Skip to content

Carnegie’s “Motherhood Out Loud” is a Candid Look at Being a Parent

Review by Hannah Gregory of Motherhood Out Loud: Carnegie Theatre

The Carnegie’s Motherhood Out Loud must have been meticulously planned as a pre-Mother’s Day treat. With spring finally settling in, this show about the givers of life seems appropriate. This medley of stories about motherhood touts the authorships of many female playwrights, including notable names such as Theresa Rebeck and Beth Henley.

The show’s organization could not be more impeccable: the audience is led from birth to children coming home to take care of their mothers in chapters, each of which begin with a themed vignette where actors metaphorically set the stage for what we can expect; then, three monologues follow, and on we go. The show is tight and concise, pausing only where it needs to and promptly moving on––a wise decision on behalf of director Jodie Meyn, as the show runs over two hours.

Jenny Roesel Ustick’s set is simple and malleable, featuring abstract pink pillars, a large white platform, and a chair. Nicholas Smith’s lighting highlights characters in a gentle wash, and sound designer Avery Reynolds utilizes soothing percussive music for scene changes. With such a simple set, actors must rise to the challenge of painting the scene with their words.

And they do.

This small but mighty cast––featuring Erin Carr, Liz Carman, Nazanin Khodadad, Martha Slater, and R. DeAndre Smith––is lovely to watch as actors shift from character to character. Standout pieces include “Queen Esther” performed by Carman and “My Baby” performed by Slater, but every actor on stage gives a humanness and familiarity to each character they portray. The show also touches on difficult issues like adoption, stepchildren, and surrogacy and balances the awe-inspiring bringing-life-into-the-world moments with the whackier I’m-about-to-fight-with-this-mom-at-the-park moments.

The piece as a whole is a gentle reminder that motherhood isn’t all dewy and divine; in fact, most of it is damn difficult. With so many characters, it also reminds us that no two experiences are the same.

As one woman gleefully quipped behind me, “That’s exactly what it’s like!” This piece will obviously resonate the most with mothers themselves, though there were a few men in the audience chuckling along. Though the title may imply a family-friendly show, leave the smaller kids at home for this one unless you’re fine with them hearing some language. Motherhood Out Loud is best enjoyed with close friends or generations of women in the family.

Motherhood Out Loud runs at The Carnegie thru April 29. For tickets, call 859.957.1940 or visit thecarnegie.com.

CCM Immerses Its Audience with “H2O: A Play About Water”

Review by Shawn Maus of H2O: A Play About Water: CCM Acting

“The Greeks called me Poseidon. The Americans: Katrina, Harvey, Irma. I am the damn breaker and the hands that cup Monet’s lilies.?

According the Wikipedia, water is “a transparent, tasteless, odorless, and nearly colorless chemical substance that is the main constituent of Earth’s streams, lakes, and oceans, and the fluids of most living organisms.” Its chemical formula is H2O, meaning that each of its molecules contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms. Water covers 71% of the Earth’s surface with only 2% of this water being fresh for drinking.

That’s the science.

At CCM‘s Cohen Family Studio Theater you learn the drama of water.  Conceived and directed by Richard Hess and written by six CCM students this 60-minute play (selected to be performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – and possible Cincy Fringe), the audience is swept into the creative tides of storytelling.  Water God (Carter LaCava) and Water Goddess (Jenny Molet) anchor the tale of the life-giving and death-taking/defying bodies of water through the ages.  The scenes takes us through the horrors of waterboarding, the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the Flint, Michigan water crisis, the Great Dustbowl/Black Sunday of 1935,  and the Dakota Access Pipeline protest to the pleasures of remembering what it was like to go fishing on a lake in the warm summer sun. There is much more going on here than political statements.

As Water God and Goddess remind us, “Water is life. Life is Water.” It’s a complex relationship.

