Know Theatre’s ‘Skin Tight’ offers passionate look at love

Know Theater Skin Tight Cincinnati’s best off-off-Broadway playhouse, the Know Theatre, opens its 13th season with the intimate, advant-garde play, Skin Tight. Written by New Zealand playwright Gary Henderson and directed by Drew Fracher, the show runs through October 30, 2010.

Skin Tight tells the story of a rural New Zealand couple, Tom and Elizabeth, who relive their love story on stage. From its opening moments, Skin Tight grabs the audience and leads them through a frenzied, passionate dance that refuses to let go. The performance is a heady mix of touching, romantic prose spoken by the duo, coupled with bouts of physical activity: fighting, wrestling, dancing, and loving gestures. The show toes the line between the reality of the couple’s situation and the way they see and view each other.

Director Drew Fracher says, “A friend gave me Skin Tight, knowing my penchant for action and stage combat and suggest that I might like the play. I felt that the Know was the only place in town that fit the style and content best. Thankfully, producing artistic director Eric [Vosmeier] felt the same way. I’m thrilled to have an opportunity to work on such an amazing, theatrical piece.”

Veteran Equity actor Jens Rasmussen (Tom) and local theatre starlet Beth Harris (Elizabeth) commandeer their audience’s attention from the get go. With believable accents and even more convincing love and care for each other, these two actors reveal the inner workings of a relationship that has stood the test of time. From juvenile taunts to real fears and honest wounds, the chemistry between the two on stage draws the viewer in and invites them to experience the same feelings. Their raw, emotional portrayal of a very real, intimate relationship – the combination of trust, pain, passion, laughter, anger, fear, hope – reduced many in the audience to tears by the end of the show.

The sets and lighting, designed by Andrew Hungerford, are simple yet effective, drawing the viewer into rural farmland without distracting from the action. Sound design by Doug Borntrager helps to illustrate the emotions being played out on stage.

This is not an easy show to attend. There is nudity, there is fighting, and it moves at a jarringly quick pace. Basic plot and character development unfolds very slowly, and even at the end the audience may have questions that were not answered.

The experience of this show, however, is completely worth every question and plot twist. In the end, love is a confusing and tricky thing. The heart and soul of Skin Tight is the bond between two ordinary people…people with just enough detail left out to be any one of us.

Let go of your expectations and come along for the ride. Experience the realities of a life well lived and fiercely loved.

Skin Tight plays at the Know Theatre (map) now through October 30.  All tickets can be purchased online, at the Know Theater box office, or by calling (513) 300-5669 for $12 in advance and $15 the week of the performance.  Flexible subscriptions are also available for $48.

Skin Tight Production Dates:
8pm performances: October 9, 14-16, 21- 23, 28-30
3pm performances: October 24 & 30

Know Theatre announces four new productions for 13th season

The innovative and eclectic Know Theatre has announced its “lucky 13” season with four new main stage shows, a new artistic director, and involvement in several educational and outreach oriented collaborations.

The Over-the-Rhine theatre company has a reputation for producing quality shows that stretch the boundaries of traditional theater, and this season is bound to be no different.  In addition to its main productions, the theatre is also involved in the seventh annual Cincinnati Fringe Festival, will host a New Year’s Eve speakeasy party, and is a collaborator for educational shows such as Calculus: The Musical! Three out of the four new main stage shows announced (one is still in the works) range the gamut from a passionate love affair to space and time travel.

Skin Tight, the first show of the 2010-2011 season, is a performance detailing the unique pain and passion that love and loss provides. The production is directed by Drew Fracher and will run from October 9-30.

Skin Tight is a unique piece combining beautifully poetic text with intense physical action on stage,” described newly appointed Producing Artistic Director Eric Vosmeier. “I’m excited to see what Drew can do with this kind of show which I suspect will be unlike anything Know Theatre audiences have seen on our stage before.”

Vosmeier helped steer the theatre through a turbulent time last season, and is excited to see where the Know is headed in the future. Productions such as the theatre’s holiday show, A Wrinkle in Time which is a stage adaptation of Madline L’Engle’s classic book, help to stir that excitement. Jason Ballweber will return from his wildly popular Sideways Stories From Wayside School production last year to lead Meg and Charles Wallace through space in time to save their father. The show will be produced in collaboration with the Four Humors Theater in Minneapolis.

