Leave the whining at home

By By Lisa Anderson

By Lisa Anderson

It’s a good thing the evening is about having fun and laughing, because you have to be able to laugh at Utah’s liquor laws in order to survive here.

Pygmalion Productions’ plan to host an evening of “Wine and One Acts” at the Rose Wagner Center today will in actuality be an evening of one-act plays and?sparkling cider. The producers of the event shake their heads and chuckle at the absurdity of the laws, which prohibit them from serving wine without charge to their audience members, but plow gleefully ahead with the revised plan for an evening of good cheer.

“The goal is to put a smile on people’s faces and have a lot of fun,” said Reb Fleming, one of Pygmalion’s founders.

In 1998, she and Nancy Roth gave birth to their shared dream: a theater company lacking all the fuss and fluff of musicals, but instead infused with the heart and soul of women — the strengths that make them shine and the choices that define them.

“Pygmalion offers theater from a decidedly feminine point of view — not feminist, but with strong female roles, strong female actors and very often strong female directors,” said Fleming.

“Much of what we do is edgy, with themes of sexuality and aging,” she said.

Fleming herself is a strong and vibrant personality who has directed many productions during Pygmalion’s nearly 10 years.

So far, Pygmalion Productions has been kept running by pouring ticket revenue back into the business, as well as relying on the generosity of many wonderful people. Until now, this has been enough, but the company is ready to ask patrons to give them a boost. “Wine and One Acts” will therefore be a fund-raising event.

The first one-act, “Chicks,” is a hysterical one-woman show written by Grace McKeaney and directed by Fleming. Barbara Gandy takes on the role of the show’s one woman.

Gandy plays a kindergarten teacher who has gone slightly out of her mind, which isn’t much of a stretch at the moment since Gandy is directing the second one act, Christopher Durang’s “For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls,” in real life.

Durang is a company favorite, and this remake of Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie” is delightfully inappropriate.

These two plays will bookend a reception in which patrons will, at least, be able to get drunk on each other’s company and on the festive atmosphere — a great reward for a contribution to a great cause.

Opening tonight, this fund-raiser runs until April 28 at the Rose Wagner Center. Tickets are $25 each.