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Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014

Backstage Professional Wrestling Comedy

UWM students tackle 'Cementville'

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There’s a tremendous amount of appeal in Jane Martin’s dark 1990s comedy Cementville. Just looking at the stage as one enters the theater, one might not guess as much. It’s a rancid locker room, the sole setting for the comedy. One might not expect a locker room comedy about a group of professional wrestlers to be all that enlightening, but there’s actually quite a lot going on and the story works on multiple levels. Here we see a group of female wrestlers who are pretending to be angry towards each other on the mats—people who might well be very upset with each other in the locker room for entirely different reasons. And we’re seeing them backstage, but because this is a staged comedy, we’re also seeing them as characters onstage. The metaphysics of what appears to be a simple comedy become very complex thematically.

Not that Cementville is as impenetrable as the above paragraph suggests. It’s an exceedingly social story with numerous colorful characters and an ensemble every bit as ragged and patchwork as one might expect. Cementville sounds like the perfect play for a university theater program. UW-Milwaukee graduate and Youngblood Theatre co-founder Michael Cotey directs. 

UWM Peck School of the Arts’ production of Cementville runs Feb. 28-March 9, at Kenilworth Studio 508, 1925 E. Kenilworth Place. For tickets, call 414-229-4308 or visit arts.uwm.edu/tickets.

 

Theatre Happenings

  • Milwaukee Chamber Theatre’s Montgomery Davis Play Development Series continues early next month with a staged reading of Gwendolyn Rice’s Silent. A Catholic priest counseling a mob boss in a federal penitentiary, hoping to offer spiritual support, is not expecting to be approached by a pair of FBI agents looking to investigate. Things get progressively more complicated in the reading directed by J.C. Clementz featuring Chike Johnson, Robert Spencer, Jonathan Wainwright, C. Michael Wright and others. The reading is offered Monday, March 10, at Skylight Bar & Bistro, 158 N. Broadway. For more information, call 414-291-7800 or visit chamber-theatre.com.
  • In Uprooted Theatre’s production of Cormac McCarthy’s The Sunset Limited, James Pickering plays White, an intellectual suffering from serious depression. White finds himself in the company of Black (Lee Palmer), an ex-con from the South who engages him in a debate about truth, fiction and belief, March 13- 23, at Next Act Theatre, 255 S. Water St. For ticket reservations, visit uprootedmke.com