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Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014

Woody Allen on the Meaning of Life

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An actor playing a playwright sits onstage trying to figure out a good ending for a play. And since this is Woody Allen, things get a little weird from there. Originally published in 1975, Woody Allen’s God came around the time of films like The Sleeper and Love and Death. His work had a wild inventiveness about it that could quite quickly turn surreal. Pleasantly scattered and restless, the script lies somewhere between madness and extreme cleverness as it mixes profound observations on the nature of reality with abject silliness and absurdity.

A story that covers the meaning of life, an individual’s role in society and the search for truth also features rapid-fire Marx Brothers-style dialogue, lowbrow humor and cameo appearances by Blanche DuBois, Groucho Marx, Zeus and an actor playing a young Woody Allen. Soulstice Theatre’s production of the play with a deep and fevered laugh at the essence of reality manifests on a small stage in St. Francis. A portion of the production’s proceeds will be donated to Operation Dream, a mentoring group for at-risk young men in urban Milwaukee in need of support and guidance. It’s a nice match for a show so deliriously in search of meaning through live performance.

Soulstice Theatre’s production of God runs Jan. 24-Feb. 8 at the Keith Tamsett Theater, 3770 S. Pennsylvania Ave., St. Francis. For tickets, call 414-481-2800 or visit soulsticetheatre.org.

 

Theatre Happenings

  • Sunset Playhouse brings Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Nile to the stage this week. Ruth Arnell plays a bride on honeymoon in Egypt. As this is Christie, the honeymoon doesn’t go quite as expected in a mystery to be solved by Michael Chobanoff in the role of Canon Pennefather, Jan. 23-Feb. 9 at the Furlan Auditorium, 800 Elm Grove Road. For tickets, call 262-782-4430 or visit sunsetplayhouse.com.
  • Jonathan Smoots plays a man accused of assaulting a young black woman in the Next Act Theatre production of David Mamet’s Race. His defense team consists of one white man and one black man played by David Cecsarini and Lee Palmer. Chicago-based actress Tiffany Renee Johnson joins the cast as a new African American member of the law firm. The Milwaukee premiere runs Jan. 30- Feb. 23 at 255 S. Water St. For tickets, call 414-278-0765 or visit nextact.org.
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