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Published: Thursday, 1/22/2009

Glacity to present pair of plays by George Walker

BY NANCIANN CHERRY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A pair of plays by George F. Walker are next up for the Glacity Theatre Collective.

Problem Child and Criminal Genius have been called fiercely funny comedies by Collective member Irene Alby; a Web site describes them as the Three Stooges meet Reservoir Dogs.

Director Cornel Gabara says they are comedies that deal in life and death situations, very engaging but with farcical elements.

The characters are real and have problems, he said in a telephone interview earlier this week. They ve made bad choices and continue to make bad choices as they try to fix things.

Gabara, an assistant professor of theater at the University of Toledo, is a native of Romania, where he began his acting career with the National Theatre of Bucharest. He first came across the work of Walker, a Canadian playwright, when he was studying at Concordia University in Montreal.

The two plays are part of Walker s 1997 work, Suburban Motel, which comprises six one-act plays all set in the same motel room. Problem Child and Criminal Genius will alternate, one presented each night over the next three weekends, in a new space for the Collective: the Davis Building in downtown Toledo.

Problem Child centers around Denise (played by Alby), a desperate young mother trying to get her child back from an unsympathetic social worker (Kate Abu-Absi). Ben Pryor plays Denise s husband, RJ.

Criminal Genius is the tale of a man (Pryor) and his son (Matt Gretzinger), hired to torch a restaurant. But things have gone awry: Instead of doing their job, they end up kidnaping the dishwasher (Deborah Coulter-Harris), who turns out to be the daughter of the woman (Abu-Absi) who hired them.

The common elements between the plays are the motel room and the drunken, cynical desk clerk, Phillie (Dave DeChristopher), who just wants his money.

The plays, which are violently funny, can be set anywhere, Gabara said. The themes are universal regardless of cultural boundaries.

The Glacity Theatre Collective presents two plays by George Walker through Feb. 7 in Room 228 of the Davis Building, 151 North Michigan St. Problem Child will be performed at 8 p.m. tomorrow, Jan. 29 and 31, and Feb. 6, with a matinee at 2 p.m. Sunday. Criminal Genius is scheduled at 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30, and Feb. 5 and 7, with a matinee at 2 p.m. Feb. 1. Tickets are $15 for one show, $20 for both (cash or check only). Admission to Sunday matinees is on a pay-what-you-can basis, and last-minute student rush seating will be $5 is space is available. Information: 419-530-2254 or glacitytheatre@gmail.com

Sign Stage on Tour returns to Owens Community College Sunday with Dr. Dolittle, the second production in Owens Family Fun Sunday series.

The troupe, which presented James and the Giant Peach at Owens last year, uses spoken English and American Sign Language in its shows. When a character speaks on stage, the dialogue will be signed and spoken at the same time.

Based on a series of books by Hugh Lofting, Dr. Dolittle is the tale of a doctor who learns animal language from a pet parrot. The doctor gives up treating humans to focus on animals, and when he learns of an epidemic among monkeys in Africa, he sets out to find a cure, leading to all sorts of adventures along the way.

Sign Stage on Tour is a spin-off of Sign Stage Theatre, which was founded in 1975 in Cleveland. It is the second-oldest deaf theater in the nation; only the National Theatre of the Deaf in Hartford, Conn., is older.

Dr. Dolittle is scheduled at 2 and 4 p.m. Sunday in the Mainstage Theatre of Owens Community College s Center for Fine and Performing Arts, 30335 Oregon Rd., Perrysburg. General admission is $12. Information: 567-661-2787.

Khaled Hosseini s best-selling novel, The Kite Runner, will be presented as a stage play at 8 p.m. Saturday at Ohio Northern University in Ada.

Director Wynn Handman of New York City s American Place Theatre adapted the novel into a solo show featuring Sorab Wadia. The story is about two boys growing up in Afghanistan: Amir, from an upper-class family, and Hassan, the son of a family servant. The pair spend much of their time playing and flying kites together, but when Amir witnesses an assault on Hassan, he is afraid to come to his friend s aid. The resulting feelings of guilt over his cowardice follow him for life.

The Kite Runner is part of ONU s One Community, One Book, One Play project, which encourages the community to read the book, see the play, and participate in pre and post-show discussions.

The Kite Runner will be presented at 8 p.m. Saturday in Biggs Theatre of ONU s Freed Center for the Performing Arts in Ada. The preshow discussion begins at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $15 at the door. Information: 419-772-1900 or www.freedcenter.com.

Kerry Graves, associate professor of theatre and speech communication at Siena Heights University, will present a world premiere of her play Beyond the Path this weekend at the Adrian school.

Graves, who also directs, uses humor and imagination to explore how modern youngsters seem to be losing touch with nature and the wonders of the world as they become more and more obsessed with computers, electronic games, and cell phones.

Beyond the Path is slated at 7 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in Francoeur Theatre at Siena Heights University. Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students. Information: 517-264-7840 or sienaheights.edu.

The University of Findlay is getting ready for its eighth annual Triage Theatre.

Co-sponsored by the university and Alpha Psi Omega, an honorary theater fraternity, the event begins at 8 p.m. tomorrow when participants are given a theme.

They then will have 24 hours to write, cast, rehearse, and perform a 10-minute play.

The theme is never revealed ahead of time; but past themes have included using Top 40 song lyrics as dialogue and showing what superheroes do when they re not saving the world.

During the performance, audience members vote on their favorite plays, and the winner will get a cash prize.

The Triage Theatre performance is scheduled at 8 p.m. Saturday in Grimm Theatre of the Egner Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Findlay. Tickets are $5. Information: 419-434-5335.

Contact Nanciann Cherry at: ncherry@theblade.com or 419-724-6130.



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