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Free Night of Theater: Week 4 Shows
by Stephen Becker 26 Oct 2009

This is the fourth week to reserve tickets for Free Night of Theater. This year, 25 Dallas-area theaters are participating in the program.


freenightThis Free Night of Theater thing is really catching on – all of the tickets for this weekend’s shows were snapped up in less than 15 minutes! If you are planning on attending the free performance or want to buy a seat to another date, check out guide below for information on this week’s shows.

This is the fourth week to reserve tickets for Free Night of Theater. This year, 25 Dallas-area theaters are participating in the program.

This is the second year for the ticket giveaway, which is run through the Dallas Office of Culture Affairs.

On Mondays, you will be able to reserve tickets for shows coming up the following weekend. For shows beyond that weekend, you will need to wait until the Monday before those shows to reserve those tickets. Tickets will be available on five consecutive Mondays.

If you would like to reserve tickets, log on to the Free Night of Theater Web site at noon on Monday to make your picks.

We’ll be doing our best to help you chose the show that’s right for you. We’ve asked participating theaters to send us a guide to the shows that they are offering, and we’ll post them in this space as they come in.

Here is a list of shows opening this week. After that, you’ll find guides to future shows.


Show: A Lie of the Mind
Theater: Second Thought Theatre
Free Night Date(s): Oct. 29, Oct. 30
The story: Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Sam Shepard shows us the aftermath of a romance torn asunder by spousal abuse and the war that breaks out between their two families. A Lie of the Mind depicts the many ways that our heads protect us from our hearts.
Back-stage access: This will be the fist show in a couple of years that is not produced in a naturalistic style. Come and watch Second Thought Theatre stretch our creative muscles!
This show’s for you if you like: Edgy, character-driven drama

Show: Premiere!
Theater: Rover Dramawerks
Free Night date(s): Oct. 29, 30 and 31 and Nov. 5, 6 and 7 at 8 p.m.; Nov. 7 at 2 p.m.
The story: A comic look at the petty tyranny of fame from the creator of one of the most famous of petty tyrants. Gil is the comedic playwright of his day, doomed to hit after hit, when he just wants to be taken seriously, darkly, academically. Like…dare he say it? The Bard. A hilarious series of events leads to the discovery of a “new” long lost tragedy by, ahem, William Shakespeare. When does a forgery become art itself? Is truth absolute or a function of aspiration, democracy … and marketing?
Back-stage access: This script mirrors the convergence of real issues and events in Wasserman’s life, especially as it neared its end. Best known for the Tony Award-winning Man of La Mancha, a musical so popular that several productions are running worldwide right this moment, he saw that work as well as most of his other successes as the virtue of the individual against the system, the state, the church and even against fate itself. Usually it’s easy to sympathize with the poor, struggling and failed. So imagine the irony of having lunch with one of the most successful comedic writers of all time 25 years ago to find out he felt trapped and a failure, unable to produce “serious, impacting works.” We’d promised to protect the writer’s name until Martha Wasserman, the playwright’s widow, gives the “ok” – but three Broadway hits in a row kind of narrows it down, eh? To think of this successful writer as trapped is staggering. And there’s only one more powerful name in the world that could do it. Yep, The Bard Himself.
Back-stage access 2: Our leading man has just appeared on the back page of Parade magazine on behalf of Nutrisystem!
This show’s for you if you like: Intelligent comedy with fun characters. And you Don’t need any Cliff’s Notes about Shakespeare either!

Show: Talk Radio
Theater: Upstart Productions in conjunction with Project X: Theatre
Free Night date(s): Oct. 29, 30 and 31 and Nov. 5, 6, 7 and 8
The story: Barry Champlain is Cleveland’s most popular and controversial talk radio host: the outspoken pundit everyone loves to hate. Every night, he holds the looking glass up to the listeners of Night Talk, exposing America’s flaws and blemishes with stinging indictments of the status quo, much to the entertainment of his audience and the corporate brass at Metroscan Broadcasting, who want to bring his show into national syndication. Nominated for the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and revived with great success on Broadway in 2007, this is a scathing look at contemporary American culture that is as shocking and compelling today as it was two decades ago.
Back-stage access: Following the performance – an Upstart Productions exclusive screening! Talk Radio: Life After Death: The 25th Anniversary of the Assassination of Alan Berg, an Interview with Judith Lee Berg and Stephen Singular, author of Talked To Death: The Murder of Alan Berg and the Rise of the Neo-Nazis, the book that inspired the 1988 film Talk Radio directed by Oliver Stone.
This show’s for you if you like: Network with Peter Finch and Faye Dunaway; Bill Maher; Alex Jones; Michael Moore; Larry King; Howard Stern; Reality TV

Show: Theatre of Death
Theater: MBS Productions
Free Night date(s): Oct. 22 28 at 8 p.m.
The story: An evening of seven short plays dating back to the Middle Ages linked by one common thread: Death! Laugh, cry, and be startled and scared as we present a collection of black humor plays dealing with this timeless subject. A woman ironing reveals a secret involving the shirt she is pressing; four inept and clumsy people are trapped and they only have 13 minutes to figure out how they will survive; two brothers share a unique bond that will lead one to murder; a man discovers his wife is having affairs with three different men and decides to confront them.
Back-stage access: Some of the material was so controversial and edgy that actors who came to audition and read the scripts immediately backed out. Curiously enough, some of the plays that caused the most reaction were written in the 1600’s!
This show’s for you if you like: dark-humored plays.

Also playing this week:


Show: Blue Beach
Theater: Teatro Dallas
Free Night date(s): Nov. 5 at 8:15 p.m. and Nov. 6 at 8:15 p.m.
The story: In celebration of Days of the Dead and Halloween, we are presenting Blue Beach, a play that takes place in an unkempt old hotel in the Southern coasts of Mexico. The father of a family, an engineer and a politician, has invited his family to inform them of a problem that affects both the hotel and the family. When he presents them with a plan to save them and the hotel, this invitation opens doors that will reveal some of the family’s darkest secrets. Blue Beach is presented in English.
Back-stage access: Blue Beach is a work of fantasy, a mystery reminding us of the haunting literature of Mexican writer Juan Rulfo.
This show’s for you if you like: Mystery, suspense and stories about the underworld.