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Woody and Me

"Woody and Me" at Indianapolis's Phoenix Theatre is part the Frank Basile Festival of Emerging American Theatre. Brad Erickson's play is a comedy about campus sexual politics with a heavy mix of conflicting power positions, generations, sexual orientations and even literary theories.

The Phoenix's single set by Brian Fonseca is a faculty office shared by two film professors. Lewis, a tenured faculty member, played by Jon Lindley shares it with the strident and opinionated Mara, Toni Press-Coffman. William Croft Vaughn played John, one of their students who has fallen in love with Lewis.

The first act of "Woody and Me" is relatively static as it sets up the relationship with Lewis and John. But in the second act things heat up quickly ther's a fair amount of physical activity and suddenly everyone has something on the line. Lewis is being threatened with the school's sexual harassment code by Mara. Mara's tenure vote is coming up and Lewis is a key player on the committee. Jon has a recommendation for film school at UCLA, but wants Lewis's love.

Jon Lindley was especially good as the thoughtful and genuinely conflicted Professor Lewis. Toni Press-Coffman was a real spark plug as the idealistic and driven Mara. Willam Croft Vaughn did well with a part that lets him speak eloquently in the arguments, but doesn't give him as much at stake as the two professors. Crisp direction is by Gigi Jennewein.

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