The life of the stage is encased in a set design of pure poetry.  As you enter the theatre bright blue fabric coats the stage.  That fabric becomes the water as Fish and Water God and Goddess enter along with Scientists to take us on a spellbinding tour of our relationship with the water, the planet, the stories of people who have survived and perished because of our symbiotic relationship with the power of H2O. The choreography of the fabric is amazing and breathtaking.  At times it’s a ballet of movement sweeping the hurricane victims (“I saw a dead man float by, mouth open…”), or the riptide of  surf in Hawaii (“I didn’t believe that someone could die on a beach this beautiful in a place that smells of lilacs and salt water.”), or just the fun, peaceful, frolicking blue calm of Dan and his wife (whose whistling is an annoyance to Dan, but comic delight to the audience). The flowing “material of blue” is a symbol of water’s wisdom, grace, music, power, chaos and beauty of this commodity that is bought, sold, collected and connects us with each other and our world.

Water God and Goddess are exotic beings of nature with their layers and textures of clothing and face of paint strokes that seem to hold magic powers of war, peace, tranquility and protection. The character reactions are genuine as the ensemble cast earnestly work through the  emotions of internal struggles, completely random events that disrupt lives and the quality and depth of relationships. And to add another element, the script adds some rousing renditions of tunes from Simon and Garfunkel, Bobby Darin (or Frank Sinatra, depending on your preference for the tune “Somewhere Beyond the Sea”), even Burt Bacharach.

This is a play that connects the audience on a variety of levels and is accessible to a wide audience.  It deals with themes of great love and forces us to look inside ourselves to overcome a struggle with the most powerful element on earth.

This is a play that is urgent and exhilarating at rises on massive strengths of its solid emotions, incredibly committed cast and and visually gripping scenic design.

You are completely involved in everything that happens and you feel like you are a part of life of water and that this water is life.

H2O only played the weekend of April 19-21st at CCM, but I hope the play will be performed again by them or others, so that more people can experience this most poetic, dazzlingly creative, theatrical achievement unrivaled in its beauty, ingenuity and brains.

So In Love We Are! with NKU’s “Kiss Me Kate”

Review by Spenser Smith of Kiss Me, Kate: NKU Theatre

Northern Kentucky University closes its current season with a wildly entertaining production of Kiss Me, Kate, a musical within a musical telling of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew.

The action of the musical within the musical tells the story of Shakespeare’s characters Bianca (Natalie Bellamy) and Kate (Sally Modzelewski), whose father Baptista (Joshua Van Nort) would very much like them both to wed. Bianca is the more willing of the two, having fallen for Lucentio, who is her real life love Bill (Trase Milburn). Her sister Katherine is the shrew that cannot be tamed, although Petruchio, played by Fred (Alexander Slade), is willing to try. Are you still with me? This mirrors the action that takes place offstage. Lois (Bianca) and Lilli (Katherine) are having the same relationship issues in their real lives. Several mistaken identities and a forged signature contribute to the supporting characters, which adds to the evening’s many laughs. Ben Cohen (Gangster #1) and Kevin Birdwhistell (Gangster #2) come to collect a debt and find themselves a part of the show. They are given an opportunity to steal the moment towards the end of the show and they do not disappoint. The four lead actors hoof through all two and half hours, singing and dancing the shows many energetic production numbers. This show doesn’t stop for a second to catch its breath and compliments are deserved by the whole ensemble. Stand-out moments include “Tom, Dick or Harry”, “Always True To You…” and “Brush Up Your Shakespeare.”

Director Corrie Danieley has assembled an all-star cast. What a pleasure it is to see her giving so many new faces the opportunity to shine. Her simple direction, backed up by efficient set design by Ron Shaw, allow the play to swiftly navigate multiple locations with ease. Nothing kills musical comedy quite like clunky transitions. Choreographer Rachel Perin (an NKU grad) has cooked up delicious material for both of Lois’ numbers and a difficult tap sequence for Bill in Act 2. Perin has proven again that she has a knack for staging large production numbers with creative precision. This production is absolutely delightful. It’s the perfect representation of classic musical comedy.

Anxious for what’s next at NKU? Wunderbar! Check out their annual summer dinner theatre featuring Life Could Be a Dream, featuring doo wop tunes of the 50s and 60s running three weeks in June and the Neil Simon classic about two unsuspecting roommates The Odd Couple in July.

Human Race’s “Erma Bombeck” is a Joyful Portrayal of Dayton’s American Icon

Review by Liz Eichler of “Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End”: Human Race Theatre

Jennifer Joplin as Erma Bombeck

Human Race Theatre has a true gem in the one-woman production of “Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End.” The Dayton area native still inspires many American women who were raising children in the 1960’s to the 90’s, as she makes moms laugh and keep things in perspective. Actress Jennifer Joplin lights up the stage with her comedy as she shares Bombeck’s story, her foibles, and her battles.

