Local Theater Watch


— Ryan Beltram, EDN

There’s a pair of new movies and plays opening at the end of the week. At the Bijou and David Minor, two Oscar-winning films debut while in local theater, two well-known plays begin: a famous story about a future society without books and a play about a college graduate trying to make it New York City with the help of some puppets.

At the Bijou:

A Separation: Drama – 2011 – 123 Min – Rated PG-13. Starts on Friday, March 2 at 4:45 and 7:25 pm.

An Iranian family facing separation.

WInner for Best Foreign Language Feature at this year’s Academy Awards, A Separation follows an Iranian family dealing with the impending end of a marriage. Nader and Simin argue about leaving Iran. Simin wishes to leave in order to provide better opportunities for their only daughter, Termeh. But Nader refuses to leave his father who has Alzheimer’s.

Simin decides to file for divorce from Nader but her request is denied. Unable to remain in their home, Simin stays with her parents but Termeh decides to stay with her father and grandfather. Without a wife, Nader hires a young woman to help take care of his father. But when he discovers that the woman has been lying to him, he realizes that there is more on the line than just his marriage and ill father.

Still Playing at the Bijou:

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Showing at 5:20 and 8 pm Friday. Additional showing at 2:35 Saturday and Sunday.

Le Havre: Final two showings on Saturday and Sunday at 12:30 pm.

At David Minor:

Hugo: Drama – 2011 – 126 Min – Rated PG. Opens on Thursday, March 1 at 5:10 pm.

Winner of five Academy Awards at this year’s Oscars, albeit in technical categories, Hugo is somewhat of a departure for director Martin Scorsese. Known more for his violent dramas and music documentaries, Hugo is a family film about an orphan boy living in a train station in 1930s Paris.

With an ability to fix clocks and other gadgets, a trait he learned from his father and uncle, Hugo has one thing left to fix; his father’s automaton. In order for it to work, Hugo must find its heart-shaped key. While on his mission, he meets a girl who also has an eye for adventure. But he must deal with her father and a pesky station inspector while attempting to track down the key.

Still Playing at David Minor:

Moneyball: Showing at 5:10 pm Thursday, March 1-7.

50/50: Showing at 7:30 pm March 1-7.

Drive: Showing at 9:20 pm  March 1-7.

Midnight in Paris: Showing at 7:30 pm March 1-7.

The Rum Diary:  Showing at 9:20 pm March 1-7.

In professional theater this week, two popular and highly anticipated plays begin.

Beginning on Friday March 2, the Lord Leebrick Theatre will present the dystopian story Fahrenheit 451. Written as a novel in the early 1950s by Ray Bradbury, 451 presents a frightening future world where reading is not allowed.

A dystopian society where books are banned.

The story follows Guy Montag, a fireman who seems to spend more time starting fires than putting them out. He lives in a society where television has taken over as a main source of entertainment. Books have been deemed a negative influence on society and thus have been banned.

But on one particular day with the other firemen ransacking the book-filled house of an old woman, Montag accidentally reads a line from one her books. Upon reading this line, Montag steals one of the books. He wonders why people feel that books are so valuable and essential that they would die for them. Ignoring the rules by which he is forced to uphold, Montag decides to read the book and interpret it on his own. But by doing so, he may be risking his life.

Whether viewed as a story about censorship or simply a work of good science fiction, 451 is an interesting and essential book to read so I’m interested in how the story will be translated to the stage.

The first two shows of Fahrenheit 451 will be on Friday and Saturday at 8 pm. Tickets are $30.

If you missed Lord Leebrick’s production of Avenue Q last fall, here’s your chance to see it again. The Actors Cabaret will debut their production of the Tony Award-Winning play on March 2.

Recent college graduate Princeton has moved to a somewhat poor area in New York City. Facing the daunting task of finding a job with a B.A. in English, Princeton finds comfort in the odd neighbors that live in his apartment. There’s Kate Monster, a good-hearted  kindergarten assistant, Rod and Nicky, a comedian named Brian and his fiancée, Christmas Eve, and Trekkie Monster, a puppet with a lot of interests on the internet.

Mixing real people and puppets, Avenue Q is a funny and clever play about characters trying to find their way in life. The first two shows will be Friday and Saturday at 8 pm. Tickets are $16 to $27; $41.50 for dinner and show.

Plays still in production:

Great Expectations: Showing on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm at the Academy of Arts and Academics. Tickets are $5.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee: Showing on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm at Churchill High School. Tickets are $12.

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