Want to get a step ahead of audiences for the 2005 Cincinnati Fringe Festival? (See story on page 39.) This weekend is your chance, thanks to THE PERFORMANCE GALLERY. They´re staging Georg B´chner´s classic play, WOYZECK, written in 1836-37 (and inspired by an 1822 court case in Germany). The unfinished work (it´s 25 fragmented scenes, because B´chner died at the age of 23 before completing it) is often considered the first modern tragedy: The title character is a loser, an ordinary soldier unable to support his common law wife and illegitimate son, victimized by others around him and driven to a final tragic act. Alban Berg turned it into an opera (called Wozzeck) in 1922, and Tom Waits made it into a Rock musical in 2002. Directed by Brian Robertson, the cast is led by Michael Bath in the title role and includes Aretta Baumgardner, Giles Davies, Nathan Gabriel, Darryl Hilton, Jodie Linver, Sarah Mann and Nathan Singer. Performance Gallery believes this production is the play´s local, if not regional, premiere. Woyzeck takes on added interest because it´s the inspiration for Performance Gallery´s Fringe Festival offering, Woyzecked and Left for Dead, a collaborative creation. Seeing Woyzeck this weekend (it continues through March 26 at the Columbia Performance Center, 3900 Eastern Ave., Columbia-Tusculum) then catching the Fringe performance will give you a glimpse of how performance artists take original material and evolve it into a contemporary script, a response to issues of same-sex relationships, the effects of war and alienation in general. Info: 513-205-0131.
Ensemble Theatre´s production of I AM MY OWN WIFE is a box-office hit (go to citybeat.com for Tom McElfresh´s review; he rated Wife an A+). There have been several sold-out performances by two-time CEA winner Todd Almond in the one-actor piece (he plays 35 roles), and demand for tickets is strong enough that ETC has decided to add another weekend of performances. Tickets for March 24-26 (8 p.m.) and 27 (2 p.m.) are now on sale: 513-421-3555.