Two great plays, two brief runs — Proof and The School for Lies
It’s a rainy and/or muggy weekend, perfect for an immersive theater experience.
In addition to the big companies’ productions Sex with Strangers and Marie Antoinette running into August, you can catch two first-rate shows for a fraction of the ticket price — but for limited runs; one, this weekend only.
Founded in March this year, Innovocative Theatre is living up to its catchy portmanteau with the game-changing, thought-provoking drama, Proof, at Stageworks. David Auburn’s Pulitzer Prize- and Tony-winning script delves into issues of mental illness and family while attempting to come up with the truth behind the authorship of a revolutionary mathematical proof.
The show features stage powerhouse Dennis Duggan in the lead with impressive co-stars Marie-Claude Tremblay, Devin Devi, and Staci Sabarsky.
According to the Tampa Bay Times’ Andrew Meacham, New York native/Dunedin High grad Staci Sabarsky founded Innovocative Theatre was established by, who directed a well-received one-woman show at the recent Tampa International Fringe Festival, Dark Vanilla Jungle. The 48-year-old theater professional told Meacham: “I think there’s a niche for more edgy, thought-provoking, controversial scripts, which is the kind of thing I’m going for now,” and of Proof’s continued impact and appeal, “I think people are a lot more open about neurodiverse issues than they were 10 or 15 years ago. The fact that people are talking about it makes this play even more relevant.”
According to Broadwayworld.com, Innovocative will partner with the Hillsborough chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) by hosting a talkback session with chapter president Karen Fredricks and Dr. Marketa Wills after the July 23 performance. A young man who has struggled with mental illness will also be part of their panel discussion.NAMI information will be in the lobby during the run of the show.
Proof runs Friday through July 30 at 1120 E Kennedy Blvd., Suite 151, Tampa. Tickets are $30-$35; $25 seniors and student and military discount tickets are $20. Call (813) 374-2416 or visit stageworkstheatre.org for more information.
One of the most intriguing and groundbreaking playwrights of our time will be featured this weekend only in Clearwater in a production directed by Pinellas’ most beloved and accomplished theater vets, Susan Demers.
West Coast Players will be staging The School for Lies by the inimitable iconoclast David Ives Saturday night and Sunday afternoon at its U.S. 19 theater. Ives’ farce, set in Paris of 1666, follows Celimene, an attractive young window being sued for satire, who lives of the favors of suitors and avoids romantic commitment, but that changes with the arrival of Frank, a traveler from England whose clever wit and gift for gab catches her attention. According to WCP, “this very clever farce is written in contemporary couplets (some of which morph into rap) and is based on Molière’s The Misanthrope.” It begs the question, “Just how much truth or plain speaking can any of us stand — can society stand?” Timely indeed.
Founded in 1994, West Coast Players formed in Oldsmar by a group of actors. They performed one show there and in 1995 they moved to the Civic Center in Clearwater Beach, before returning to Oldsmar in 1996. After a series of temporary stints, it opened its own 100-seat theater in central Clearwater in December 2008.
The School for Lies runs July 22-23, Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2. Tickets are $15. Students pay $10. West Coast Players Theatre is at 21905 U.S.-19 N., Clearwater. Call (727) 437-2363 for more info.