This play by Reginald Rose adapted from his 1954 teleplay for the CBS “Studio One” anthology series depicts a jury forced to consider a homicide. The case at hand pertains to whether or not a young man is guilty of murdering his father. The story begins after closing arguments have been made, as the judge instructs the jury that a guilty verdict will mean a mandatory death sentence. At first the jurors are nearly unified in a decision of guilt, with just a single dissenter, who throughout the play sows the seed of reasonable doubt. Several of the jurors have reasons for discriminating against the defendant: his race, his background and the troubled relationship between one juror and his own son. What begins as an open-and-shut case soon becomes a detective story that presents a succession of clues creating doubt and a mini-drama of each of the jurors’ prejudices and preconceptions about the trial, the accused and each other. At Footlight Players, Feb. 2 through 11. 219/874-3377 or www.footlightplayers.org
Winter Exhibits at the Brauer Museum of Art
Drive out to Valparaiso for these excellent shows, beginning with “Overwhelming Beauty: Painting, Collage, and Sculpture by Henning Eichinger and Yvonne Kendall.” These German artists and educators present an installation that involves both two- and three-dimensional creations. “The Wonderful World of Puppetry” features marionettes by Michigan City artist and visionary Ralph Kipniss, who has inspired countless viewers both young and old with his inventiveness and technical skill. “The World’s Foremost Wood Engraver: Thomas Bewick Prints” showcases an extensive array of wood engravings by this famed printmaker from the collection of artist Tom Brand. All three exhibits run through April 1. A student coffee hour with Ralph Kipniss will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 7 in Duesenberg Recital Hall, and a gallery talk with artists Eichinger and Kendall will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 21 at 219/464-5276 or www.valpo.edu/brauer-museum-of-art/exhibitions/.
'The Unexpected Guest' at Hammond Community Theatre
On a foggy night, Michael Starkwedder enters the home of the Warwicks through a window in the study. He encounters the dead body of Richard Warwick and finds Warwick's wife, Laura, holding a gun that supposedly killed him. Despite the murder appearing to be obvious — and overwhelming evidence pointing toward it — Starkwedder does not believe she killed him. The two decide to place the blame on MacGregor, an enemy from the past whose son was run over by Richard while he was drunk. Other suspects abound throughout the drama as well. There’s nothing like a good Agatha Christie murder mystery on a cold winter night. Hammond Community Theatre takes on this time-honored production, Feb. 9 through 18. 219/852-0848 or www.hammoncommunitytheatre.org