Erma Bombeck did something no woman ever did: write about the daily grind of being a housewife, finding ways to laugh at the little things of being a mom in the suburbs, because if you don’t laugh, you could cry—or worse. Throughout the play we see Bombeck as a wife, mother, syndicated columnist, cancer survivor, and activist for the Equal Rights Amendment.  Over her career she demonstrated that raising kids is full of ironing and irony, especially when the tables turn and the child starts the parenting.

Written by twin sisters Allison Engel and Margaret Engel, this 60-minute show compiles some of Bombeck’s funniest lines with her history. Directed by Heather N. Powell, you learn more about Dayton’s beloved writer, as well as the fight for sanity and equality all women battle, mother or not. I have always been a fan of Bombeck, reading her books and columns, and enjoying her appearances on the daytime talk shows. I didn’t know that she transferred to the University of Dayton, where she received encouragement from one professor – “You can write!”  Those three little words made the difference, and she found success as a writer, while balancing her family life. She’s a testament to “write what you know” and “just write” philosophies. She’d close herself into her bedroom or laundry room to escape from the chaos at home to churn out her columns, two or three per week, syndicated in 900 papers in the U.S. and Canada, and multiple best sellers.

Jennifer Joplin captures the Everywoman of the mid to late 20th century, and gives her credit for being smart, funny, and resourceful. There’s many ways to be a good mom but knowing how to fold a fitted sheet isn’t a prerequisite. The audience follows Joplin as she demonstrates love and humanity for her family, her readers, and then as she reaches out to be a voice for all women. Joplin brings a quirkiness, a patience, warmth, and a joy that is contagious. Her thoughts range from “never go to a doctor whose office plants have died,” to “if life is a bowl of cherries, what am I doing in the pits?” and “It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else.”

Bring a friend who needs to know about University of Dayton’s famous Flyer, who has a street named for her on the campus. The show, produced by Human Race and performed at The Caryl D. Philips Creativity Center at 116 N. Jefferson Street in Downtown Dayton, has already extended its run, scheduled through May 20. Get your tickets today at ticketcenterstage.com or call (937)228-3630 to laugh with Joplin and Bombeck.

If You Don’t Take Your Mom to Carnegie’s “Motherhood Out Loud”, At Least Call Her After

Review by Jack Crumley of Motherhood Out Loud: The Carnegie

I’m wrapping up my second year of seeing shows at The Carnegie for the League of Cincinnati Theatres. One of my favorites there was Nora Ephron’s Love, Loss, and What I Wore, which involved a series of vignettes that told stories of life as a woman, all focused on clothing. Reading the synopsis, I got the impression that Motherhood Out Loud would be in the same vein: an honest, funny, and poignant look at the various aspects of being a mother. And I was not disappointed.

Motherhood Out Loud premiered at the Hartford Stage Company in 2010. It was co-conceived by Susan Rose and Joan Stein and features the work of multiple contemporary playwrights including Lisa Loomer, Cincinnati’s own Theresa Rebeck, and Pulitzer Prize winner Beth Henley. It features four women and a man telling stories all centered around being/having a mother at different points in life. Much like in Love, Loss, and What I Wore, the relatively small space at the Carnegie feeds into the intimacy of the material. These actors are talking about important–if sometimes incredibly frustrating and heartbreaking–moments in life. From giving birth, to the first day of school, to adoption, to graduation, to the spectre of death, I was extremely impressed with how thoroughly the concept of (capital M) Motherhood was discussed.

The Carnegie production is directed by Jodie Meyn, who last directed another Carnegie favorite of mine, the princess-centric Disenchanted! Meyn graduated from the Second City of Chicago Conservatory and NKU and has been teaching and directing in the Covington diocese for the last decade. She’s also bringing first hand knowledge of this show’s subject matter, having given birth to her third child last year.

This is an incredibly challenging script. Some of the sketches have more dialogue than others, and most of them are monologues, but all of them call on the cast to bring such an intense honesty to their performances. Even the humorous parts are very grounded in reality, and many of them are still quite bittersweet.

