Tuesday, April 2, 2019

REVIEW: "Crimes of the Heart" at CATS Playhouse

by Sadie Nickerson

What is your favorite classic television show? Are you an I Love Lucy fan? Perhaps MASH or The Brady Bunch come to mind. Watching shows like those may make us yearn for simpler times and a sense of wholesomeness. However, if one only gives them a second glance, the sexism and problematic portrayal of gender roles quickly reveal themselves. Decades later, much of our current society has not improved these attitudes. Beth Henley may have written Crimes of the Heart in 1986, but its focus on domestic abuse and female mental health make it topically relevant for audiences in the age of “Me Too”. Children and Adults Theatrical Studio (CATS Playhouse) made an astute choice when selecting it for their 2018-2019 season.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

PREVIEW: "Dream Aloud" at Ballet Lubbock

by Shane Strawbridge
Ballet Lubbock's Dream Aloud

Two times a year, you can find Executive Director Nicholas Dragga—clad in his trademark grey suit—welcoming audiences to Ballet Lubbock’s Open Barre, a preview of their upcoming mainstage performance. This time around, it is a preview of Dream Aloud, an evening of original choreography set to live vocal performances including solo singers, the Texas Tech Women's Chorale, the Joyful Noise Gospel Choir, and the West Texas Children's Chorus.

Friday, March 29, 2019

REVIEW: Flatlands Dance Theatre's "Delicious"

by Shane Strawbridge

Have you ever bitten into a cupcake so good that it made you want to dance a little? No? Maybe just a little shimmy? A twirl? A heelflip? Come on, admit it. No shame here. Safe space. In Flatlands Dance Theatre’s newest production, Delicious, the entire evening of dance centers around that culinary confection and the different ways it makes us feel. And like any good cupcake, it leaves you wishing for one more bite.

REVIEW: 9 in the Morning by Jacob Henry

Alex Webster as WOMAN. Photo by Bill West-Davis
by Shane Strawbridge

We all talk to the voices in our heads. We have conversations with ourselves, we rehearse that speech we just know we are going to have with that co-worker who has it coming, and we replay the moments that haunt us time after time. In 9 in the Morning, playwright and designer Jacob Henry has taken that concept and magnified it into a trippy twenty-minute journey through one woman’s psyche.

9 in the Morning follows a character we know only as “Woman” who wakes in bed, presumably hungover, and is unsure of exactly what happened the night before. On first glance, this story is tired, played out, and unworthy of your attention. What makes this production different—and worth spending the time to see—is the utilization of bone-conduction technology which allows the audience to hear both the words from the mouth of Woman and the voices inside her own head.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

PREVIEW: TTU Opera's Double Bill - The Medium and Gianni Schicchi

The Medium. Photo by Bill West-Davis
by Shane Strawbridge

I was lucky enough to be invited by Dr. Gregory Brookes to attend one of the final rehearsals for the Red Cast of Texas Tech University School of Music Spring Opera Double Bill of The Medium and Gianni Schicchi. If what I witnessed during the rehearsal run on Monday night is any indication, there will be plenty that is worth your time once the performances begin on Wednesday.

The Medium is a short dramatic opera with words and music by Gian Carlo Menotti, originally performed at Columbia University in 1946. It tells the story of an alcoholic matron who holds phony seances at her home with the help of her daughter and a mute servant boy. During one of her fake seances, the matron feels something she believes to be real, leading to the unraveling of her own sanity.

The Medium has some of the most beautiful arias written for English language opera,” says Brookes. “The plot is dark and asks a lot of our graduate singers as they prepared these roles.”

Gianni Schicchi. Photo by Bill West-Davis