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Published: Wednesday, 11/10/2010

Mood swings featured in area productions

A musical, a comedy, and two dramas open on area stages this coming week, beginning with Labyrinth at the University of Toledo.

Written by Fernando Arrabal of Spain, the work continues the Department of Theatre & Film's exploration of the concept of imprisonment.

As the play opens, Etienne finds himself chained to Bruno in a park latrine. The men are surrounded by a maze of blankets, hindering Etienne's chances of escape.

As he's waiting to be tried on charges not known to him, Etienne engages in a series of bizarre conversations with his jailers, Justin and his daughter, Micaela.

“The labyrinth can be thought of as any system (political, social, educational, religious, etc.) that operates with more concern for control and order than for human needs. On some level, everyone can identify with Etienne's predicament,” said director Edmund Lingan in an e-mail.

Arrabal wrote The Labyrinth in 1961, while he was living in exile when Francisco Franco ruled Spain. Arrabal's father was a victim of the violence and oppression of Franco's government, and the play paints a portrait of unjust legal policies, kangaroo courts, and bodily humiliation.

Lingan's cast includes Pat Miller as Etienne, Christopher Douglas as Bruno, Michael Cochran and Terri Mims as Justin and Micaela, and Marshall Kupresanin as the insane judge presiding over Etienne's trial.

The Labyrinth is not intended for children. Video elements of the play include nudity, and live portions feature strong adult themes.

“The Labyrinth” opens at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow in Center Theatre of the Center for Performing Arts on the UT campus. Additional performances are at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Nov. 17-20, with matinees at 2 p.m. Sunday and Nov. 21. Tickets are $13 for adults, $11 for seniors and UT employees, and $9 for students. Information: 419-530-2375.

Ken Ludwig's comedy Leading Ladies! opens tomorrow at the Croswell Opera House in Adrian.

The farce concerns Leo and Jack, Shakespearean actors who decide to end their run of bad luck by posing as the long-lost nephews of an elderly woman who is dying and leaving her fortune to them. The fun kicks into high gear when they discover that their target's nephews, Max and Steve, are really her nieces.

Undeterred, they rearrange their costumes to become Maxine and Stephanie. Then Leo falls in love with the woman's real niece, Meg.

Directed by Ann Cooley, Drew Carter of Adrian plays Leo, and Karl Kasischke of Ann Arbor is Jack. Sarah Jackson of Adrian is Meg, and Lynn Marsh of Brooklyn, Mich., is her elderly Aunt Florence. Also in the cast are Deveny Rosebrock of Tipton, Mich., Michael Ratz of Onsted, Mich., Stephen Hillard of Northville, Mich., and Tim Ray of Adrian.

“Leading Ladies” is scheduled at 8 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday in the theater at 129 East Maumee St., Adrian. Tickets are $20 for adults and $18 for seniors and students with a valid I.D. Information: 517-264-7469.

● Genoa Civic Theatre presents Rented Christmas: The Musical in the village's Town Hall Opera House. The plot revolves around John Dale, a middle-aged bachelor who has been longing for all the traditions of Christmas, complete with wife and children. He challenges Anne, the proprietor of a local rental shop, to fill his criteria, which she does with the help of the local actors' guild and orphanage. The only role that isn't filled is that of the children's mother, so Anne takes on that chore, and a rented Christmas turns into a new life for all concerned. Performances are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through Nov. 21 in the theater at 509 Main St., Genoa. Tickets are $10 for adults, and $8 for seniors and students, available at the door.

● Je'caryous Johnson's marital dramedy, Cheaper to Keep Her, will be presented at 8 p.m. Wednesday in the Stranahan Theater, 4645 Heatherdowns Blvd. The play stars Vivica A. Fox as Morgan Mays, whose husband, Raymond (Brian McKnight) wants a divorce. When the dust settles after the court proceedings, Raymond is left without his house, his pension, even his self-esteem. In his efforts to avoid paying alimony by getting Morgan to remarry, the ex-spouses begin to rediscover why they got married in the first place. Tickets for the show are $32.50 and $36.50, plus user fees, from the Stranahan box office, 419-381-8851; ticketmaster.com, or Ticketmaster outlets.

Contact Nanciann Cherry at:

ncherry@theblade.com

or 419-724-6130.



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