Each member of the cast has at least one moment to shine. Erin Carr’s most powerful moment for me at Sunday’s matinee was in an Act I scene called “Baby Bird.” She’s explaining to the audience the multiple conversations she’s had about how she has a 12-year-old biological son and also a young daughter she adopted from China: how there’s nothing unusual about their family, and how she loves her little girl just as much as her son. Carr has a great rhythm in her delivery of going through how silly, banal, and frustrating the whole discussion is. The scene gets quite emotional when you start to think about the idea that this woman’s daughter would feel different or cast out in any way. Carr also gets a more dramatic scene in Act II’s “Stars and Stripes” as a mother talking about her fears for her son who’s serving in the military.

Liz Carman is new to the Carnegie stage, but her performances really run the gamut between hilarious and heart wrenching. In Act I’s “Next to the Crib,” she’s a new mom sleeping on the floor to take care of her baby and also to stay away from her sick husband. Then in “Queen Esther,” she talks about having a son who prefers to wear dresses, and all of the emotional turmoil she has to sustain from other people judging her child. It’s another tear-up moment for anyone with a pulse. Near the end of Act I, she’s a woman dating a man with children in “My Almost Family,” that describes the awkwardness (and sometimes guilt) of being a father’s new girlfriend. Carman also has one of the best lines in the show with, when asked multiple times if she’s gotten her son to finally write his valedictorian speech, “I AM WORKING ON IT!”

Nazanin Khodadad plays possibly the widest range of character types. She plays the mom who stands outside the school on the first day of class, feverishly waving goodbye to her daughter. In “Nooha’s List,” her daughter is going through her first menstrual period, and she talks about how it can affect things like celebrating Ramadan. In Act II, Khodadad plays a great grandmother being interviewed by a 12-year-old in “Report on Motherhood,” where she broaches some pretty heady topics like the difference between liking your children and loving your children.

Martha Slater’s roles essentially open and close the show. I’ve seen her convey serious gravitas in the Covedale’s production of Doubt, A Parable last year. This time, it was nice to see her playing characters who are willing to joke about their shortcomings. Slater really played up the awkward level of being an outsider at the park in “New in the Motherhood.” She also closes out Act I with an emotional performance in “Michael’s Date,” where she plays a mother whose autistic son takes a girl to the movies. Slater then has the task of bringing the show full circle with the closing scene “My Baby,” a monologue where a woman is describing the complexities of being both a mother and a daughter.

R DeAndre Smith brings his comedy chops from Carnegie’sproduction of The Full Monty, and plays them to the hilt as a gay man starting a family with his husband in the hilarious “If We’re Using a Surrogate, How Come I’m the One with Morning Sickness?” No surprise, Smith has to fill some necessary supporting roles as a husband or store clerk in some of the other stories. But, he lays out a sincere tale near the end of Act II with “Elizabeth,” as a divorced man who’s moved in with his mother and starts to see signs that she shouldn’t be alone any more.

Again, the level of emotional complexity in every one of these scenes is through the roof, and the cast should really be praised for the work they put in. Much of Act II felt a little rushed in Sunday’s matinee, but that might’ve just been me not wanting the show to end.

Also worth noting: the set design. Speaking before the show started, Producer Maggie Perrino called attention to the sculptures that lined the back of the stage. These tall, mostly pink, curvy shapes were created by Jenny Roesel Ustick, who’s the artist behind several building murals you can see in downtown Cincinnati. There’s a strong femininity to the stage pieces that helps set the tone for the show nicely.

This is not just a show for women and girls. It’s a show for anyone who is a mother, has a mother, or knows a mother. Theatregoers should be aware that there’s a fair amount of cursing in this show, and some topics might be considered unsavory, but I would say it avoids any full-on vulgarity. Give the mother in your life an early present and take her to the Carnegie in Covington for this show.

Motherhood Out Loud has a short run on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through April 29. Tickets are available here.

One, One, Zero: A Review of Know Theatre’s “Ada and the Engine”

Review by Alan Jozwiak of Ada and the Engine: Know Theatre

01000001 01100100 01100001.

These are not random numbers, but binary code for the name “Ada,” the titular protagonist who appears in Know Theatre’s latest production Ada and the Engine.

