Baltimore theater offers both good prices and class

By RENEE SCAVONE | March 9, 2017

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COURTESY OF RENEE SCAVONE Zoo Story will be performed this weekend at the John Astin Theater.

There’s just something about a night at the theater, the joy of experiencing a story unfold in real time, of feeling the energy of human emotion in the room, of sharing laughs and tears with otherwise strangers in the dark for two hours. Of course the built-in class factor also doesn’t hurt. Consider the following two statements:

A. “Last night? I spent the evening enjoying a theatrical production.”

B. “Last night? I spent the evening avoiding vomiting freshmen and getting Natty Boh on my shoes.”

Person A probably has clean hair and three career opportunities waiting for them at Handshake. Person B probably has a load of laundry they’re avoiding.

So if you’re ready to transcend your usual weekend plans (or just want an excuse to seem really mature and cultured when talking to friends), you’re in luck!

Hopkins and Baltimore in general both have a lot of good theater. Furthermore, while I myself once believed that attending productions was a marker of bourgeois indulgence, I have come to appreciate the Baltimore scene not only for the quality of its shows but for the reasonable price of most events.

Take the Baltimore Improv Group (BIG) for example. Just like it says on the tin, BIG is dedicated to bringing unscripted theater to the greater community, through shows, festivals and classes.

In March they have events five days a week, sometimes more. Most shows feature more than one performer and will only set you back about $5 — a great bargain for an evening of entertainment you can chat with all of your humanities professors about.

Furthermore, if a night watching troupes like Bears Only or Plan B inspires you to get into improv yourself, BIG is hosting two Sunday night intro to improv classes this month, on March 19 and 26.

Most BIG shows take place in the conveniently located Single Carrot Theatre at 2600 N. Howard Street, across the street from the Ottobar. The walk from Shriver Hall only takes about 15 minutes.

If that’s still a bit of a stretch for you, just hop on either the Blue or Pink Route Shuttles and ride until the stop at Remington Row on 27th and Remington. From there, just round the corner to Howard street and head south for a block.

If you want an experience that’s a bit more heavy hitting, Single Carrot Theatre also hosts a number of other productions, many of which are oriented towards today’s changing political landscape.

In the month of March, Single Carrot is presenting “Undercurrent: Theatre for Now,” a series of four creator-performed shows that centers around a range of perspectives, from a Christian right It-Girl to a mixed-race nanny spending the summer in Baltimore.

Student tickets will set you back about $18, which makes Single Carrot a pricier option, but if you want to see more than one show you can buy tickets bundled and save that way.

Additionally you can spend confidently knowing that your money is going to support a local organization that helps artists’ voices be heard.

Finally if you want to experience all of the high points of live theater but are busy (too busy to leave campus) this coming weekend, for three days you have the chance to check out Edward Albee’s Zoo Story here on campus.

Albee is famed for writing popular plays such as Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and devastating one liners such as “You gotta have a swine to show you where the truffles are.”

Zoo Story will be performed at the John Astin Theatre in the Merrick Barn, located right outside of Brody’s lower entrance.

The play revolves around a man just trying to enjoy an afternoon in Central Park until a stranger shows up and takes “his attention, his afternoon, and quite possibly his bench.”

The play features two Hopkins juniors, Gabe Gaston and Isaac Lunt, and is being produced as part of the Theatre Arts & Studies minor here at Hopkins. The play starts at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 10, Saturday, March 11 and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 12.

Regardless of where you go or who you see, getting to experience a live performance is always special. Whether you’re a lifelong theater aficionado or you’re just looking for something different to do on a Saturday night, there are many fun shows for you to explore right in the neighborhood!

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