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Wednesday, March 7,2012

Slam-dunk

Jerry and Isaac Sprague score in a double feature

by Tom Helma
In “Two Beers and a Hook Shot,” we have serious relationship drama presented in a naturalistic style: dark, painful-to-experience material. This is a play about the challenge in a father-son relationship to transcend past sins, to overcome sufferings and a raging emptiness, and to transform hatred to love through the magic of basketball.
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Wednesday, March 7,2012

'Cat' on the prowl at LCC

by Tom Helma
Keller, who is directing Lansing Community College Theatre’s “Cat on A Hot Tin Roof,” is all noisy nouns and arresting adjectives, punching out her words — “muscularity,” “centeredness,” “fragility,” “desire” — and suggesting that for this play to be done well, the actors must “fight” for the reality of the moment.
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Wednesday, February 15,2012

Stages of the heart

Six actors serve up 20 varieties of love at LCC

by Tom Helma
Up close and personal, in your face and immediate—the Black Box stage at Lansing Community college, one of the most intimate theater spaces in town, is the perfect venue for a tender play about love and its eccentricities over time.
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Wednesday, February 1,2012

Stunning 'Stone'

Purple Rose Theatre drama is a solid triumph

by Tom Helma
It takes a singer with a great voice to bring out the complexities of a well-composed opera. Likewise, it takes an actor with great range to project the nuances of a well-written script.
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Wednesday, December 28,2011

Theater: Some of the best was in the streets

by Tom Helma
My take on the best theater of the year is that it took place on the streets, most noticeably with the surge in flashmob theater taking place everywhere and then, more recently, in the Occupy political street theater occurring in many cities around the world.
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Wednesday, November 9,2011

Theatrical psychodrama

Powerful ‘Shrike’ explores malicious mind games

by Tom Helma
Set designer Fred Englegau has created a great, seemingly soothing yet sinister mental hospital ward that is as seriously anal-retentive and super-organized as a Martha Stewart Thanksgiving dinner table, while director Paige Dunckel has found and...
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Wednesday, November 2,2011

Going Over the Ledge

Theater vet Joe Dickson launches a new company

by Tom Helma
By TOM HELMA Some people wish, some people dream, others take action. Joe Dickson acts. He also directs, handles lighting and sound, is on the Lansing Civic Players board of directors and is in the process of creating his own theater company, Over the Ledge.
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Wednesday, October 19,2011

Pure poison

‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ proves comedy doesn’t always improve with age

by Tom Helma
Playwright Joseph Kesserling puts theater critic Mortimer Brewster at the heart of “Arsenic,” an island of rationality in an ocean of insanity. Adam Bright plays him with a consistently effective calmness, while most of the other characters are exaggerated nutcases.
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Wednesday, October 5,2011

Puerile Michigan

Purple Rose Theatre revisits ‘Escanaba,’ where good taste is always out of place

by Tom Helma
elaborately staged Rube Goldberg set up of an extended fart sequence, complete with slow-motion strobe light and explosive sound effects? Or is it the scene in which a particularly potent potpourri of Potawatami porcupine piss gets poured over Ranger Tom?.
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Wednesday, September 28,2011

Actors soar in 'Blackbird'

Drama poses provocative questions about passion

by Tom Helma
director Chad Badgero promises that “no situation is simply black or white,” and in “Blackbird," Doak Bloss and Angela Mishler confirm this in a production that leaves the audience emotionally bruised and battered, spiritually black and blue. This is not a play for the faint of heart, yet it is a play that stirs the soul.
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