ATNU’s “Children of an Idle Brain” blurs the definition of reality

By Ande Jacobson

Each summer, A Theatre Near You takes an aspiring group of teen actors bent on pursuing careers in theatre or film, sometimes supplemented by a few strategically cast older actors, and presents an original work designed for the cast to experience, explore, and expand their theatrical awareness and depth. This year’s offering, Children of an Idle Brain, takes these eager thespians across the boundary between real and surreal. Playwright Tony Kienitz’s script begs the questions, what is reality? Are dreams real? Can one trust their perceptions? And finally, is there any crossover between one’s dreams and one’s waking life? Continue reading

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‘Lord of the Flies’ reveals the savageness within us

By Ande Jacobson

A Theatre Near U tackles the stage adaptation of William Golding’s classic novel, Lord of the Flies, a story touching on timeless themes showing just how tenuous a thing civilization can be. Golding’s novel was published in 1954, a time of high tension in various parts of the world. He’s quoted as saying that writing this story was “like lamenting the lost childhood of the world.” He knew of whence he wrote having lived through both world wars, served in the Royal Navy in WWII, and spent several years as a schoolmaster. As such, he was well-versed in the fortitude and foibles of humanity overall, and of schoolboys in particular. Continue reading

Exploring the beautiful glass of life

George & JustinBy Ande Jacobson

Have you ever considered how one might cure intentional death? That’s an odd way to put it – intentional death. That might bring suicide to mind, but as Justin Capps (Atticus Shaindlin) explains to George (Emily Liberatore),

“Suicide implies a crime …. It’s [intentional death] not a crime. Almost every time, it’s an illness that causes the act. I’m trying to cure it.”

Curing intentional death requires examining what’s behind it, which of course means exploring the attitudes and actions surrounding mental illness. That’s the central theme in A Theatre Near U’s world premiere of Tony Kienitz’s new musical, A Beautiful Glass, and it is, in a word, smashing. Continue reading