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The Lights: A brilliant adaptation of award-winning playwright Howard Korderís 1994 work

By Charyn Pfeuffer

I love going to the theater, but sometimes, it can be a bit of a production. The experience can be pretentious and costly, and I always feel like proper etiquette is fully enforced. A night at the ODC Theater breaks all of those stigmas. I dress up because I want to -- not because I feel obligated to. There are no stuffy tuxedo-clad ushers or assigned seats. And the ODC provides top-notch local theater without breaking the bank.

Intersection for the Arts' and ODC's current production, The Lights, fit the bill perfectly for a casual Friday night on the town. The Lights is the brilliant adaptation of award-winning playwright Howard Korderís 1994 work. The play is composed, conducted, and performed live by composer and bassist Composer Marcus Shelbyís Jazz Orchestra. His technically solid and thoroughly enjoyable 15-piece orchestra is omnipresent on the stage throughout the play. The eclectic group of hepcats and skilled musicians are seated in varying height levels, allowing the audience to appreciate their beautiful instruments and obvious enthusiasm for jazz. Post-intermission, the audience is treated to an all-too short performance from the orchestra, before the play resumes.

Enough glowing about the music -- can you tell that I adore good jazz? The play frenetically tracks the comings and goings of three young urbanites (Rose, Lilllian, and Fredric) during a 24-hour period. The city could be any major metropolis, as the themes are evident in any modern day urban environment -- social angst, searching for self-identity, twisted relationships, poverty -- the issues and road bumps that everyone encounters in their search for happiness, success, and self-worth. Scenes interchange and flow with one another seamlessly, and the sizable cast of characters is packed with many gems, especially the performances of many of the street people. The three main angst-ridden characters are so authentic -- chances are that you have felt like or know a Lillian, Rose or Fredric. Rose was especially hilarious, with her over-dramatized antics and expressions. She's a character I'd love to get into trouble with. Lillian is a bit more introspective and, although equally confused about her place in the world. Fredric is the co-dependent, inconsiderate boyfriend that should have been kicked to the curb in scene one, but hangs on to dig himself deeper and deeper into a hole of self-actualization. All three actors/actresses are superb, and they hold a play that could be chaotic together. It is a play that any urban person who has experienced growing pains can relate to and fully enjoy.

The Lights runs through January 26 and is a co-production between Intersection for the Arts and ODC Theater.