Odd Couplings

Werewolves and muses. Pokémon and gospel. Russian songs and a meeting of Gandhi and Hitler. Not your usual pairings. But that’s exactly what Cleveland’s latest experimental theater series has on the menu.

OddyFest, created by Solon native Matt Greenfield, presents two original stage productions from local playwrights back-to-back on odd Fridays each month.

“It’s risky to step outside the box and make your own series of boxes,” Greenfield says, explaining that the series’ lack of definition or identifiable themes has become its cornerstone as it enters its sophomore year.

So Ian Fleming fans might be surprised later this month when a parody of James Bond gets coupled with a Michael Oatman drama about Roe v. Wade.

Greenfield’s spy piece, one of nine plays he wrote shortly after receiving a master’s in education from John Carroll University, draws on his love of the 20-plus movies about Britain’s top secret agent. But Greenfield’s leading man turns the idea of the witty, dashing, debonair super-spy on its head.

“You never see Bond with a beard, you never see Bond as a feminist,” Greenfield says, “In one scene, he’s more interested in his book than in a pretty girl. This Bond is a goofball.”

OddyFest’s twist this time around is that both Greenfield’s and Oatman’s plays feature a special agent.

Oatman’s drama pits a federal law enforcement officer against a pro-choice college professor. Greenfield hopes seeing a similar type of character in two very different scenarios will interest audiences.

“It’s taking these plays out of the drawer,” he says. “It’s an experiment with the theatrical product.”

Check out Secret Agent Men Jan. 15 and 29 at the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Main Library. For more information, call 216-926-8641.
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