No, this post isn’t about writing your first draft. (Note to self: Topic for the future…)

Instead, this post is about how I don’t have a post for this week. See, I kind of got last-minute shanghaied into working sound for my local theater group – the fabulous all for One Productions – and so I haven’t really had “free time” this week. Because tech week.

Normally when I do theater I plan my tech week posts out way in advance but that didn’t happen this time around due to the short notice. Rather than fall a week behind in posts and try to catch up later, I’m just going to recommend that anyone in driving distance of Fort Wayne, Indiana should take time out this weekend or next to go see Bend Us, a truly fantastic world premier musical at the Arts Lab, 300 Main Street, Fort Wayne. More information here: https://allforonefw.wordpress.com/about/announcing-the-2014-2105-season/

Now please excuse me. I hope to get more than six hours sleep tonight, which means I’d better get started. Hope to see you at the show!

Local Theater: Around the World in 80 Days

Jules Verne’s novel  about the English gentleman, Phileas Fogg, circumnavigating the globe is a fairly well known tale and all for One Productions will be brining it to life on the stage this month! (In the spirit of full disclosure I will once again be among the cast for this show and if that’s a minus for you well… you had plenty of chances to see shows without me this season so I don’t want to hear about it.)

While not one of Verne’s most famous works 80 Days does hold a special place in literature as something like the world’s first travelogue and offers a lot of tongue in cheek looks at English and French mannerisms, towards each other and in a vacuum, circa the late 1800s. At the same time it offers a look at the importance of personal integrity, something Fogg has in spades, and the importance of priorities, something Fogg is not exactly good with.

Now if you’re familiar with the Pierce Brosnan TV miniseries that adapted the work the idea that this story is a comedy may be a surprise to you – it was my first introduction to the work and still probably the definitive one in my mind. But this is a really funny story of the fish out of water variety. Not all of the humor comes from the contrast between the straight laced Fogg and the world at large. A great deal of it comes from the differences between Fogg and his manservant Passepartout and those between Passepartout and the irascible
Detective Fix.

While humor abounds in the story and the impetus of the trip is a bet between Fogg and some of his associates in London the real center of the story is when Detective Fix mistakes Fogg for a notorious bank robber and chases him around the world. It’s Fogg’s unshakable integrity that convinces Passepartout to stand with his employer when the accusation comes to light. In turn Passepartout’s solidarity
lets Fogg stay just ahead of Fix… for a while.

All for One is proud to present this classic story. Show dates are April 24th-26th and May 1st-3rd. Tickets can be ordered from the afO website so if you’re going to be in the Fort Wayne area then go ahead and give it a look. I will personally guarantee you’ll have a good time.

Although I wouldn’t go so far as to wager 20,000 pounds sterling on it…

Local Theater: A Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas

We’re back for more local theaterings! Yes, there was an all for One show already this season that I didn’t remember to plug, but Interval was a very high concept show and I wasn’t sure what to say about it beyond it being about two people on a park bench. This time around there’s a little more backstory available for the show. Like, a whole book series worth.

Little House on the Prairie is a classic piece of Americana, a tale of the West and the settlers that loved it. While Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote about a huge chunk of her early life there is a two year period which she left a blank. There are some personal papers and other documents that give a decent picture of what her life was like but that period of time isn’t a part of her famous series of books.

There are plenty of possible reasons for that. The family was hard up financially and Laura’s father was managing a hotel, a line of work that didn’t really fit with the theme of the stories. Also, on the advice of her publisher, Laura made herself older in her first two books than she actually was at the time, to make the viewpoint of her narrator more believable, and cutting the period out of the novels allowed her to sync her actual age and the age of her character in the stories back up. Finally, her youngest sibling had died in infancy and the death cast a pall over the family that Laura probably didn’t care to share with the world at large.

But there’s nothing like public interest to fill in the holes in a person’s life. A Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas tells the story of part of those missing years, taking us into the hotel Charles Ingalls managed and letting us join with the Ingalls family as they struggle to deal with the loss of a child and the poverty of their circumstances.

I can’t say much more about the story as I’ve never read this play and I’m (gasp!) not involved in the show! But it promises music, fun and heart, so if you’re in Fort Wayne early this November it might be worth your checking out.

