– While the cold weather has taken a turn for the worse, The BLUEBARN’s Witching Hour is hard at work trying to get better. At least, that’s the title behind their latest project, How to be Better. The show will be based on the cartoons of the 1930s, the self-obsession of modern-day culture, and the different ways in which people interact with one another. The end result will be a black and white cartoon performed live on stage.

Inspiration for the show came from the endless amounts of old-timey cartoons and silent films that can now be found on YouTube. Betty Boop, Disney’s Steamboar Willie, and the classic Georges Melies film A Trip to the Moon are a just a few of the iconic works that the late-night theatre troupe are taking ideas from.

The next step for The Witching Hour is figuring out the technical logistics of putting on a ‘stage cartoon’. That includes plenty of research on masks, makeup, lights, sound, and costuming that has to be both functional and visually appropriate. There’s also the task of figuring out what unique demands the show will place on performers (the exaggeration of facial masks, physical movements, and postures, etc.)

How to be Better will open in late February.

Nebraska Shakespeare is gearing up for an eventful month making preparations for this summer’s Shakespeare on the Green Festival. While King John was initially slated to be a part of this year’s festival, extenuating circumstances led to a change in offerings and now The Compleat Work of William Shakespeare (Abridged) will take its place in Elmwood Park. Vincent Carlson-Brown will directed an expanded cast while Rob Urbinati will direct the ever-popular The Tempest. Local auditions will be held January 25th and 26th and actors looking to audition should contact whouston@nebraskashakespeare.com

Nebraska Shakespeare’s most recent tour of Twelfth Night will be featured in the upcoming NET program Nebraska Stories. The show will highlight the company’s touring wing that helps make Shakespeare more accessible to schoolchildren. Nebraska Stories will premiere January 12th at 9pm.

– Also coming up is the Omaha Playhouse production of Having Our Say, opening January 17th, starring sisters Camille Metoyer Moten and Lanette Metoyer Moore. Look for a more in depth preview of the show in the future.

Cold Cream looks at theater in the metro area. Email information to coldcream@thereader.com

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