IndyFringe: Class Dismissed, Figuring Out What the Hell We’re Going to Do With Our Lives

This show is part of the 15th Annual Indianapolis Theatre Fringe Festival, a/k/a IndyFringe, Aug. 15-25, 2019 on Mass Ave downtown. Info, etc., at www.IndyFringe.org.

By Wendy Carson

Your Senior year of High School, we’ve all been there and remember what it was like for us. However, the current Millennium presents a whole new mountain of concerns over planning for the future. Aside from the stress of just getting into college, there’s the concern about the crippling debt paying for it, if you are not lucky enough to find or receive a scholarship. Plus, is not actually attending college a guarantee that you will fail?

This is the quandary ensconcing the players in this energetic production from the Sugar Creek Players Youth Troupe (from Crawfordsville).

We are sped through the senior cycle with a look at some of the wacky clubs you can join to improve your application, SATs, Various classes, as well as Prom and Graduation. Since the ultimate answer of what to do is unique to us all, the characters here are boiled down to basic stereotypes.

Austin Coon dominates the cast in his role as he “Crazy Teacher” demanding that everyone MUST get into college or you are doomed to work a “McJob” the rest of your life.

Liberty Owens portrays the “Juul Kid” (those are the e-cigarettes that the kids are vaping with these days) as stealthy, cynical, and appalled that people actually pee in the Juul room (even though it’s actually the bathroom). She is certain that she can become a successful online personality and that will get her through life.

Isabella de Assis-Wilson’s turn as the “Poor Kid” highlights the desperation felt by those who don’t have the means to shoulder the expenses of college and are overwhelmed by the scarceness of financial aid to help.

Sara Adams shines as the incredibly vapidly self-centered “Rich Kid” who just buys her way out of any and all situations. She even has a butler to feel emotion for her.

However, it is Cameron Tyo as the “Middle Kid” who truly catches out attention. He just wants to go to cooking school and then open a bakery after High School. While his dream is discouraged at every turn, he starts selling his cookies around school and makes enough to convince his detractors that his dream is a valid choice.

The final members of our cast, Terran McCarty & Evan Baldwin as “Keynote Speaker” and “Freshman” do a good job but are barely seen on stage.

So come out and support these youngsters in their quest for answers, and encourage them that their efforts here are worthwhile. Remaining performances are 9 p.m. Thursday, 1:30 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday (Aug. 22-25) at ComedySportz, 721 Massachusetts Ave.

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IndyFringe: Schoolhouse Rock LIVE, Fringe Edition

This show is part of the 15th Annual Indianapolis Theatre Fringe Festival, a/k/a IndyFringe, Aug. 15-25, 2019 on Mass Ave downtown. Info, etc., at www.IndyFringe.org.

By John Lyle Belden

Though this is at Fringe, note this is not a parody or deconstruction or any avant garde thing. This is the stage show based on — and performing — the various educational commercial-length shorts you (or your parents) likely grew up with back in the days of Saturday morning cartoons.

This production is by the energetic and highly-talented teens of CYT Indy (the local chapter of Christian Youth Theater). In the stage show, a young teacher is having trouble sleeping because she is worried about her first day at school. So the denizens of School House Rock come to her in a dream, to show how “learning is power” and that it lies within her, too.

This being a Fringe-length show, there are only several select numbers the kids get to do, but they do them well. And we even get a reference to the Pluto controversy when Interplanet Janet comes flying around.  

Support future artists, enjoy the memories, and maybe learn something. Remaining performances are 6 p.m. Friday and 1:30 p.m. Saturday at The Oasis (Shriners’ entrance of the Murat, on the north side), 502 N. New Jersey St.

 

Bard Fest: What a fool this mortal be to have missed ‘Midsummer’

This show is part of Bard Fest, central Indiana’s annual Shakespeare festival. Info and tickets at www.bardfestindy.com.

By John Lyle Belden

This time, I’m going to do something a little unusual. As you can tell from the amount of postings we’re making at PWJW, there was a lot of theatre opening last weekend. Lost in the shuffle was the Agape Performing Arts Company youth production of Shakespeare’s popular comedy, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” So I didn’t see it, but I do want to say something about it – and recommend it – anyway.

The Agape program is based out of a church, but attracts young performers, 8 to 18, from all over central Indiana. It is “Christian” in its members’ faith, but rather than trying to stage church-sanctioned morality plays, it boldly takes on classic stage works, and lets the moral lessons reveal themselves. Thus they have mounted ambitious productions such as the musicals “Les Miserables” and “Pirates of Penzance.” In a more daring move, they now take on what may be the Bard’s most “Pagan” of his folio.

But I’m sure these kids are doing an excellent job of bringing out, as Shakespeare’s plot does, the fickle humanity of the immortal realm, as well as the human foibles of the people wandering the woods. It will be a valuable experience for them, whether they in coming years become Royalty of the stage, or like the humble Mechanicals, just tread the boards from time to time for fun. It should be a good experience for you the audience, as under able adult supervision and with some big productions under their belts the cast and crew have set themselves an ever-increasing standard of performance.

I spoke with one of the parents recently, who said that they had researched accurate period dances to make the play more authentic. That’s the cool thing about having student actors, we all get to learn something.

And besides, this show is always fun and entertaining – and you get to see someone in a donkey head.

Follow Puck down to the District Theatre (formerly TOTS) at 627 Massachusetts Ave. for performances Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 3:30 p.m.