Should you take a seat to experience Beertown at Omaha Community Playhouse, don’t think you’ll be as invisible as the floorboards. Because you or someone near you will underpin what happens in this interactive performance whose conclusion depends on audience decisions. Someone will be interrogated by a reporter and everyone will hear. Busybody business. Watch your step.
Nope, there’s not much privacy in this ever-changing, sometimes vaudeville- decorated examination of small-town people who make history. Actually they revise history. Maybe they even mistake gossip for fact. Aye, there’s the rub in this heady brew with a taste of mystery and an undercurrent of pungent provocation. There’s also something sweet: potluck dessert before the event gets underway. You know, like your neighbors at a social bringing their own apple pies. You could contribute, if you have a mind to.
Beertown’s motto is “creating community and revising its history.” Sounds congenial, doesn’t it? But history has a way of being biased. And who knows how small-town people may change their minds when retrospection sets in? Hindsight is wonderful, ain’t it? Bunch a questions here.
The premise, by the way: It’s the town’s 20th quinquennial ceremony (i.e. every five years) when the local time capsule is re-opened, having first been interred in 1891. The contents are displayed and everyone votes what should be removed or newly added. “So gently satiric and utterly involving that you’ll find yourself voting for and against issues before you even realize you’ve raised your hand,” said the Washington Post, naming it one of 2012 Top 10 Theatre Productions. Indeed, this production comes from Washington D.C.’s dog & pony dc company. Two members of that ensemble have come here to perform with six local actors. i.e This community plays a part. In fact, audience members are encouraged to express opinions tangential to the play and, conceivably, meaningful close to home.
Memories play tricks, wouldn’t you agree? But, if you find this memorable, it may be because you had a hand in making it so.
Beertown plays Oct. 16-Nov. 15 at Howard Drew Theatre, Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St. Thurs.-Sat.: 7:30 p.m. Sunday: 2 p.m. Tickets $18-$36. www.OmahaPlayhouse.org