Tuesday, April 17, 2012

KSU's Roe Green Visting Director's Series


Local arts patron and activist Roe Green is at it again! Much of Cleveland theatre is stamped with the Roe Green tag. She’s the sponsor of the Cleveland Critic’s Circle’s ClevelandTheaterReviews.com. She’s the fairy godmother to the Kent State University’s theatre program, as her foundation recently built their new theatre and dance center. She serves on the KSU Foundation, School of Theatre and Dance and Porthouse Theatre’s Advisory Boards. She serves on the board of The Cleveland Play House and has been the honorary producer for their Fusion Fest. She sponsored the theatre program at the Jewish Community Center for many years. She has also donated to other area theatres.

Her latest foray into the arts is KSU’s Roe Green Visiting Director’s Series which brings in a playwright to work with students and create an original theatre piece. This year’s director/playwrite is Ami Dayan. Dayan, who has studied and worked professionally in the U.S., Europe and Israel, was recently commissioned by The Denver Center Theatre Company and the Colorado Shakespeare Festival to craft new works. He is the president of Maya Productions, an independent theatre company (see www.mayaproductionsinc.com).

Dayan has adapted Gotthold Ephraim Lessing’s 1779 literary masterpiece NATHAN THE WISE, one of the earliest pieces celebrating religious tolerance into a play with music. In actuality, it is a full-ledged musical drama. The script is a plea for religious tolerance between Judaism, Islam and Christianity.

The KSU production succeeds on many levels. It is entertaining, tells its tale in an audience involving mode, and has some interesting, if not memorable music. As is the case with any work-in-progress, it needs some tweeking.

The student cast members do a nice job of developing their roles. The singing is generally very good, the musical sounds enhanced the show supporting rather than drowning out the performers.

Again, thanks to Beachwood High School grad Roe Green for her continued support of the arts.