How much do you love your child?

(04-23-2009)

Review by Linda Relyea

I woke up smiling the morning after watching "Bright Ideas", the Adams State College Theatre Department production now showing on the Main Stage. My dreams that night were funny and I slept well. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I giggled-to-laughed from start to finish through the play.

The best comedies make the routine absurd, stretching its boundaries while still containing a core of truth, and "Bright Ideas" is a good comedy. What is more truthful than parents wanting the best for their children, organizing play dates and outings, arranging for special tutoring, or switching classrooms or teachers who aren't the best fit. It is done every day and Genevra (Beth Tantanella) and Joshua Bradley (Zach Burrell) are no exception, chanting "hot lava" and "a mother is a lioness, a wolverine," they pump themselves up for the ultimate act in "bulldozing" the way for their three-year-old's future.

The entire play takes place from a few months before, up to, their preschooler's fourth birthday, when, according to "the books," their job is over. If they've managed to secure his happiness by then, the future has a positively positive outlook. We witness the two as insecure, uncertain parents seeking to enroll Mac in Bright Ideas Early Childhood Development Academy, which teaches Spanish in the fall and French in the spring, to a resigned drunk and obsessed, hyper-controlling "hover" mom.

Zach, Beth, Emily Stiles, and Bothe Kretsinger, all senior theater majors, are adept at using facial expressions, body language, and plastic sword fighting to embellish the smart and witty dialogue. Even as I write this, "Bright Ideas" scenes play out in my head, making me laugh. Really, you will never quite enjoy another dish of basil pesto or comfortably use your leaf blower again.

It is a busy time of year, and the world news just seems to get grimmer and more dramatic all the time - give yourself a break, reserve a seat now and let your mind shut off and just laugh for a couple of hours. This is the last performance on the Adams State stage for the four actors previously mentioned and Kyle Wellman, and they do themselves and the theatre department proud.

"Bright Ideas" written by Eric Coble and directed by Jenna Neilsen, assistant professor of theatre, opens at 8 p.m. Friday, April 24, on the Adams State Main Stage; and continues at 8 p.m. April 25, April 30, May 1 and 2; with a 2 p.m. matinee on May 3. For ticket reservations contact the Box Office at 719-587-8499. Tickets are $9 for general public, $7 for seniors and students, and $5 for children 12 and under, and free to Associated Students and Faculty. Due to language, mature audiences recommended.

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