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It has been many a year since Mrs K and I have been to the Westfield Playhouse. But I wouldn’t for the world miss a chance to see my friends Larry Adams and Jaime Johnson in Larry’s short one-act play The Dealer Smiles. The play, which I promoted on this blog last summer after seeing a DVD of the show from a church presentation – https://asota.wordpress.com/2012/06/22/the-dealer-smiles-a-play-by-larry-adams/ – and which won a Most Impressive Theatre Award last year in the special category: Most Impressive Independent Production, is now getting it’s first showings in front of a secular audience in Westfield and will be produced this coming summer as a part of the Indy FringeFest.

Showing several small but meaningful changes from the DVD I saw, the play is very solid in this format and should be a favorite at the FringeFest due to it’s comic yet thought-provoking style. If anything, I believe the thoughtfulness works even better as live theatre, and the comedy does just as well as in the DVD.

Running at just under one hour – the play makes you feel as if you have painlessly been injected with 500 fresh ideas and you are sorry when it concludes, wanting more. The script is so well written, it seems to somehow sharpen the mind as it lays out the ideas.

As I said in my post of last summer: “what develops in the arc of the play, is an entertaining, yet deep conversation about life, God, faith, enduring one’s problems and making more of what we are given in this world. There are so many enriching “ah-ha” moments, mixed in with a lot of clever, funny and even ridiculous humor. The subject matter deals with questions we have all asked ourselves. Where is God? Is there a God? – How does He allow such evil to be in our midst?

“But let me be clear – this is not a religious play – it is more a philosophical discourse. While it does not give any definitive answers – it allows our own interpretations. We do not get conclusions – and yet, we somehow are left with a new understanding – of ourselves among other things. It is a powerful, intelligent, non-judgmental examination of the questions of the ages.”

The actors, Adams as Matt, a troubled divorced man, and Johnson as Josh, what I’ll call “an enlightened presence”, work extremely well together, like the long-time acting-mates they are. Their performances tonight were flawless, as was the entire production. An additional treat was provided when the actors came out after the show and led an informative Q&A period with the audience members. It furthered understanding for the audience and allowed feedback for Larry and Jaime as they continue to develop this play.

Only a limited number of performances remain. The Dealer Smiles continues Sunday, April 21 and next weekend Fri-Sun, April 26-28. Showtimes are 7:30 pm on Fri/Sat and 2:30 pm on Sunday. Call 317-896-2707 for reservations.

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