Penned by Lauren Gunderson, who wrote the powerful and moving Silent Sky that Know Theatre produced in 2016, Ada and the Machine tells the story of Ada Lovelace (née Byron), who has to overcome the checkered past of her father, the scandalous poet Lord Byron.

Along way to respectability, she marries Lord Lovelace (Cary Davenport) and becomes close friend with Charles Babbage (Brian Griffin), who theorizes about a computational machine that ends up being the forerunner of the modern computer.

As much of a play of ideas as it is a bio play on the life of Ada Lovelace, Ada and the Machine is blessed with an outstanding cast. Tess Talbot is perfectly cast as Ada. Talbot is equal parts blazing intelligence and burning passion as the role of Ada, being more interesting in talking mathematics with Babbage than gaining social standing and reputation through her husband. This is one of Talbot’s best works yet for Know Theatre and is a real tour de force performance.

Brian Griffin delivers an equally powerful performance as Charles Babbage, perfectly capturing the essence of the character—a man overwhelming obsessed with his work who shows equal parts of ego and gentleness towards Ada. This was the best role I have ever seen Griffin deliver and it was delightful to see both him and Talbot on stage together. Both actors have great chemistry and work well off each other.

Rounding out the cast was Cary Davenport as Lord Lovelace and Annie Fitzpatrick as Ada’s mother Anne Isabelle Byron. Davenport plays the comic foil in this piece, allowing the audience to play along with his character’s ignorance. Similarly, Fitzpatrick does a nice job playing the widow of Lord Byron. She beautifully plays the prim and proper mother trying to steer her daughter to social respectability.

Playing on the machine motif within the play, director and scenic designer Andrew J, Hungerford the set has gears/machine parts stenciled on the floor, as well as having metal bar doors which swing to allow actors to enter and exit the stage. Metal panels also cover the back stage and end up being used to great effect at the end of the production.

Second, Hungerford added an interactive cell phone element by using Mosho, a app which played the song the actors were singing at the end of the show. I could not get the app to run on my cell phone, but this app shows promise for getting audience members more engaged in the show.

Ada and the Engine was a fascinating and riveting play full of witty banter, complex characters, and unfulfilled promises (Spoiler: Ada does not get a chance to see the engine created).

Go see this show (or in binary numbers) 01000111 01101111 00100000 01110011 01100101 01100101 00100000 01110100 01101000 01101001 01110011 00100000 01110011 01101000 01101111 01110111. For fans of Silent Sky, as well as those loving a strong theatrical production that makes you think, this is a must-see performance.

Ada and the Engine runs April 13 to May 12, 2018. For more information, please visit Know Theatre’s website https://knowtheatre.com/season-20/ada/.

CSC’s “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” is “Must-See Tennessee”

Review by Liz Eichler of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”: Cincinnati Shakespeare Company

Cincy Shakespeare‘s “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is must-see Tennessee Williams. The production, directed by Michael Evan Haney, delivers visually, with actors exploring the complicated characters with passion and gusto, and is a powerful use of CSC’s new space.

The playwright, of course, needs some credit.  Williams crafted this family drama that uncovers the convolutions of a Southern American family in the 1950’s. The play is about Maggie, trying to salvage her marriage to Brick, the son of Big Daddy, a plantation owner who is celebrating his 65th birthday. Thinking he just survived a cancer scare, Big Daddy is planning for a successor, hoping it to be Brick (who is currently drinking away the memories of his deceased best friend), ignoring his oldest son, lawyer Gooper and his wife Sister Woman and their 5, soon to be 6 children. He’s also ignoring his devoted wife, Big Mama, and the preacher, doctor, and house servants who have also gathered for the occasion. In the world of the 50’s and the family, Maggie knows a child is the only way to legitimize her and Brick’s place in the family, so she desperately tries to understand why he drinks and why he is pushing her away.  

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company has such a deep bench that even smaller roles are played fully and with such skill, for example, Nick Rose, who just floored audiences with his Iago in “Othello,” shows the richness of his craft as the Doctor. But it’s Jim Hopkins as Big Daddy who governs the show.  It’s a role I’ve hoped to see him portray for years—and he’s big, blustery, and drives his agenda. Maggie Lou Rader as Maggie exudes sensuality. Grant Niezgodski as Brick athletically covers the stage, on one foot and a crutch. Directed for modern sensibilities, Brick explores a wide range of emotion, and Maggie’s demonstrates strength as well as nervous desperation as a cat trying to stay on a hot tin roof. It is a great ensemble of performers. Amy Warner provides a loving yet quirky Big Momma, Justin McCombs is the dutiful Gooper, Kelly Mengelkoch is the delightfully pregnant and interfering Mae, Paul Riopelle is the Reverend with his hand out, and Ernaisja Curry, Candice Handy, Luke Randazzo, Charlotte and Henry Weghorst round out this amazing production.

