Community theaters, particularly in small towns, often rely on the tried and true. However, theater is far more exciting when companies take risks. New and daring works can turn into overambitious fiascos, but they can also soar higher than old standards when they succeed.
As the late humorist/cow- boy/actor and all-around celebrity, Kevin McKillip pays tribute to Rogers in his self-com- posed one-man show, Will Rogers: An American Original at Stormfield Theatre. Rogers blends puns, political commentary and rope tricks into a polished portrait of an American archetype.
Based on a lone surviving document, “Conspiracy” dramatically reconstructs the 1942 Wannsee Conference, a meeting of 15 high-ranking Nazis who discussed the practical implementation of the Final Solution.
Chicago native Loring Mandel never imagined his profession might be writing for television. Mandel, 83, wrote his first closedcircuit radio productions for fun when he was 6 years old; when he needed money for graduate courses in music at Northwestern University, Mandel discovered he could make a living from fun.
If he did, “The Dead Guy,” now at Williamston Theatre, might be a sharper satire in the vein of “Network” or “The Truman Show.” But the show’s very concept suggests that Coble cannot appreciate his topic on its own terms, resulting in flawed premises and shallow characters that make “Guy” feel cynical instead of comically cerebral.
Remember Sept. 11, 2001? Not the divisive rhetoric that tirelessly evoked the date for political evasion or justification, or the shameless merchandising that recently reached new lows (9/11 Merlot, anyone? Just $19.11), but where you were when you first heard the tragic news.
Working under the loosely encompassing mission statement of providing “as much theater as possible in a short amount of time” for free, Badgero says Renegade answered a persistent question among theater people: Where can you perform pieces that don’t fit anywhere else?.