Random Notes

Longtime central Ohio thespian Geoffrey Nelson joked that he and Jonathan Putnam don’t have much of a leap to make in playing “two crotchety old men” in the A Portable Theatre production of David Mamet’s The Duck Variations.

The founder and former artistic director of CATCO, Nelson started APT with the thought of “taking the form to the audience” – thus, “portable.”

“I see it as ‘missionary work,’ that hopefully people who can see live theater closer to home might be more apt to travel to see other shows or to participate in community theater,” Nelson told The Beat.

Nelson chose The Duck Variations because it’s a great piece by a great playwright, because it’s thought-provoking without being obtuse, and because a two-person cast helps with the portability aspect. Variations features 14 short scenes between George and Emil, two stubborn, opinionated and often-uninformed older men who encounter one another in a park and begin verbally sparring over a host of topics.

“Mamet was in his 20s when he wrote this play in 1972, about two guys in their 60s, and now he’s in his 60s. But what’s most interesting is that the subject matter is still relevant now,” Nelson said.

Nelson and Putnam have staged educational performances for high school students and received a surprising reaction. Still, the play is not intended for children.

Putnam has long been a Nelson partner-in-crime, with the two having worked together fairly often since they were both in the cast of A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Weathervane Playhouse in 1980.

“I don’t know how many (plays) we’ve done together. We can be comfortable in a performance because we kind of know where the other is going to go.”

APT concludes the first leg of touring for The Duck Variations with performances this weekend at Dublin’s Abbey Theatre. Visit aportabletheatre.com.


Locally based New Basics Brass Band will mark the release of its fourth record, Ditties for Kiddies, with two shows at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., Sunday, June 23, at Natalie’s Coal-Fired Pizza in Worthington. Tickets are $5.

Ditties is a collection of fun, funky tunes intended for both youngsters and their parents to enjoy.

The nearly 20-year-old ensemble is active locally and at music festivals throughout eastern North America.

Visit newbasicsbrassband.com.


Crew Stadium will host a new music event, the Breakaway Music Festival, on Saturday, Sept. 14. Featured artists include Bassnectar, Empire of the Sun and Twenty One Pilots.

The Columbus-based Prime Social Group created the event, which will be held the following weekend at Dallas’ soccer stadium.

Visit breakawayfestival.com.