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Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013

Science and Creation at the Stiemke Studio

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Things are wound pretty tight intellectually in an era increasingly fascinated with information and details. Different groups of people cling to different details trying to corner some kind of market on truth.

An aspect of this culture war is explored in Catherine Trieschmann's How the World Began. In this recently written drama, a teacher from New York in need of health insurance takes a job teaching science in a Kansas school that was leveled by a tornado. During a lecture, she marvels at how inanimate matter has somehow become life. It's one of the greatest mysteries there is, but not "if you happen to believe all that other gobbledygook." The teacher doesn't remember using those exact words until a student confronts her, asking for an apology for what are obviously her deeply held beliefs.  And thus begins a drama that will take the stage of the Milwaukee Repertory’s Steimke Studio Theater later this month.

So is this the product of an Ivy League-manufactured big city playwright looking to pound a drama out of tired, old cultural stereotypes? Not exactly. Trieschmann is a young playwright whose work has been performed all over, but to her credit, she actually lives in a small town in western Kansas not unlike the one in which the play is set, so we can expect fully detailed characters here. Sounds like a really interesting drama.

The Rep's production of How the World Began runs Jan. 16-Feb. 24 at the Stiemke Studio Theater. For ticket reservations, call 414-224-9490.

Theater Happenings

Greendale Community Theatre brings contemporary suburban madness to the stage as it presents the recent Broadway success Next to Normal at Greendale High School Auditorium, Jan. 10-19. For ticket reservations, visit greendaletheater.org.

■ Cristina Panfilio and Jonathan Smoots star in Renaissance Theaterworks' production of Educating Rita, a story of a young hairdresser from Liverpool looking to get an education though a special university program. It runs Jan. 18-Feb. 10 at the Broadway Theatre Center Studio Theatre. For ticket reservations, call 414-291-7800.