No longer a virgin: Icarus Falling

By | 2018-01-15T21:00:59-04:00 June 11th, 2016|Entertainment|

Why do people like to go to the theater?
Although experts have debated that question ad nauseum throughout the centuries, Icarus Falling’s Artistic Director Jeff Croff thinks he knows the answer – and it’s really quite simple: “Because we all like to communicate.”
But that then begs an answer to yet another question: Are we REALLY communicating with one another today with all of the new technologies we have at our disposal?
That’s what Croff is attempting to explore in “.human,” IF’s seventh season as Lansing’s OTHER professional non-profit theater. “We don’t normally pursue a theme,” Croff recently told Curtain Calls, “but a theme started to rise up as we began looking at scripts being submitted.”
With a fast-paced world filled with earbuds and BlackBerries, coffee shops and laptops, it’s not surprising that today’s playwrights are beginning to look at how technology is transforming our society – and not always for the better. “So we’re doing what theater does best: explore how we communicate and how we interact,” Croff said. “I know we can send messages much easier and faster, but I’m not sure we’re saying more, or interacting more on a person-to-person basis.”
IF’s first show of the season, “Ctrl+Alt+Delete” – which closed last week – shows how quickly science is moving forward. First produced in 2001, the gizmo talked about in the play has since become reality, Croff noted.
An original collaboration between Croff and fellow playwright Kevin L. Knights follows in February. “‘Fatal Error’ was spurred by an e-mail between [us] about the banality of the conversations going across his office. So we started e-mailing faux conversations, and slowly but surely, the story started to evolve.”
A cyber-demon makes his North American debut in March, courtesy of Australian playwright Joe Woodward and “sex&violets.com.”
A second world premiere, “Love Person” by Aditi Brennan Kapil, will close the season in June.
“It’s really exciting to bring something new to the theater community,” Croff said. “This season brings out our commitment to new works – things we wouldn’t normally see locally.”
It’s an approach that seems to be working, as audiences grew steadily throughout its first six seasons. Part of the growth is attributable to a unique program the company started last year that gives new patrons half off their ticket price if they admit to being an IF Virgin. “Last year we had a lot of virgins show up,” Croff said. “Even this year, about 15-20 percent [of our audiences] are new people.”
Another draw is IF’s location: the Creole Gallery in Lansing’s Old Town district.
“It’s certainly an atypical theater space. It’s very much an art gallery that happens to have a stage at one end. What works best and certainly appeals to the type of shows we do is the intimacy. I think our audiences appreciate that. I know our actors do, because you have such a strong tie with the audience when you’re on that stage or in that audience performing.”

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