouse

“Deathtrap” has enough twists and turns of plot to satisfy the most avid mystery fan. Playwright Ira Levin must have had as much fun in 1978 as the Playhouse cast is having now contriving the bizarre plot. A mystery writer finds his creativity at a standstill and seizes the opportunity to snatch a student’s script – and then plots to kill him. Or does he? The playwright’s wife agrees to the idea to help. But help in what way? There’s a psychic neighbor who can foretell all. Really? Jennifer Lockwood, director, has an able cast to keep the comedy on a straight path.

“Deathtrap” ran for four years on Broadway. It will run for two weekends at the Playhouse, 1301 E. Seibenthaler Ave. Friday, Oct. 25 through Sunday, Nov. 3. Please call 937.424.8477 or visit daytonplayhouse.com.

“Mousetrap” at X*ACT in Xenia

This Agatha Christie mystery has been running in London’s West End since 1952, uninterrupted, with the ending promised to be kept secret by all those audiences. Will Xenia director Tony Copper ask the same? There are plenty of unanswered questions in this beloved play running Friday, Oct. 25 through Sunday, Nov. 3. A modest fundraiser with wine and hors d’oeuvres precedes opening night.

Please call 937.372.0516 or go to XeniaACT.org for tickets or information.

And for children, finally

Check Washington Township’s “Cat in the Hat” and “Monsters Under the Bed,” running in late October through Sunday, Nov. 3.

Please call 937.433.8957 or townhalltheatre.org.

 Reach DCP theatre critic Jacqui Theobald at JacquiTheobald@DaytonCityPaper.com 


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Reach DCP theatre critic Jacqui Theobald at JacquiTheobald@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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