November 16th, 2011

Just Up, Just Out and Just Missed (Theatre)

Hello, again. It’s that time of the month when we try something new. We’ll compile for you some of the things you need to keep an eye out for (Just Up), that which has already happened (Just Out) and news we wish we had covered (Just Missed). We’ll sort it out and spit it back at you.

Just Up: A Few Shows You Won’t Want to Miss

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Big Head Productions: When the Day Met the Night (A Moosehunt Experience)
Obsidian Art Space — November 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19 @ 8 PM
Act One: a 1980s LSD party. Act Two: a gathering of the same party goers 20 years later, mourning the loss of one of their own. Writer and director Leighza Walker has taken great care in developing this play, ensuring that the Act One cast (the young’uns) remain unexposed to the script or the rehearsals of the Act Two cast (the old farts). Her choice is based on the concept that since we as people don’t know where or who we will be twenty years from now, neither should her actors. So there’s your motivation.
Tickets: Pay what you can ($10 and up)

Alley Theatre: Santaland Diaries by David Sedaris
Alley Theatre, Neuhaus Stage – November 30-December 31
It should come as no surprise that Sarah isn’t the only Loopster preoccupied with some serious Sedaris hero worship. (http://theloopscoop.com/best-friend-rings-david-sedaris-reads-at-jones-hall) We’ve got an affinity for experience driven wit around here, in case you haven’t noticed. This cult classic play, based on David Sedaris’ time playing Crumpet the Elf in Macy’s Santaland display promises to be the highlight of Houston’s holiday performing arts lineup. Skip the trip to go see the Nutcracker for the seventeenth time and opt for a show that is sure to provide so many belly laughs, you might just yack up your Christmas cookies.
Tickets: $25 and up

Mildred’s Umbrella Theatre Company: Tender Buttons
Obsidian Art Space – November 25, 26 @ 8 PM
Tender Buttons is advertised as “a sexy live rock and cooking show” based on Gertrude Stein’s 1914 book of the same name. Combine cabaret with culinary arts, mix in a smidgen of sound obsessive poetic verse, and what you have is a show sure to make quite the little scene in the middle of Houston Theatre’s largely conservative holiday party.
Tickets: $20

Theatre Under the Stars: White Christmas
Hobby Center, Sarofim Hall – December 6-18
Never, never did I think I’d promote a Theatre Under the Stars show. Just… don’t get me started. But we’re throwing this in there for those folks who need a little warm and fuzzy tradition to get into the true holiday spirit. Even those of us who spend the entire year hunting for the most cynical and obscure productions in town need to settle down and appreciate the homey goodness of an Irving Berlin classic from time to time. This is chicken soup for the harried holiday soul. Just go ahead and admit it… you know the song by heart too, don’t you?
Tickets: $24 and up

Just Out: Shows We Saw

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Catastrophic Theatre: There Is a Happiness That Morning Is
I know people are sick of hearing me rave about this play. So I swear this will be the last time…
Oh-my-God-it-was-so-amazing-did-you-see-it?-did-you-love-it?-oh-my-God-I-know-I-effing-loved-it-so-much!
There. Done.

Karen Stokes Dance Company: The Secondary Colors
Karen Stokes doesn’t care if you don’t know an arabesque from an assemble; her choreography makes contemporary dance approachable and fun for the two-left-footed masses. The Secondary Colors spanned the visual and emotional spectrum of green, orange and purple, teasing the audience with playful and occasionally quirky movements. The collaboration with composer Bill Ryan defied traditional techniques, as some of the music was composed specifically for the choreography. And perhaps it was this unique method of creative development that allowed the final result to so adamantly defy traditional plotting. The metaphors of the secondary colors were represented firmly and willfully, without shoving the point down the audience’s collective throat. Post-curtain audience conversation consisted of grinning queries like “which color was best?” and “what color do you think you are?” Color me endeared to a performance that can inspire people to lay aside the seriousness of the everyday and revert back to that most pure and important of childhood questions: What’s your favorite color?

Country Playhouse: Speed the Plow
David Mamet is a sexist. Yeah, I said it. We were all thinking it, right? Right?! Okay, so maybe you don’t go around perpetually pondering whether or not a playwright can produce a perfect archetype of the over-sexed, ovary-hating male character without actually being a sexist himself. Theatre critics do, okay? It’s a burden we must bear. You needn’t look deep into this Mamet script to see the Garden of Eden metaphor, as the wicked woman attempts to recalibrate the almighty man’s moral compass. And I could perhaps summon enough righteous indignation to be truly offended by it, if it weren’t for the fact that Mamet is just so damn funny. Speed the Plow is a quick and wry script with a great balance of plot and wordplay. And for me, funny always trumps offense. The Country Playhouse production, under the direction of Joey Mililo embraced the script’s pointed slams on Hollywood’s eccentricities. This production emphasized the clear absurdity of it all: so much time, money and energy just to make (or not make) a movie… it’s enough to make a person swear off Hollywood’s sleazy drippings altogether and opt instead for a nice evening out at the theatre, eh? Eh?!

Just Missed: Did We Mention…?

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Bayou City Poetry Slam
MECA – November 19 @ 8 PM
Spoken word poetry is a little off our beaten path. See what I did there? That, ladies and gentlemen, was a terrible pun. Which is why I’m not worthy to dust the dirt from the boots of the poets that will perform at this slam. But worship them I will, particularly local poet and Word Around Town organizer Teresa Juarez and more-God-than-man Buddy Wakefield.
Tickets: $10

Aeon Theatrix: Spring Closing
Did you happen to miss “Spring Awakening”, the premiere production of Aeon Theatrix? Yeah, that’s because we all did. Aeon Theatrix has closed its doors before its first curtain-up, vanished into the night, and left precious little explanation in its wake. Taking down the website and tossing up a “productions indefinitely suspended” Facebook status is hardly the way to say goodbye, Aeon. And certainly not when you had promised us such a stellar inaugural season. I feel so… used.

Opera Vista: Powder Her Face
Apparently, we managed to miss what is largely considered to be the most controversial opera of the past two decades. Where have these Opera Vista folks been hiding? Their mission revolves around contemporary opera written by, get this… living composers. Opera by a non-dead guys? What. A. Concept. We’re waiting to hear what their next production will be, because few things say good-date-night-out better than an R-rated opera.

— Kerri

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