Friday, May 29, 2009

Summer . . .

By Russ Bickerstaff
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The summer approaches . . . and with it a whole bunch of shows in odd corners of the state, Peninsula Players has announced its season and I’m really excited to have the opportunity to see the Midwest premiere of a new David Ives comedy. Is He Dead? is a comedy that debuted, I believe last year in New York. Chicago-born playwright David Ives based the play on a previous work by the legendary Mark Twain. The premise of the story is pretty simple—an artist fakes his own death in order to increase the value of his paintings . . . and of course its much more complicated than it sounds. It’s a fun premise written by one of the great American writers and adapted for the contemporary stage by a contemporary playwright I deeply respects. I was first introduced to David Ives in a production of Polish Joke that was staged by the late Bialystock and Bloom theatre company. The show was a lot of fun . . . then I ssaw a Sunset Playhouse production of a series of Ives’ shorts, which featured, among other things, a casual moment with Philip Glass and a trio of monkeys actually working on Shakespeare’s scripts . . . it was fun. . . .now Ives has done something with Twain, which is kind of a bizarre team-up, but it makes sense . . . and I’ll be seeing it the same weekend as I see Door Shakespeare’s sole offering for the season—a production of The Merchant of Venice . . . and that only one month after the American Players Theatre opens its season next month . . .

Is He Dead opens July 29th with Peninsula Players. Door Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice opens the same week on July 27th

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