View Our Facebook PageView Our Facebook PageView Our Facebook Page
Your Guide to Cultural
Arts in America
Art Museums, Theater, Dance
& Music Happenings in 90+ Cities!
or go to
Arts America Blogs

Roe Green honored, BLACK CAT @ Theatre Ninja

Roy Berko

(Member, Cleveland Critics Circle, American Theatre Critics Association)

Roe Green is honored by the Dramatists Guild Fund in NY gala

On October 10, at the Dramatists Guild Fund annual gala at the Edison Ballroom in New York, Cleveland’s Roe Green, Founder and President was honored for her patronage of the arts.  The event was hosted by television and Broadway actor Michael Urie, and featured such legendary theatre elite as Stephen Schwartz, Ben Vereen, Bernadette Peters and Stephen Sondheim.

The Dramatists Guild Fund is the public charity arm of The Dramatists Guild of America. Its mission is to aid and nurture writers for the theater, to fund non-profit theatres producing contemporary American plays and to heighten awareness, appreciation and support of theatre across America.

Ms. Green,  a graduate of Beachwood High School, noted for her contributions to such organizations as Kent State University, where she built the Roe Green Center, sponsors a visiting director’s series, and serves on the Porthouse Theatre Board.   She serves as a member of the Board of the Cleveland Play House and is the honorary producer of the Fusion Fest.  She was the recipient of the 2009 Ohio Arts Council’s Governor’s Arts 
Patron Award.


BLACK CAT LOST, a thought provoking experience at Theatre Ninja

Theater Ninja is a nomadic theatre company which has no permanent home and appears in store fronts, art spaces, and churches.  It was founded in 2006 with the goal of developing innovative, nontraditional theatrical experiences.   As founder Jeremy Paul explains, “We are a risk-taking company.”

Erin Courtney, the author of BLACK CAT LOST, Theatre Ninjas most recent offering, fits perfectly into the mold of Ninja’s targeted scripts/devised theatre.  The play, which centers on the impermanence of life and the pain of loss, uses esoteric language and Zen poetry, to examine conflicting memories of events jointly experienced, and the viewing of death and the unseen.

Using the controversial concepts of Elisabeth Kuebler-Ross’s stages of grief and dying: denial (often accompanied by isolation), anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, the multi-scene play accentuates the idea of seeing each event twice.  First it is experienced, and then it is relived as a memory. The questions arise, “Are our memories accurate?”   “Can any two people have the same memory experience?”  “Can individuals experience and then move on?”  These issues can become intense as people attempt to re-experience someone who has died.

Though somewhat obtuse, the script does invoke thoughts of an individual’s own mortality and how we remember those who have passed through our lives and are no longer with us.

Director Jeremy Paul uses his actors and the intimate Waterloo Arts space well.

Ray Caspio, Lauren Joy Fraley, and Sarah Moore are all convincing in their portrayals.

BLACK CAT LOST is preceded by the REFRAIN, a short devised presentation conceived and directed by Paul, which features Tania Benites, Caspio and Moore.  The piece was first performed as part of AT-TEN-TION SPAN 2012, Cleveland Public Theatre’s , 10-minute play series.  It is described by its conceiver as, “a highly rhythmical sequence of movement and voices — a pseudo opening band” for Black Cat Lost.”

It is composed as a non-linear connected series of lines, with no clear story.  It is performed by Benites, Caspio and Sarah Moore.

The final segment of the evening was TANGLE, TANGLE, a developing concept play performed by its writer Caspio, with accompaniment by composer Sean Ellis.  It is billed as “a queer performance of songs and stories, a microcosm challenging hate.” The segment presented, much in the vein of, ‘I Am What I Am,” from the musical LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, examines masculinity and femininity.  It includes concepts explained by American Psychologist Sandra Bem in her Gender Schema Theory.

Capsule judgement:  THE BLACK CAT LOST, THE REFRAIN and TANGLE, TANGLE, are the type of theatrical experiences that the cult followers of Theater Ninjas’ expect.  It is an evening of offerings that are probably too abstract for the traditional theater-goer, but will be of interest to the philosophical and contemporary thinker.

BLACK CAT LOST will be staged at Summit Artspace in Akron on November 7th, 8th and 9th.  For information go to