The final show of the season, The Dragon, will be produced alongside Madcap Puppet Theater, another local institution. Local playwright and actor Alison Vodnoy will be adapting the 1943 version of the play. With the exception of two characters the cast will be entirely puppets, created, designed and built at the Madcap Theatre. Experienced puppet theatre director Irina Niculescu will be directing.

A Wrinkle in Time runs November 27 through December 26, 2010, and The Dragon will run from April 2 through May 7, 2011. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling the Know Theatre box office at (513) 300-5669. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 the week of the show, and season subscriptions cost $48.

Know Theatre to host 2nd Annual Derby Day Party – 5/1

The Know Theatre will host their second annual Derby Day Party at Sycamore Place in downtown Cincinnati this Saturday, May 1 from 4pm to 7pm. The party will also celebrate the Know Theatre’s 12th Season, and will help raise money for the non-profit theatre in historic Over-the-Rhine.

According to event organizers, the Derby Day Party has a $15 suggested donation and will include a live viewing of the race, bourbon tasting and mint juleps. There will also be prizes awarded for the three best hats and for those picking the horses that place in the 136th Annual Kentucky Derby. Raffle tickets purchased for the horse placing competition will have all proceeds go to benefit the Know Theatre.

The event will be held in the lobby of Sycamore Place at St. Xavier Park (map) in downtown Cincinnati. The location is served by on- and off-street automobile parking, nearby bicycle parking and Metro bus service (plan your trip).

Fringe Festival party at the Know Theatre – 3/13

The Know Theatre is hosting a launch party for the Fringe Festival’s new website, and will be making several important festival announcements this Saturday, March 13. “Fringe for a Night” will get started at 6pm with happy hour drinks, followed by the debut of the new CincyFringe.com at 6:45pm, a special encore performance of David Gaines’ wildly popular 7(x1) Samurai at 7:30pm which will be followed by more socializing and drinks.

The new website was designed by Matt Steffen of Enin Productions and built by Shawn Mummert of Cincinnati Creative Partners.

“We’ve needed a website overhaul for a while. The stars finally aligned when Shawn and Matt agreed to help create a new site for us. They are both amazing at what they do and have been so generous with their time on this project. I’m so pleased to have them as a part of our Community,” says managing artistic director, Eric Vosmeier.

The launch party and Fringe Festival line-up announcement is free and open to the public, but tickets will be required for the encore performance of 7(x1) Samurai which was one of the most attended shows in Fringe Festival history and winner of the 2009 Critic’s Pick award.

“I had the greatest time at the Cincy Fringe Festival last summer,” says David Gaines. “So when Eric Vosmeier called me in DC to ask if I would come back for one special performance only, I said I’d be delighted to. I’m looking forward to a return engagement in the city that brought me the warmest and fullest audiences of my whole year’s touring.”

Tickets for 7(x1) Samurai are $12 in advance, $15 the day of the show and can be purchased online or by calling the Know Theatre (map) at (513) 300-5669.

Know Theater’s “Add1ng Mach1ne” musical a haunting hit

The Know Theater of Cincinnati’s third production of the 2009-2010 season, Add1ng Mach1ne: A Mus1cal opened Saturday to a sold out crowd. A re-imagination of Elmer Rice’s 1923 play, the musical makes tremendous use of the theater’s unique space by placing the audience on three sides of the stage, allowing the actors to freely roam the aisles, and situating the ensemble behind the stage but within view.

Slowly building into a melodic cacophony of numbers, the musical’s first piece immediately grabs the audience’s attention with its monotonous and hypnotizing trance. Playing off the theme of repetition, the musical captures the banality of Mr. Zero (played by Robert Pavlovich), whose only excitement comes in the form of the temptation of a beautiful young co worker (played by Liz Vosmeier).

After brilliantly depicting the essence of Mr. Zero’s mundane employment, the musical explores themes of appearance and superficiality, technology and obsolesce, predictability and sudden change, and crime and justice.

Add1ng Mach1ne runs through March 6. Tickets are only $12 for each show this season thanks to the generosity of the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr. US Bank Foundation. Tickets can be purchased online, or by calling the Know Theatre box office at (513) 300-5669.

Before the show, grab a drink with friends at the theater’s great bar, or visit Senate which opens Friday, February 19! Parking around the Know Theater (map) is abundant, but several bus lines eliminate the need to drive entirely. Check out Metro’s trip planner, and input “1120 Jackson Street” as the destination.

“Robert Pavlovich as Zero” photo by Deogracias Lerma