November ushers-in a really impressive mix of drama on local small stages. There’s a high school girl with super powers at UWM, a team of indoor soccer players as Marquette, mid-1960s tensions at the Sunstone and quite a bit more. Here’s a look:
Teenagers with superpowers can wind up in pretty drastically different circumstances depending on the author and the era. A telekinetic girl written by Jack Kirby in 1963? That’s superhero Jean Grey of the X-Men. A telekinetic girl written by Stephen King in1974? That’s horror icon Carrie. One of them’s a hero. The other’s...not
Back in 2007, playwrights Nathan Allen, Chris Mathews and Jake Minton wrote The Sparrow a drama about a high school girl dealing with superhuman powers. The drama comes to the stage with the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. UWM’s production runs Nov. 2 - 6.
Amiri Baraka’s intimate 1964 drama Dutchman is explored on one of Milwaukee’s smallest stages early this month. DiMonte Henning directs the story of a man meeting a woman on a subway car in New York in the early 1960s. He’s black. She’s white. Hannah Ripp-Dieter and Denzel Taylor perform the show Nov. 4 - 19 at Sunstone Studios. If Henning and company up for it, Sunstones’ space can be lined-up almost exactly like a slightly enlarged New York City subway car. Baraka’s script is tight and uncomfortable. This could be a very powerful production.
About ten years ago, playwright Will Eno debuted Title and Deed. The guy who wrote the monologue Thom Paine (Based On Nothing) develops an entirely different monologue. This one is about a guy who lived in another country and now lives in the U.S. Theatre Gigante brings the character to the stage of the Kenilworth 508 Theatre on 1925 East Kenilworth Pl. Gigante’s Isabelle Kralj directs the talented Michael Stebbins as the guy from another country. Kralj and Stebbins have been working together for a long time...both are quite familiar with the space they’re working with. This should be a captivating evening with a single character. The show runs Nov. 18 - Dec. 3.
At mid-month, Marquette University Theatre presents playwright Sarah DeLappe’s 2017 locker room drama The Wolves. The story of a girls indoor soccer team finds a cast that’s roughly the perfect age to be playing a bunch of youth athletes. It’s a portrait of a group of American girls looking to score some goals. The show runs Nov. 18 - Dec. 4
Marquette alternates The Wolves with the drama of one man confronting memories of high school while watching The Academy Awards. Playwright Michael Perlman’s From White Plains explores the lasting effects of prejudice. In an acceptance speech, a man publicly denounces the high school bully he believes is ultimately responsible for pushing his best friend to commit suicide 15 years ago. Marquette’s production of From White Plains runs Nov. 19 - Dec. 3.
So...uh...the holidays are coming-up. It was just...it’s Halloween weekend as I write this. In just a few days...it’s...the holidays. This year First Stage returns to the cozy cathode-ray era of Rankin/Bass TV specials with a live stage adaptation of Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer the Musical. The show runs Nov. 25 - Dec. 24.