Happy 200th birthday, Mr. Dickens!
MADISON — “A Dickens of a Summer” is how Rabbit Run Theater at 5648 W. Chapel Road is describing its summer fare at one of the few remaining barn theaters in Ohio.
The season is opening with a one-man presentation of “The Mystery of Charles Dickens,” and this weekend offers the opportunity to see this show in its first performance outside of Broadway and London’s West End.
Mark Cipra is the actor who brings Mr. Dickens and dozens of other characters to life right before one’s eyes. Cipra, an actor classically educated at Yale and classically trained at Circle-in-the-Square Theater School, boasts experience that most would crave to have under their dramatic belts. His performance left no doubt as to his versatility in portraying a wide range of characters and his ability to convince anyone that he, indeed, is the character in hand at the moment. He puts it all together with voice changes, accent changes, facial and body expressions and hand movements. He successfully introduces a miscellany of characters that will appear in the upcoming shows which will be mounted at RRT.
Nancy Shimonek Brooks directed Cipra in this production. Remembered in an outstanding production of Sr. Aloysius in “Doubt, a Parable”, Shimonek apparently possesses the necessary talents to direct others, also.
The set and costumes aid in the believability of Cipra as Dickens, as has been the wont of those devices for the last several years at RRT.
A good move for high school students and those who study English literature would be to plan several visits to Rabbit Run Theater this summer to see the words on paper come alive, and they should begin with a visit this weekend to learn the names and relationships of those who were created by Dickens as he took on English society, the English educational system, and labor markets. Those who just downright enjoy a good theatrical performance are encouraged to see this superbly acted review of “across the pond” history. There is much more Dickens to come as the summer waxes and wanes.
“The Mystery of Charles Dickens” is solved at RRT tonight and Saturday night at 8.
Tickets for this delightful and educational success may be reserved by phoning the box office at 428-7092.
Happy 200th birthday, Mr. Dickens!
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