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Stage notes: 'The Plan,' a look at slavery, 'WWJD,' 'Boxcar Children'

Published March 16, 2011 3:54 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Samuelsen's 'Plan'

Between this upcoming premiere at the Covey Center's Black Box Theater for "The Plan," and another premiere at Plan-B Theatre Company for "Borderlands," Brigham Young University professor Eric Samuelsen is one busy playwright. For anyone interested in homegrown writing talent, that's as it should be. And no one can accuse the man of not having range, at least in terms of setting. Where "Borderlands" takes the center of its action at a used car lot, "The Plan" draws its narrative lines from the Book of all books, The Bible. "Framed in a series of short scenes," as the press materials put it, from the Old Testament (also known as the Hebrew Bible), "The Plan" distills its nine-person cast into Bible stories both familiar, and not so familiar. The Book of Joshua's Rahab, she who helped the Israelites conquer Jericho, finds a place alongside Ruth. Leah, first wife of Jacob and eventual ancestor to the Twelve Tribes of Israel, gets billing in the same play as Boaz. Adam, Eve, Jacob, Lucifer, Joshua and Bathsheba, the woman King David just couldn't resist, also walk the stage. As an appetizer to "Borderlands," or a course unto itself, "The Plan" promises some of the most stimulating theater you'll find through early April.

When • March 18-19, 21, 24-26, 28, 31; April 1 and 2, 7:30 p.m. with 2 p.m. matinee March 26.

Where • 425 W. Center St., Provo, Brinton Black Box Theater at the Covey Center

Info • $10. Call 801-852-7007, or visit www.coveycenter.org for more information.

Document of slavery

Frederick Douglass may be the more familiar historic and literary figure by far, but Harriet Ann Jacobs ought to at least be as well known. Writing under the pseudonym "Linda Brent," her 1861 book, "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl," documented first-hand the sexual and physical abuse endured by African-American women during slavery. Weber State University department of performing arts will present a dramatic adaptation by Angela Berryman Choberka of Jacobs' work March 22. It's part of the "Weber Reads! 2011" project and features Rita Martin as the voice of the adult author, with actress Alicia Washington reading voices of the younger Harriet.

When • March 22, 12:30 p.m.

Where • Hetzel-Hoellein Room, Stewart Library on Weber State University campus, 3848 Harrison Blvd., Ogden

Info • Free. Call 801-626-6782 for more information.

What would Jesus play?

Anna Lewis thought a lot about Jesus as a child. She thought about him as a shortstop on a baseball team, about him buying her a corndog, and about whether or not he might like her grape bubble-tape. So when it came time to write her master's thesis for an MFA in creative writing at Brigham Young University, Lewis had plenty of material saved up to write the play "WWJD." Now audiences have the chance to see her full-length comedy become dramatic reality with the New Play Project's production. Lewis' work tilts expected notions about people's relationship with deity on its axis, to be sure, but it's also about the nature of faith. "In my play Jesus is exactly the kind of guy who would wash your dishes or go miniature golfing with you — and in fact, he does both," Lewis says in press materials for the production. "WWJD" is directed by Lewis' fellow BYU alum, Tony Gunn.

When • March 24, 25, 26, 28 and April 8, 9 and 11, 7:30 p.m.

Where • 105 E. 100 North, Provo Theatre

Info • $5-$8. Reserve tickets through e-mail at newplayproject@gmail.com or visit newplayproject.org/order-tickets.

Train gang

Gertrude Chandler Warner's children's book series "The Boxcar Children" sits close to the heart of even adults who remember reading them as a child. If you're a parent now, University of Utah Youth Theatre's stage adaptation of Warner's stories may be the moment you've been waiting for to introduce them to your own child. Adapted by Barbara Field, and directed by Hugh Hansen, the stories of Henry, Jessie, Benny and Violet keeping it all together in life on the rails may prove as captivating as the books themselves.

When • March 24 and 25, 7 p.m.; March 26, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Where • 1395 Presidents Circle, Salt Lake City, Kingsbury Hall on University of Utah campus

Info • $5-$10. Call 801-581-7100 for more information, or visit www.kingtix.com

French farce at UVU

"Le thé avec la Menthe ou le Citron?" made a minor splash at an international theater festival years ago. And it most certainly made an impression with Utah Valley University theatre department faculty who saw it, then vowed to have it translated for production back in Utah County. After working in partnership with UVU's French department, that French translation is now ready for the stage as "Tea with Mint and Lemon." The play has all the elements of farce you've come to expect from the genre — a clueless husband, a wife whose lover needs a few hiding places — but with a noticeable twist. Directed by D. Terry Petrie, this production marks the second production of the spring semester for UVU's theatre department.

When • March 24-April 9, 7:30 p.m. with 1 p.m. matinees March 26, April 2 and 9

Where • 800 W. University Parkway, Noorda Theatre on Utah Valley University campus, Orem

Info • $7-$11. Call 801-863-PLAY or visit www.uvu.edu/theatre.

Riding horses

Not for the squeamish, first dates or those looking for a bit of light theater after a hard week's work, Peter Shaffer's "Equus" has still made for great theater ever since it first arrived in 1973. The story of a boy obsessed with horses, Alan Strang, and his psychiatrist, Martin Dysart, this is a drama that plumbs the depths of the Apollonian-Dionysian divide, and then some. Westminster College brings its own production to the stage. With brief nudity and mature themes, parental discretion is advised.

When • March 24-26, March 31-April 2; 7:30 p.m.

Where • 1840 S. 1300 East, Jay W. Lees Courage Theatre in the Jewett Center for the Performing Arts, campus of Westminster College, Salt Lake City

Info • $10. Call 801-832-2457 for more information, or visit www.westminstercollege.edu/campusevents.

Musical on-the-spot

"Instant Musical," a new production by West Jordan Theatre Arts, promises to improvise a musical theater production into six entire musicals. If that sounds like a tall order for an 18-member cast, director Bob Bedore believes they're up for it — and them some. "So far in rehearsals we've created musicals about a break-dancing spelling bee, a dysfunctional hospital and dispute between people protecting the sharks at the beach and those who want to put in an airport," he states in press materials. In the mood for spontaneity in drama? Here's your night out.

When • Through March 28, Friday, Saturday and Monday, 7:30 p.m.

Where • 8000 S. Redwood Road, West Jordan, West Jordan City Hall Community Room

Info • $3-$5. Call 801-294-1242, or visit www.sugarfactoryplayhouse.com.

ZAP funds deadline approaches

Tier II funding, also known as "The Zoo, Arts and Parks" fund, for Salt Lake County cultural organizations rightly constitutes some of the most sought-after funding for qualified organizations. Last year saw 139 organizations applying, according to Salt Lake County, with 137 awarded grants from $500 to $65,000. If you work to fund an organization either nascent or established, now's the time to get that application ready. Applicants must be a nonprofit organization falling under the federal IRA 501c3 designation, or a cultural, arts or botanical agency with a county, township, municipal or community council.

When • Applications must be postmarked March 31 or hand-delivered by 5 p.m. the same day.

Info • Call 801-468-3517 for more information, or visit www.zap.slco.org.

Get your event listed here by contacting Ben Fulton at bfulton@sltrib.com or call 801-257-8608.






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