Indianapolis New Art Theatre
Directed by Marc Szewczyk
Through July 17
New theaters continue to form in Indianapolis, and one of the latest had its inaugural production last weekend: The Indianapolis New Art Theatre produced Eighteen in the Chatham Center, formerly the LAMP Gallery. The script, about gourmet food and incest (think Like Water for Chocolate), is rather predictable, and touches on themes that are not then explored. When 17-year-old Christine comes to stay with her aunt and uncle, Marie and Dan, she brings out desires in both relatives. Beyond the expected sexual tension, Christine may or may not be cutting herself, is dealing with the death of her mother and has body issues that finally explode but are never dealt with. These elements make cameo appearances, but then fall to the wayside by the play's conclusion. The relationship between Dan and Marie is also not delved into.
But a cast can't be held responsible for script issues. As it is, they play their parts straight. Katherine Hannigan is the young and troubled Christine. Hannigan's character is a believable 17-year-old, dealing with issues she isn't mature enough to comprehend. Her forays into the kitchen at night produce symbolic clues about what is going on in the house. Victoria Smith as Aunt Marie and Phil Kaster as Uncle Dan seem at first to be a typical, loving couple. In the end, Dan's confrontation with his emotions comes across as more believable than Marie's, who unveils thoughts more likely to be those of a jealous or insecure wife - something that is only slightly hinted at. But both actors give very natural performances.
Marc Szewczyk's direction utilizes the small and sparse performing area to its best effect, creating spaces for the action. Touches like the trajectory of a flashlight also help to clue the audience into what is going on.
The show is an hour and a half with no intermission, and the theater is not marked, so Mapquest is your friend if you haven't been to this building before.
Eighteen continues though July 17 at 901 N. East St. The performance is for adult audiences. Show times are Thursdays-Sundays at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15, $10 students/seniors. Call 250-1357 or go to www.IndyNewArt.org.