“Speech and Debate” – the Stage Play

The Phoenix Theatre in Indianapolis downtown continues its winning season with yet another notable contemporary comedy. Stephen Karam’s Speech and Debate graces the Phoenix Theatre Stage May 20 through June 27 in the Indianapolis cultural district Mass Ave. This quirky comedy about three high school outcasts stars three real life students from Butler University. Tickets range from $15.00 to $20.00 depending on show date. Show times run Thursday through Sunday. Don’t miss the latest Indianapolis theatre offering from the Phoenix Theatre in Indianapolis downtown.

Speech and Debate is the debut play from contemporary playwright Stephen Karam. It premiered in a workshop production at Brown’s Trinity Playwrights Repertory Theatre in Providence, Rhode Island in 2006 before heading to Off-Broadway’s Roundabout Underground Theatre in 2007. Since its premiere only four short years ago, Speech and Debate has enjoyed production across the United States.

Though the title sounds dull and the synopsis sounds trite, this story about three high school misfits who form their school’s first debate club offers brilliant insight with fresh comedy. Howie, Soloman and Diwata are teenagers in Salem Oregon. When they discover their connection to a sex scandal that has rocked their town, they set out to expose the truth. When secrets become a form of currency in their crazy little world, the stakes grow bigger and bigger. A frumpy girl, a nerdy guy and an openly gay teen, played by Butler Theatre students Kelli Johnson, Mark Presto and Matt Van Oss, band together to disclose the truth about a teacher who preys on his male students.

As Karam cleverly balances a picture of late adolescence and adulthood, he aptly pairs grown up ideas with childish will and bravado. With the popularity of the hit television show “Glee” on the rise, it seems this story of teenage ambition is a timely addition to the Phoenix Theatre’s season. Sex, secrets and performance art video blogs with a George Michael beat collide in the Phoenix Theatre’s Indianapolis performing arts production of Speech and Debate.

See it May 20 through June 27 at the Phoenix Theatre downtown. Don’t miss the show Variety described as “Bristling with vitality, wicked humor and terrific dialogue.” Tickets are $15.00 on Thursdays and Sundays and $20.00 on Fridays and Saturdays.

Before the Speech and Debate at the Phoenix Theatre, treat yourself and a date to dinner at any of these terrific Indianapolis restaurants. Try Agio’s Italian Restaurant for an upscale dining experience or Yats Cajun Restaurant for some affordable spicy cuisine. Split a pizza at Bazbeaux Pizza or for some Mediterranean flair try Aesop’s Tables. After the show, discuss your own horrifying high school memories for a laugh over drinks at any of these refreshing Indianapolis bars. Make your outing in Indianapolis nightlife complete!

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Speech and Debate
May 20 through June 27, 2010

The Phoenix Theatre
749 North Park Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46202