Lionface Productions will close its 4th season with “The Shape of Things”Written by Guest Author | | GuestAuthor@toledofreepress.com
By Chase Will
On April 10, Lionface Productions will close its 4th season with “The Shape of Things” by Neil LaBute.
The play follows Adam, a college student whose life is changed through an 18-month relationship with Evelyn, an attractive graduate student who quickly takes an interest in him. After coaxing Adam into making gradual healthy changes, Evelyn soon alienates him from his friends and reshapes everything about him, proving there’s a catch to every dream come true.
“After reading the script, I realized the whole situation my character’s in is very similar to stuff I’ve gone through in bits and pieces throughout my life,” said Josh Powell, who plays Adam. “Some of the relationship things, dealing with friends, I can pull from real experiences.”
“It’s definitely a show for a college town,” said Christina Hoekstra, director. “The themes in this show, as well as the sex and the language, are things I’ve never done in past shows I’ve directed. A few years ago it might’ve been uncomfortable, but it’s a step toward becoming a better director.”
Lionface Productions will celebrate its 4-year anniversary on May 1. The company began with a group of friends who aspired to put on the types of shows they rarely saw in the region. In 2009, they began with “Titus Andronicus,” the goriest tragedy written by William Shakespeare. Although they’d planned only to do sporadic productions, audience reception revealed a niche opportunity, and the group began planning a full season.
“What we lack in funds and spectacle, we make up for with the talent of everyone involved,” said Michael Portteus, Artistic Director for Lionface Productions. “We will always be the punk rock theatre company here in town. I don’t think there’s any amount of money that will change that.”
“I actually started with Lionface back in their first official season,” said Hoekstra. “I was pulled in to help with costuming for MacBeth, and it kind of built from there. It’s been a long process, but it’s been worth it.”
Last year the company received several recognitions from The Ohio Community Theatre Association (OCTA), including best original play, “I Will Never Play Hamlet.” This play premiered at Lionface Production’s annual Winter One Acts, a selection of new plays by local writers.
“Winter One Acts is my baby,” said Portteus. “Between Toledo and Bowling Green, we have some really talented people that just need a place for their work to be showcased, and it’s great because every year we host a world premiere. No one else in town does that.”
The company doesn’t shy from controversial topics. Last season Portteus directed “The Laramie Project,” a performance of interviews detailing the effects of a court case on a small Wyoming town. The case pertained to the brutal death of Matthew Sheppard, an open homosexual, and the implications this made about homophobia. On closing night after curtain call, applause continued until the cast came out for a second bow.
“I had to go backstage and bring them back out. Most people don’t have to deal with that, because most shows don’t get a second curtain call. I just stood backstage crying for a minute because it was beautiful,” said Portteus. “Back when we did MacBeth in the park to kick off our first official season, the Sunday matinee crowd was unbelievable. Seeing that enormous amount of people all crowded together to see something we’d made, it told us we were right, that the community was starving for this. So we continue to give it to them.”
“The Shape of Things” plays April 10-12 at 123 Court Street in Bowling Green. Shows begin at 8pm, and tickets are $5 at the door. For more information, visit www.lionfaceproductions.org or visit the company on Facebook.
Tags: annual Winter One Acts, Bowling Green, Christina Hoekstra, director, Lionface Productions, Macbeth, Neil LaBute, The Ohio Community Theatre Association (OCTA), Toledo, Wiliam Shakespeare, “The Laramie Project”, “The Shape of Things”, “Titus Andronicus”