Don't be alarmed if you walk into the Nightingale Theater this weekend and find yourself staring up at a giant white cross. The backdrop for No Walls Entertainment Group's play God and the Ironing Board suggests the play is a religious one.
However, it's producer and director, Ty Tyson, assures me the play's religious undertones are subtle, even if its physical symbols aren't.
The play tells the real-life stories of three people, friends of Tyson's, who have overcome enormous adversity.
Steven grew up in Hissom, the Sand Springs center for people with developmental disabilities that was closed in 1987 after a judge deemed it unsafe. Steven, who suffers from mental illness, was raised there because his mother was unable to care for him. Other patients and staff members molested him until he aged out of the center.
When he moved into his first apartment, he had no furniture and slept on an ironing board. He said God would watch over him as he slept.
Carol, now in her 70s, was abducted and abused at four. Her stepfather molested her until she left his home to join the Navy, where she suffered further abuse.
For Tim, anything that could go wrong has. A gay man, he lost his lover and was then kicked out of his house.
The common thread weaving these stories together, Tyson said, is that, although they have suffered great hardship, each of these individuals is now a well-adjusted, contributing member of society.
"They're better for it, even as tragic as it is," Tyson said.
The stories are told by the people who suffered through them, with actors playing supporting roles. Incorporated in the play are multimedia presentations.
Tyson said, although spirituality is a common theme in each of the stories, the play isn't meant to preach to audiences. Rather, it makes religion and God more accessible.
Tyson said the audience will relate to the stories told on stage and likely come away feeling better about their own situations. Following the final scene, the actors will host a question and answer session.
God and the Ironing Board is presented in conjunction with Diversity Arts Association of Oklahoma Nov. 5-7 at 8pm and Nov. 8 at 2pm. Tickets to Thursday's and Sunday's shows are $10, and to Friday's and Saturday's are $20. Nightingale Theater is at 1416 E. Fourth St. More information is at www.nightingaletheater.com.
Also on Sunday at Nightingale is Dr. Sketchy's Amnti-Art School, from 6 to 9pm.
Hosted by Eye Candy Burlesque, Dr. Sketchy's provides burlesque dancers as live models for would-be sketch artists. Admission is $7.
Through the month of November, M.A. Doran Gallery, 3509 S. Peoria, will show the work of Kreg Kallenberger, who works with optical lead crystal.
"Kreg has transcended the idea of glass as a decorative object," a press release from the gallery stated. "His pieces are small yet powerful topography-like sculptures that take the viewer into a landscape that verges between the ethereal and the familiar."
Kallenberger begins with a formless piece of crystal and, through a process of heating and cooling, cutting, grinding and polishing, transforms it into a work of art, reflective of his environment.
Also on display at the gallery are photographs by Nancy Lee Andrews, who has captured rock icons such as Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton and Leon Russel.
The exhibit opens with a reception, which is free to the public, Thursday, Nov. 5 at 5pm. Both artists will be present. More information at www.madorangallery.com.
Also opening Thursday is "Personal Interiors," consisting of new work by Alan Feltus and Lani Irwin, at the University of Tulsa's Alexandre Hogue Gallery, 2935 E. Fifth St.
The exhibit features paintings, drawings and collages that explore the relationships of figures in still, quiet, intimate spaces.
The two are resident visiting artists teaching at the Maryland Art Institute in Baltimore. Following its stay at TU, the exhibit will travel to the Katzen Arts Center at the American University Museum in Washington, D.C.
In Selected Letters by Alan Feltus, Feltus writes, "These paintings are about many things and at the same time about nothing more than painting itself. They don't have narrative content; they don't tell stories. What the figures communicate is not knowable, not to me and therefore not to the viewer. Or perhaps I should say what is communicated is open to interpretation and as such there are endless meanings."
The exhibit will hang through Jan. 7. It opens with a reception at 5pm. Prior to the opening, the artists will offer a free lecture at 4pm in the Jerri Jones Lecture Hall, room 211 of Phillips Hall.
Opening Friday, Nov. 6, in conjunction with the Brady Arts District's First Friday Art Crawl, is "Primitive Seasons: Paintings by Michael Combs" at Tulsa Artists' Coalition Gallery, 9 E. Brady.
Combs is a graphic designer and painter living in Broken Arrow. He grew up in southwestern Oklahoma and said he spent a lot of time "walking around (the Wichita Mountains) and letting my imagination run free."
His paintings are inspired by the environment in which he grew up and the stories he read as a kid.
"Much of my belief system back then revolved around Native American culture, and some of my favorite books were on crypto zoology and fiction books," he writes in his artist's statement. "I lived in these stories when I was younger, and there was magic in everything around me. The darkness and wild areas held mystery, fantastic creatures and adventure.
"I still imagine that there is a hidden world around us that, if we hold on to the primitive season we go through as children, we can always be a part of the excitement, the fantastic and the enigmatic."
The opening reception begins at 6pm and is free and open to the public. There, you can pick up information about other galleries participating in the art crawl. More information at www.tacgallery.org.
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