Theatre Project lightens up for the coming season


Solo performances, a chamber opera, dance are on tap for 2002-2003

Theater Column

July 11, 2002|By J. Wynn Rousuck | J. Wynn Rousuck,SUN THEATER CRITIC

One-person shows, chamber operas and aerial dance will be included in the 2002-2003 Theatre Project season.

"There's a lot of lighthearted work in this season, not a lot of dark stuff, because I just want to bring folks in and reacquaint them with what we do," said producing director Anne Canter Fulwiler, who also emphasized the continuing "adventurous spirit" of the avant-garde venue.

Commenting on the fact that half of the six-show season consists of solo performance pieces, Fulwiler said, "I think in many cases they're the freest people to try and push those theater boundaries. You can say and do as much with simply yourself and your body that will shock, amaze, delight as any huge spectacle."

An added feature of these solo shows will be a series of workshops given by each of the performers. Focusing on writing comedy, poetry or narratives, the daytime workshops will be open to the public.

Here's the subscription lineup:

Eleven Ex-Boyfriends Defend their Actions (Oct. 17-27). Created and performed by Karen Gray, an actor and comedian based in Harrisburg, Pa., this commentary examines "sexual politics and how we make decisions and how women are seen in our society," according to Fulwiler. "It's a little bit dark, or actually off-color."

Essential Personnel (Nov. 14-24). After a year's postponement, spoken-word artist Al Letson will at last bring his hip-hop take on incarceration and the African-American male to Baltimore.

I Tried to Be Normal (Dec. 12-22). In this autobiographical piece, Frannie Sheridan, a comic actress from Vancouver, relates her experiences growing up Catholic, the daughter of German refugees who hid their identity as Jewish Holocaust survivors.

Berlin and Munich. (Jan. 24-Feb. 2). The Peabody Chamber Opera will present a double bill of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's satirical Mahagonny Songspiel and Udo Zimmerman's Weisse Rose, about two Munich students who led a Christian, anti-Hitler resistance organization.

Roxi Starr in 3-D With Elvis (March 27-April 13). Built around the character of the lounge singer who appeared in her previous show, Maryland-based Susan Mele will perform this comic piece with a full cast.

Air Dance Bernasconi (April 24-May 4). Led by Jayne Bernasconi, a member of the dance faculty at Towson University, this troupe uses trapezes and other types of rigging to dance through the air.

In addition to these six productions, the Theatre Project will also present various special attractions throughout the season including: the High Zero Festival (Sept. 26-29), an international celebration of improvised experimental music; Magi Ross and Moving Spirit Dance Collective (Sept. 21-22), a new local African-American company; a poetry reading series (Oct. 9, 29 and Nov. 6), co-sponsored with the Maryland Institute College of Art and Link magazine and featuring such poets as Michael Collier and Galway Kinnell; and a series of works by solo female performers (Feb. 7-March 23), sponsored by Towson University's graduate theater program and featuring, among others, Eva Magyar of Hungary and Joan Schirle of California.

Finally, as part of Baltimore's Vivat! St. Petersburg festival, the theater will offer a selection of Russian folktales (Feb. 15, 22 and March 1), produced by Silver Spring's International Stanislavsky Theater Studio.

Subscriptions to the six-show main season cost $60 and go on sale Aug. 1. The free pass-the-hat night will move to the second Thursday of each two-week engagement. For more information, call 410-752-8558 or visit

Essential Shakespeare

In Shakespeare's Henry V, when the title character exhorts his men, "Once more onto the breach, dear friends," you probably picture legions of soldiers preparing to do battle. But when the famed history play opens a four-performance run at Cockpit in Court on Saturday, there will be just one person on stage - Tyrus Lemerande.

A 1994 Naval Academy graduate who resigned his commission in 1999 to study acting, Lemerande created his 75-minute, one-man adaptation of Henry V - subtitled, "A Little Touch of Harry in the Night" - as his 2002 master's thesis at Pennsylvania State University.

"The adaptation is based around the premise that Henry and the Chorus, who comes in at the beginning of each of the five acts in Shakespeare's play, ... are the same person, that the Chorus is an aging version of the king trying to regain his youth, much like an athlete who returns for one last time in the sun," said Lemerande, who has reduced Shakespeare's cast of three dozen to six.

"The way that it's set up is that the old king comes in at the beginning of the play and basically implores the audience to help him remember this time when he was all powerful and was the younger, more valiant, more charming, more dashing version of himself," he continued, adding that he concludes the play at the battle of Agincourt.

Lemerande, 32, had planned to take his production to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival later this summer but instead was hired by Shenandoah Shakespeare Express right out of grad school. He is currently rehearsing three roles with the Virginia-based touring company - the title role in Coriolanus, Lucentio in The Taming of the Shrew and Ferdinand in The Tempest.

A tragedy, a comedy and a romance. It's a nice range, but there's a history play that he yearns to star in - with a complete cast, that is. "One of my great desires is to be in Henry V," Lemerande said. "I'm waiting for the opportunity when I can actually play it in a full-fledged production."

Henry V will be performed in the Studio Theatre in the Humanities & Arts Building at on the Essex campus of the Community College of Baltimore County, 7201 Rossville Blvd. Show times are 8 p.m. July 13 and 20, and 2 p.m. July 14 and 21. Tickets are $10. For more information call 410-780-6369.

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