Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Invisible Theatre takes a trip to Civil War country

By Chastity Eva Laskey Special to the Arizona Daily Star

Invisible Theatre has some old-fashioned romance sprinkled with humor in mind.

The company opens Kenny Finkle’s “Alive and Well” next week. It tells the story of a couple searching for the oldest living Civil War veteran and finding much more than that.

Susan Claassen, director and IT’s managing artistic director, says the play is in the spirit of the golden age of Hollywood’s great romantic comedies, such as “Romancing the Stone” and “African Queen.”

Read the entire review [click here].


Thursday, September 1, 2016

"Coming Apart" review in the Arizona Daily Star

Link to AZ Star 

Tucson's Invisible Theatre starts its season with laughs

Coming Apart
  •     Tim Fuller
"Love and Marriage Go Together Like" …  unless you are romance author Frances Kittridge (Susan Kovitz) and her husband comedy columnist Colin (David Johnston) who are going through a trial separation and division of worldly goods while living in the same NYC apartment!


So she has planned Invisible Theatre’s season accordingly.
“The first couple of shows are lighthearted in what appears to be a challenging fall for the world,” says Claassen, the company’s managing artistic director.
Next week, IT opens its 2016-17 season with Fred Carmichael’s comedy, “Coming Apart.”

At its heart: “Coming Apart is “a romantic comedy of love and marriage, but it also touches on what happens when pride enters a relationship,” says Claassen, who is a member of the cast.

The couple coming apart are both writers who have been married for 21 years. “How do they celebrate each other’s success while still believing in their own,” she says.

About that couple: Colin writes a weekly humor column. Fran writes romance novels, but is about to write one about how to survive a marriage.
Troubled waters: Colin and Fran are competitive. And stubborn. In the heat of a moment, they both demand a divorce.
Neither wants it, but neither is willing to back down. Even their memories presents differences.
“They both remember things a little differently, such as the day of the proposal,” says Claassen.

A little help from friends: Sylvia is Fran’s agent; Bert is Colin’s best friend.
“Everyone tries to get them back together,” says Claassen, who plays Sylvia. “But there some doubts along the way.”

The takeaway: The play has some ideas the audience can chew on.
“That sometimes, for all of us, our pride gets in the way,” says Claassen. “And maybe listening is a lost art, and maybe we should discuss things in a civil way.”
But most of all, she says, “In the end, there are some good laughs.”

Contact reporter Kathleen Allen at
kallen@tucson.com
or 573-4128. On Twitter: @kallenStar


Monday, May 9, 2016

IT Ends Season 45 with a Hit!!!

SNAPPY "PICTURES" HAS NEIL SIMON'S HUMOR AND HEART
Top of the cream actors (from L) Susan Kovitz, David Alexander Johnston and Lucille Petty stir up Invisible Theatre's "I Ought To Be in Pictures."
There was life before cell phones and laptops. We know this because Invisible Theater is playing Neil Simon's “I Ought To Be in Pictures,” with actors using an actual typewriter and a telephone.
Kind of a shock to see, especially that typewriter. So noisy. How can a writer think with all that clatter going on?
No matter. From out of all this low tech chaos, director Susan Claassen and associate director Fred Rodriguez have created a lighter-than-air comedy laced with loving sentiment in a top cream cast of Lucille Petty, David Alexander Johnston and Susan Kovitz.
Simon's play debuted in 1980, telling the story of Herb (Alexander) who ran away from his New York wife and family in the early Sixties, beating the hippies to California and starting his arty life in Los Angeles as a writer for TV and the movies.
The play opens with the arrival at Herb's cluttered West Hollywood bungalow of his feisty 19-year-old daughter Libby (Petty).
 
This is a huge break-out performance for Petty. The role calls for her to enter as a petulant teen angry at this father who abandoned her without a second thought and never made any attempt to stay in touch.
Working her way through fifty shades of outward revenge and hidden remorse, Petty is always completely believable. She does this with a genuine inner energy, the soulful kind, not just a lot of jittery surface body language.
Johnston, for his part, matches her scene for scene as the man who has been her reluctant father for 16 years, feeling guilty but not guilty enough to make amends.
Once the belligerent daughter and this blustering defensive father see each other face to face, you can feel them both begin to change. It isn't something you see, but something you feel out in the audience.
Providing the balance in this ensemble trio is Kovitz as Steffy, the free-love girlfriend of Herb, willing to bide her time without any strings attached. Within the play's plot machinations, she becomes the straight-person for both Libby and Herb.

This is Neil Simon, after all. Jokes are the rye bread and sauerkraut that holds everything together. The lack of a decent delicatessen in Los Angeles becomes a running joke for Herb, ever a New Yorker at heart.
What we get is an evening of excellent theater with lots of bubbly fizz but, down under the ice cubes, a touching insistence on the importance of family.
“I Ought To Be in Pictures” continues through May 1 with performances at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays, at Invisible Theatre, 1400 N. First Ave. An additional 3 p.m. matinee is April 30. All tickets are $30. For details and reservations, 882-9721, or visit invisibletheatre.com