The Indiana Repertory Theatre‘s Going Solo Festival in Indianapolis downtown is a smash hit for theatre-goers looking for an open dialogue about theatre. Evident in the extended run of Pretty Fire, the IRT struck artistic gold with a clever and exhilarating festival format. Because I’ve already reviewed each of the selections individually (see reviews for The Year of Magical Thinking and After Paul McCartney), I’ll keep this short.
Seeing theatre in a festival format makes for a very different experience. Taking in a show in the afternoon, dining over great conversation catalyzed by this Indianapolis theatre, heading back to the upper stage of the IRT for another selection and continuing your discussion over drinks, what could be better? By participating in this way with Indianapolis performing arts, one has the impression that it is the end of August and the indyFringe Theatre Festival has taken over Mass Ave. I guess that is what IRT’s artistic director Janet Allen meant when she said they “created the Going Solo Festival to battle the midwinter blues.”
This kind of experience is rare for the Circle City. Theatre junkies in Indy wait all year to see marathon theatre in the end of August. But the concept is one that permeates the entire United States, the entire world. The city comes to life with audiences buzzing about what they’ve just seen and what they plan to see next. The IRT’s move to create a festival of their very own was a welcome interlude to their regular season.
Physically going to the theatre three times in one month, as opposed to once during a six week run, connects audiences to the daily happenings of this equity theatre. In some small way, it puts audiences in touch with the twenty-four/seven work done by the people behind the scenes. The intelligence and hard work of both the IRT’s artistic and production staffs shined in each of the three plays.
Each of selections made by the IRT for the Going Solo festival was vastly different. One presented a young girl challenged to find joy in a difficult world. The next explored the “magical thinking” of a grief-stricken woman. The last offered a buddy/ road comedy that packed a strong and unexpected punch. Each of these life stories grasped at humanity in very different ways, and explained the human condition with incredibly different conclusions. And each kept you thinking as you walked to your car, ordered dinner and went about your life.
If you had a chance to see any part of the Going Solo Festival, please share you thoughts and ideas below. If you haven’t gotten to the IRT yet this month for their Going Solo festival, you still have a chance to see two of the three selections. After Paul McCartney runs through Sunday, March 14, 2010, and three additional performances of Pretty Fire were added Friday, March 19, 2010 through Sunday, March 21, 2010. I urge everyone to engage with this wonderful festival format, and particularly hope the additional performances of Pretty Fire have the audiences such a powerful and joyful show deserves.
Head to Indianapolis downtown for a bit of Indianapolis culture. Grab dinner or drinks at any of these delicious Indianapolis restaurants or Indianapolis bars. Stay tuned for Indianapolis News, Events and Information on Fun City Finder.com for all the latest on fun things to do in Indianapolis. This is Katelyn Coyne saying, “Get out in Indy and find some fun!”
Going Solo Festival
Extended through March 21, 2010
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