As bright as the sun is these days, Buffalo's vibrant theaters are dark. The theater season doesn't officially kick off for another month. Curtain Up, the gala dinner and free, festive street party that engulfs the entire 600 block of Main Street, will literally lift the curtains on the nearly two dozen professional theater company stages in WNY on September 16.
But there is some fabulous theater happening during the dog days of August. Here are eight ways to enjoy theater in the dark.
First and foremost, The Taming of the Shrew will grace the brand new stage in Delaware Park for one more week. Pack your picnic and hit Shakespeare Hill before the curtain drops until next summer on Sunday, August 21.
There are also several indoor (and air-conditioned) performances on the board, but this is their final summer weekend. All remaining performances of It's Only a Play, a comedy by Terrence McNally, at Alleyway Theatre have sold out, but Buffalo United Artists has added a performance at 4:00pm on Saturday, August 13. Starry Night Theatre's production of The Music Man closes on Sunday in North Tonawanda.
On one night only, Subversive Theatre in partnership with Burning Books, is hosting New York City's The Living Theatre, a notorious experimental political theatre troupe, at the Manny Fried Playhouse. Buffalo is the first stop on its national Know-Your-Rites Tour. Launched in response to the recent wave of violence and hate, the troupe is reviving its infamous original work, Seven Mediations on Political Sado-Masochism on Monday, August 15.
Next weekend is a theatrical treasure trove. Torn Space Theater's inaugural RESPONSE Performance Festival will span four days, August 18 - 21, and three venues.
BURDEN is Torn Space's fourth site-specific spectacle installation at Silo City. Designed specifically for Marine A, it will transform the vast grain elevator into an immersive experience of light, sound and cinema. The SS Columbia, the last surviving passenger ship of its kind, has also been incorporated into the installation, providing a stunning opportunity to experience not only a historic vessel with its original ballroom but also the surrounding waterways. An intimate and controlled tour of Marine A, the surrounding landscape, and the first and second floors of the ship are all part of BURDEN.
RESONSE also features Temporary Distortion’s MY VOICE HAS AN ECHO IN IT, a six-hour durational performance of live music, spoken text and video set within a freestanding, soundproof environment at the Adam Mikiewicz Dramatic Circle on Fillmore. Watch the performers through two-way mirrors with music ranging from drifty ambient sounds to erasure poetry to raucous punk-inspired anthems plays. Complex and densely layered, Temporary Distortion promises to create an intimate experience in which everyone has a front row seat.
On a lighter note, those thirsty for some history and some mystery can check out two new Dinner Theaters, both by Buffalo History Tours.
On Friday evenings head to Canalside for Who Killed Norwood Scott? This 90-minute humorous interactive Who Done It takes place under the Canalside Pavilion Tent each Friday evening at 7:00pm. Help costumed characters and local professional actors interview suspects and gather clues. Tickets are $25 and include 2-for-1 beers during the performance.
The Great Grain Mill Murder Mystery is based on the 1899 grain scooper strike that rocked Buffalo's waterfront. The two-hour interactive RiverWorks Murder Mystery Dinner Theater series performances are at 6:00pm on Saturdays. Tickets are $55 and include dinner. Bonus: see the inside of the GLF silo, open to the public for the first time in 70 years.
Wedding of the Waters by the Friends of the Buffalo Story is free at 8:00pm every Monday evening in August at the Ruins on Canalside. A unique combination of theatre, dance, and music by a multi-cultural cast of actors, dancers and musicians tells the story of the Erie Canal in a totally contemporary way.
If you want to support the amazing Buffalo theater scene, attend the Theatre Alliance of Buffalo's fabulous fundraiser at Fiero on September 15. Then head downtown for Curtain Up! the very next evening.
In the meantime, there are plenty of plays to enjoy in the dark.