Beowulf to open "What is the Cause of Thunder"

2013-10-03T00:00:00Z 2014-07-01T14:22:26Z Beowulf to open "What is the Cause of Thunder"By Kathleen Allen Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
October 03, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Leslie J. Miller is having lots of fun these days.

It’s the kind of fun one has when directing a quirky play with two talented actresses.

“I really like getting into rehearsal and watching them work,” Miller says of her actresses, Susan Arnold and Lucille Petty, the only two actors in Noah Haidle’s “What is the Cause of Thunder?,” which Beowulf Alley Theatre opens Friday. 

“This is the most fun I’ve had in a long time doing a show.”

It isn’t just the actresses, she adds. Miller is pretty crazy about this play, too.

“It’s really good stuff,” she says.

The story swirls around Ada, a soap opera actress who is being killed off after 27 years on the show, and her pregnant daughter, Ophelia.

The story jumps between the set of the soap to the apartment Ada and her daughter share.

“Ada has lived and breathed the soap opera,” says Miller. “She really prefers her soap opera life. ...The lines between reality and the soap life become very blurred.”

Haidle has a track record of plays that are strange and interesting. Among his works are “Persephone” and “Mr. Marmalade,” both of which were produced in Tucson in the last three years.

“I like that it has a lot of room for what is reality, how much of your own reality can you create, and where does it all fit,” says Miller.

There are surreal elements — underscored, perhaps, by the fact that Petty, who plays Ophelia, also plays several characters in Ada’s soap. There is also drama. But this most definitely is a comedy, says Miller. “It’s very funny,” she says.

There’s some meat to chew on, too, Miller adds.

“Ada says everything is so much better in your mind. Ophelia’s point of view is that while you are in your mind, you are missing out on people living and dying and having real experiences and real connections.”

But the arguments on both sides are very compelling, she says.

“Do you go out and look for experiences, or do you stay in your head where it’s safer? The play lets the audience decide.

“It’s a show that turns your brain around; it’s going to be a fun, fun romp.”

Contact reporter Kathleen Allen at kallen@azstarnet.com or 573-4128.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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