Sunday, February 15, 2004

'<< wink >>' offers an option

Fast-paced show looks at change

The cast of <<wink>> includes Amelia Campbell (foreground) and Kimberleigh Weiss.

If you're looking for an alternative to the same old-same old on area stages, this is the week for you, starting with the return of Playhouse in the Park's alteractive series, six Monday nights what we don't see often enough in Cincinnati.

The series opens with << wink >> , the title of which "has a few jokes in there," says the show's creator, Donny Levit. "The punctuation is old hot mail coding. When you put that in, a lot of e-mail will disappear, and that's what this is about, revealing or disappearing.

"It's about those moments that happen quickly, and disappear quickly, and seem miniscule but are so important. I like the shortness of the word, one syllable, one sound and then it disappears. I'm having fun, but taking it seriously."

Levit started out in garage bands, then decided he wanted to be a theater director and his work reflects the melding of his worlds. When he writes, he says, "there's a pen in my hand and acoustic and electric guitars nearby." He brings "sound and music as an outside eye to witness theater" in all his work.

<< wink >> comprises two urban one-acts with live actors, live sound and the final layer, "a gritty, low-fi film component" that Levit shoots in black-and-white on a Super 8 movie camera.

"It's clean, lean, rich, there's nothing extra," Levit promises. "I can flash by, the audience needs to grab on to it. Don't blink."

Performance at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.), tickets $12, $8 students. Call the Playhouse box office at 421-3888.

Also swimming a little beyond familiar theatrical waters this week:

• Breath, Boom is playwright Kia Corthron's portrait of a young woman trying to grow beyond her girl gang. Corthron's most accessible drama starts a two-week low-budget run at Ensemble Theatre (1127 Vine St.) on Thursday. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 5 and 9 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday through Feb. 28. Tickets $10; call the box office at 421-3555.

• Ghetto at College-Conservatory of Music falls into the category of intriguing work which doesn't get produced because it can't deliver at the box office for a full-length run.

CCM Drama solves that problem by offering a free, one-weekend production in Cohen Family Studio at University of Cincinnati. It's a regional premiere for Joshua Sobol's emotional and electric drama about life - and death - in the Jewish ghetto of Vilna, Lithuania, in 1942. 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 2:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday. Seating is limited, call for reservations at 556-4183 beginning at noon Monday. (Call early; tickets will go fast at this price.)

Jackie Demaline

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