Theater Critic Picks
From outdoor spaces to TV screens, there are lots of ways to enjoy new work this month. But if you're feeling nostalgic, there are also two more familiar titles — though they are polar opposites in terms of content (witches versus Jesus).
Here are five local shows to watch this month:
Odes for a World In Search of Joy
Amphibian Stage, streaming now
Inspired by Pablo Neruda’s Odes to Common Things, Amphibian Stage has commissioned Texas artists of all disciplines to create performance works that celebrate simple, human-made objects. These short films include music, movement, animation, and more as the creators rediscover the beauty of not-so-ordinary trinkets, baubles, and tools.
Ghosts in the Kitchen: Idle Spirit
Ochre House Theatre, streaming May 6-16
The avant garde Deep Ellum troupe has created a new series of storytelling through virtual theater, as written and told by core company members Carla Parker, Justin Locklear, Kevin Grammer, and Matthew Posey, filmed and directed by Josh Jordan, and with music by Locklear and Sarah Rubio-Rogerson. Next up is Idle Spirit, written and performed by Locklear, an engaging story of a man in a kitchen full of telephones, seeking voices of affirmation and understanding to end his surreal crisis of identity.
Cotton Patch Gospel
The Firehouse Theatre, May 7-23
Based on the book The Cotton Patch Version of Matthew and John by Clarence Jordan, Cotton Patch Gospel is presented in a setting of rural Georgia with country music songs, the final and perhaps best work of Harry Chapin. As this Gospel begins, they sing that "Somethin's a-brewin' in Gainesville." Herod is the mayor of Atlanta and, inevitably, Christ is killed by locals only to rise again. The production will be held outdoors in The Firehouse Theatre backlot.
Bell, Book, and Candle
Mainstage Irving-Las Colinas, streaming May 7-22
In a world where witches can’t fall in love, Gillian Holroyd complicates her situation by casting a spell over Shepherd Henderson out of spite. When he falls head over heels in love with her, Gillian must choose whether to love a mortal, or lose him entirely. This successful play from the 1950s inspired the popular television show Bewitched.
The Architect and the Emperor of Assyria
Fort Worth Community Arts Center, May 7-28
This play by Fernando Arrabal challenges the audience's notion that ethics and justice are undermined by human weakness, as the main character imparts the notion of morality in an attempt to "civilize" the sole inhabitant of a desert island. The production will take place outdoors in the shaded circle drive in front of the Fort Worth Community Arts Center.