Standing O begins 2nd season

Introducing little-known plays is continued with spontaneous '52 Pick-Up'

March 22, 2009|By Mary Johnson | Mary Johnson,Special to The Baltimore Sun

After its groundbreaking opening season of three largely undiscovered plays, Standing O Productions has begun its second season with three performances of 52 Pick-Up by T.J. Dawe and Rita Bozi.

This little-known, seldom performed play met Standing O's stated goal of introducing audiences to entertaining, thought-provoking and engaging works not previously done in the area, works that inspire after-performance discussion.

This play, on the last weekend of February, also defined this second season's theme of illustrating what theater is capable of being and doing. In a discussion at the theater after the opening night performance, it was learned that actors Duncan and Dianne Hood had seen 52 Pick-Up in Atlanta and suggested it to Standing O artistic director Ron Giddings, who liked it enough to choose it as this season's opener.

52 Pick-Up uses a clever device of having the cast of two actors toss 52 cards into the air, then pick up each randomly to play the scene dictated, in this case 52 scenes from a relationship. This device lends spontaneity to every performance because the random order of scenes played never follows the chronology of the story, thus challenging the acting duo.

Standing O director Kris Valerio keeps the chaos under control and the spontaneity alive as she maintains clarity in the couple's developing relationship.

Diane Hood proves capable of quicksilver mood changes as "A Woman" who had immersed herself in the cultures of distant lands, where she lived for extended periods.

She then reveals an eagerness to share with her partner her knowledge of foreign languages, her enchantment with astrology and her determination to improve his image by outfitting him in designer sweaters.

Duncan Hood plays "A Man" comfortable with the familiar, resistant to change, who good-naturedly deflects his partner's attempts to change him, thus projecting a familiar kind of Everyman.

Together the Hoods skillfully reveal a spontaneous and constantly changing relationship with pitfalls and rewards that was ultimately destined to fail.

All performances of the current 2009 season will be held at the black box theater of Chesapeake Academy on Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard in Arnold.

A cabaret performance, Every Other Inch a Lady by Debbie Barber-Eaton, is set for April 19, and another cabaret performance, It's not me; It's you with Alicia B. Sweeney and John Halmi, is scheduled for May 16. These recent additions to the schedule will offer a jazz club atmosphere with guests seated at small tables.

On schedule for May 29 to 31 is Edward Albee's Counting the Ways, a 45-minute piece that looks at a couple's relationship, the couple to be played by a total of 10 actors and actresses.

Set for July 10 to 19 is Altar Boyz with Standing O the first community theater to get the rights to this musical parody of boy bands that is still playing Off-Broadway. It will be directed by Jamie Erin Miller, recently nominated as outstanding featured actress by Washington Area Theater Community Honors for her work in Colonial Players' Rabbit Hole last fall.

Sept. 11 to 20 will bring Mr. Marmalad, an edgy, dark comedy about what children pick up from adults in our complex times. Director Ron Giddings said he was captivated by this play when he saw it in New York three years ago.

Standing O's second season will wind up Nov. 13 to 22 with Tracers, a docudrama about Vietnam veterans before, during and after the war. Edd Miller will direct this powerful and challenging piece.

Season subscriptions for adults, seniors, students, teachers and military are now available for all shows. For tickets, check www.standingoproductions.org or call 410-647-8412.

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