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Story: Two one-act plays comprise the evening of Oh, Hell! The first, Bobby Gould in Hell, is David Mamet’s updating of his character from Speed-the-Plow, fast-talking, slick-dealing huckster Bobby Gould. Here, Gould finds himself in a waiting room outside the flames of hell, trying to negotiate his sentence of eternal damnation within Satan’s tedious bureaucratic system.
Story: John, a professor, is riding high these days. He’s been nominated for tenure at the university where he teaches. Confident that he’ll gain that security, he and his wife have found a new home and are in the process of closing on it.
Way back in the days when I was a lad, Labor Day marked the beginning of the school year. Now, of course, school districts and universities get their fall semesters underway a couple of weeks earlier.
Story: Bobby Gould and Charlie Fox have clawed and scrapped their way through the celluloid jungle known as Hollywood for more than a decade. Now, Bobby has a corner office at a big production company and Charlie has brought him a killer script. It’s by a hot writer named Doug Brown, a ‘buddy movie,’ and Charlie says it’ll make boatloads o’ money for both of them. It’ll also put their names together on the silver screen as producers of this can’t-miss hit.
Story: Mrs. Sorken, title character in the first skit, greets the audience to inform us about protocol and purpose behind the experience of attending the theater. She’s lost her notes, so she relies upon her somewhat scattered memory to give us a quick history about theater, drama and ancient Greeks, and how closely Dramamine is tied to drama. Who knew?
The year 2012 was tumultuous in many respects, so perhaps fittingly Wicked is the title of the production that brings down the curtain on the last 12 months. A record drought plagued the St. Louis area, temperatures sweltered in an elongated summer and the area’s economy staggered toward a slow but steady recovery. All of this took place in the face of impending doom predicted centuries ago by the Mayan calendar.
Story: Chicago’s Clybourne Park neighborhood in 1959 is a fine place to live. But there’s a caveat: You can live there if you look like its white residents. When Russ and Bev put their modest, three-bedroom bungalow up for sale, they’re visited soon after by Russ’ former Rotary pal Karl. As president of the neighborhood association, Karl at first nervously asks the couple to reconsider their sale.
Story: Charles Strickland has been accused of raping a young black woman, and is in need of a defense attorney. He’s already severed connections with a well-known barrister named Goldstein, although who terminated the relationship is in dispute. Now, the wealthy white businessman arrives at the law firm of Brown & Lawson, which is run by the tandem of Jack Lawson, who is white, and Henry Brown, his black partner. They’re assisted by Susan, a young black paralegal who was hired by Jack over Henry’s objections.
THROUGH 3/4 SPIRIT & HISTORY Visit Saint Louis University-Museum of Art and view a wonderful collection of work expressing the plight of African-Americans in American history. The paintings, by Fr. James Hasse and Judge Nathan Young, explore biblical themes and the strife of African- American women. Wednesdays through Sundays. Free. 977-3399 or slu.edu/sluma.xml.
Story: John is on a roll. His book is taught on college campuses, including the one where he lectures as a professor. Further, he’s been recommended for tenure, which comes with a hefty raise that he is using to purchase a bigger home for his wife and son. While on the phone with his wife, he is visited in his office by a timid young under-graduate student named Carol. Confused and distraught, she confesses to her teacher that she doesn’t understand the class he is teaching, despite having read his book and attended all his lectures.
Play: “A Woman’s Place”
Some say that St. Louis in recent years has been experiencing a renaissance in theater, but I’m not entirely sure about that. While matching the second definition of ‘renaissance’ in my Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary as ‘a movement or period of vigorous artistic and intellectual activity,’ it doesn’t necessarily jibe with the third definition of ‘rebirth, revival.’
Play: Glengarry Glen Ross
Play: A Life in the Theater, Lip Service