The play is told in “real time,” with the action portrayed lasting the span of an evening, all taking place in Brick and Maggie’s bedroom, a beautiful, historic pressure cooker.  The shouts of the party outside, the noneck monsters” running into the bedroom in the middle of heated conversations, and the thunderstorm are all visible because of the gorgeous louvered doors that open to the wisteriacovered veranda. Shannon Moore (Set Designer), Abbi Howson (Costume Designer) and Justen N. Locke (Lighting Designer) have really nailed it this time, showing off the new theatre to the hilt. Special kudos to authentic costume details, from garter belts to Big Momma’s corsage and wig.

The play is told in 3 acts, with Maggie dominating the stage and unfolding the story in the first act. Each piece of this story is deep and layered, exploring how this (and every?) family lies to each other, can be greedy, and filled with members who do not understand each other—or themselves.  See “Cat on A Hot Tin Roof” and continue the conversation—what do you think happens next?

“Cat on A Hot Tin Roof” plays through April 28. For tickets go to cincyshakes.org.  

“Ada and the Engine” Delightfully Shares the “Herstory” of Computers

Review by Liz Eichler of “Ada and the Engine”: Know Theatre

If you haven’t heard the story of Ada Byron Lovelace, I wouldn’t be surprised.  She was a woman, born in an age in which her job was simply to marry well and bear children, not bringing attention to herself.  In fact, her whole life was about disconnecting with gossip that started before she was born, about her famous but absent father, the poet Lord Byron. Her mother turned her to book learning, logic and math,and she moved in social circles connecting with the brightest minds of the day. “Ada and the Engine” is the story of Ada and her relationship with Charles Babbage, credited as the founder of the computer. Know Theatre’s production beautifully brings to life not only Ada’s drive, but how society limited her, and how some scientists limit themselves.

Tess Talbot brings a wonderful energy to the role of Ada.  She is passionate about math and music as well as escaping her mother’s firm grasp. She shares the joy in discovering the enormous difference between zero and one, the theme of the play as well as the underpinnings of computer language. She is caught between zero and one, as an unmarried woman she is nothing, but gains respectability and title when she marries and has children, dropping her connection with Babbage. But children and her social role, however, drain her physically, and pulls her back toward zero. Back and forth between zero and one, within that space is the whole universe, she discovers.

Brian Griffin is a marvelous Charles Babbage, brilliant but difficult, prone to theory, but not very practical nor understanding of the politics of the age. He and Ada make a wonderful team, and although she is exuberant and prone to impulse, she appears practical. Annie Fitzpatrick plays Ada’s mother and tutor, both proper and firm Victorian women. Cary Davenport is the aristocratic Lord Lovelace.  The ensemble slips in and out of the scenes seamlessly as the action moves forward, using the large revolving doors, adding a mechanical energy. Andrew J. Hungerford directs and is also responsible for the set and lights. He again tops himself in scenery design, with his amazingly simple metallic machinery, echoing both a library and an engine. Douglas Borntrager adds sound and projections, including an interesting app you’ll hear about during the production. (Know Theatre again earns its reputation as a place to play and experiment!)

This is a joyful, well-told piece of herstory.  The play by Lauren Gunderson is strong, engaging and generally stays close to the published accounts of Ada’s life, until it takes off into another realm where Gunderson must rely on her imagination and storytelling to power her agenda. The production flies, as you just want to know more about Ada, and her relationship with Babbage. The musical elements in the second act are lovely, but the lighting felt limited, when perhaps it was a moment to turn it up to 11.

This is a piece of must-see storytelling—putting faces and names on the invention of the computer—equally enjoyable as a date-night for adults or as a lesson in STEAM education for teens and tweens.  “Ada and the Engine” continues through May 12.  For tickets contact knowtheatre.com.