Dobama presents play about likable hit men
It’s rare to find the terms nice and hit men in the same sentence, but that is how Dobama Theatre describes the central characters in its upcoming production of “The Norwegians.” In fact, Dobama describes them as “really, really” nice hit men!
The play, by C. Denby Swanson, is about two not-so-nice women who hire the Norwegian underworld figures to whack their former boyfriends. The women—Olive, a sweet Texas belle, and Betty, a hard-living broad from Kentucky—are unprepared for the long and cold Minnesota winter. They are also surprised to find themselves falling in love with the two “funny, kind, sweet . . . and homicidal” would-be thugs. This “Fargo-esque” dark comedy would make the Coen brothers smile.
Playwright Swanson is a graduate of Smith College, the National Theatre Institute, and the University of Texas Michener Center for Writers, where she was a fellow in playwriting and screenwriting. Her work has been commissioned by the Guthrie Theater, Macalester College, and The Drilling Company, and featured in the Southern Playwrights Festival and the Women Playwrights Project. She won a 2008 Susan Smith Blackburn Special Prize for her short play “The Potato Feast,” which was also nominated for a 2008 New York Innovative Theater Award. She is a former artistic director of Austin Script Works and on the faculty at Southwestern University.
Shannon Sindelar is directing “The Norwegians.” A New York-based director and producer, Sindelar is no stranger to Cleveland audiences. Most recently she directed “Kin” at Dobama Theatre. Her work has been seen at Performance Space 122, Incubator Arts Project and the Prelude Festival. She was recently named producing artistic director of the Brooklyn-based Brave New World Repertory Theatre. Prior to that, she was co-artistic director of the cross-media performance group 31 Down. Other directing credits include the New York premiere of Tennessee Williams’s “The Remarkable Rooming House of Madame Le Monde.”
Earlier in her career, Sindelar co-directed Dobama’s Night Kitchen program and also served as a production assistant for The Cleveland Play House’s 2003–04 season. She served for four years as managing and programming director for Ontological Theater’s Incubator Program for independent artists, which received an Obie grant under her leadership and became its own organization. Sindelar served as its first producing director and currently serves on the curatorial staff for the Incubator Arts Project.
“The Norwegians” runs from Oct. 24 through Nov. 22. The final weekend of this production will be produced in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, and will be performed at the museum.
Performances are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons. For a complete schedule, ticket prices, and reservations, call the Dobama Theatre box office at 216-932-3396. Ask about reduced prices for RUSH tickets (as available, no earlier that five minutes before curtain), the preview performance on Oct. 23, and the pay-as-you-can performance on Oct. 26.
Jewel Moulthrop is a Cleveland Heights resident and member of the Heights Observer's Advisory Committee.