By Keshia McEntire
Now that we’ve experienced our first big snowfall of the year, it officially looks and feels like winter in Indianapolis. There are still plenty of opportunities to explore Indy’s arts scene while staying warm and toasty, such as catching a play at a local theater. I recently had the opportunity to catch “Adults” at Theater at The Fort, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone looking for a reason to step outside, scrape the snow off their car and overcome any winter-induced cabin fever.
Although popular movies, books, television series and theatrical performances rarely shy away from telling taboo love stories, few do so with as much ingenuity as “Adults.” “Adults,” written by Indianapolis playwright Jeremy Grimmer and produced by Fat Turtle Theater Company, tells the story of EJ, a perceptive and compassionate single man with a passion for cooking and gaming, and Sarah, a spirited married women who starts out somewhat guarded but learns to open up with the help of her new lover and his rowdy group of friends.
What was meant to be a simple one night stand turned into a real, yet unconventional, relationship, and these characters are presented as star crossed lovers who have just as much dignity and drive as Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. This is because the characters are written as flawed and complicated rather than immoral or disingenuous, though this is balanced by the fact that the audience is often reminded that there is a husband and two kids back home that are unaware that this affair is taking place.
There was so much to love about this play. I enjoyed the way the playwright allowed us to watch the characters grow and change over time, with each subsequent scene taking place years apart. I also enjoyed the characters themselves, especially EJ’s friends who added comedy and representations of healthy relationships to the story. There were a few moments where I laughed out loud while watching the friends take part in video gaming sessions. While the play gives us an intimate look at EJ’s home, hobbies and friends, our understanding of Sarah’s life is limited to her occasional references about her family back home. In addition to exploring relationship dynamics between characters, “Adults” explores how our relationships and responsibilities affect our autonomy, and it does so with creativity, humor and grace.
I grew up on Indy’s east side, a short drive away from Fort Harrison, yet I had never been to Theater at the Fort. Due to the theaters location it could serve as an exceptional community resource, so I plan on keeping my eye on future productions to attend or review.
Fat Turtle Theater Company was founded by Aaron Cleveland, who says his goal is to amplify creative voices in Indy.
“Fat Turtle Theatre Company has recently achieved 501c3 status and our new mission as a non-profit theater company is to create new works from the Indianapolis area,” said Cleveland, “(We are) making sure that playwrights, actors and crew are all compensated for their time. This also means putting on more semi-professional level shows than the typical black box experiments that you see in other theaters. We want to fully stage these productions to make certain that these works get their full due.”
“Adults” runs until Jan. 20 at Theater at The Fort, 8920 Otis Ave, Indianapolis, IN. Tickets are $20 online and can be purchased here. A free staged reading of this production will be held at Indy Reads Books on 911 Mass Ave on Dec. 14 at 7:00 p.m.