Local Theater: 1984

It’s theater time again. This show isn’t a happy one, it isn’t a fun one and it isn’t a family event. This time around, all for One Productions is taking us into the darkness of what could have been. We’re going to visit Big Brother.

George Orwell’s 1984 is one of the darkest visions of the human condition there has ever been. It surpasses Blade Runner, it surpasses Logan’s Run, it surpasses Brave New World. There’s no allowance for hope, or joy, or even fun in 1984. There’s only the all consuming power of the Party, paranoia, hate and despair.

The tale remains a classic because the people and the ideas it talks about are so eerily familiar. It’s something we could see happening at some point. There have been close shaves with these kinds of states before – Stalinism, Nazism, Maoism. Modern Cuba and North Korea. The list is long, and that’s just the last century or so.

We watch it to jolt ourselves out of comfort, to brace ourselves to confront the evil wherever it may raise it’s head. Come and see 1984. It will disturb you – and that will be a good thing.

Shows are May 2nd-4th and 9th-11th at the Main Branch of the Allen County Public Library. Ticket information can be found here.

Local Theater: The Princess and the Goblin

Your local arts community deserves your support. Sure, unless you live in New York, L.A. or Chicago, or some other large city, it’s not likely that you have a world class arts scene available. But there’s still a lot of very high quality stuff out there if you’ll only take the time to look for it.

Now I can’t say how much of a local theater scene your town has, but here in Fort Wayne there’s a number of impressive local theater groups to choose from. As longtime readers of this blog know, one that I’m very fond of is all for One Productions, and whenever they stage a new show I make it a point to tell you about it. Their latest show is The Princess and the Goblin, based on the book by George MacDonald, and it’s a bit different from their usual fare. For starters, it’s all one act – there will be no intermission in this show. Okay, okay, nothing earth-shattering about that.

Another big thing is that The Princess and the Goblin is aimed at a younger audience. But, perhaps the biggest difference of all, it will be the first afO production to make extensive use of dancers, who will not speak, both as extras and as set pieces (trust me this will make sense when you see it.) While hardly a musical in the traditional sense, it still promises to be an experience for all the senses.

If you’re not familiar with the story, a quick teaser goes something like this – long ago men fled the kingdom above and hid in tunnels under a mountain. Now they scheme revenge against the king and his daughter, and the miners who’s mines grow ever closer to the borders of the goblin’s lands. Princess Irene, the strange lady who claims to be her grandmother and Curdie the miner boy will all ultimately have a part to play in keeping the kingdom safe. Expect lots of humor and rhymes, with a touch of mystery and the bizarre to liven things up. It’s a show suited to the whole family.

Ticket prices and showtime information can be found here. Hope to see you there!

Local Theater: The Family Nobody Wanted

Once upon a time, there was a Reverend named Doss. He and his wife wanted children, but weren’t able to have any of their own. So they turned to adoption and took in a child. They found a calling, and sought to adopt more children. But the agencies informed them that there would be a lengthy waiting period before they could adopt another child. Surely there were plenty of other children around?

Well, there were. But they were of mixed ethnicity, and in the dark old days of the 1940s and 1950s no one really believed you could adopt transracially and have a successful family. Carl and Helen Doss proved them wrong.

The Family Nobody Wanted is based on their story, a blend of romantic comedy and comedy of errors, that tells of the oldest Doss child, who, like his parents, was white, falls in love with the rich girl next door only to find that her parents Do Not Approve of the rest of his family. While the story itself is fictional, at least some of the events portrayed, such as the visits of more than a few reporters for national magazines such as Life, are real.

The script offers a great deal of laughter, some worthwhile thoughts and a message about the importance of family and it’s reality regardless of superficial differences like skin color or genetics. It’s good fun for the whole family, and if you’re in the Fort Wayne area you could do worse with your Friday nights than coming to check it out. (Disclamer: The author of this post is, in fact, appearing in this show. If that’s a down side for you, you have been warned.)

Performances will be at the main branch of the Allen County Public Library on the weekends of November 1st-3rd and 8th-10th. Information about tickets and show times can be found here.