Thursday, June 19, 2008

This North Coast Weekend: Tim Robbins and More

Also on Saturday, Dell'Arte's Mad River Festival gets started with an appearance by Hollywood’s Tim Robbins and several other members of The Actors’ Gang, an LA-based theatre group, to receive the international Prize of Hope. Denmark’s Institute of Popular Theatre has been giving this award since 1987, mostly to European ensembles, but in 2005 it was presented to Dell’Arte. This year the Denmark organization asked Dell’Arte to select another U.S. winner and present the award here.

The award recognizes a person or theatre working “for human hope in a daring, loving, vulgar, serious, poetic manner with sparkling energy. It is given to those who encourage people to use their own eyes, ears and voice.” Dell’Arte selected The Actors’ Gang for its “powerful combination of contemporary immediacy, public engagement and great theatrical craft,” (said Dell’Arte’s Producing Artistic Director Michael Fields in a formal statement.) Plans are for the award to alternate annually between Denmark and Blue Lake.

The event Saturday begins at 6 pm with a catered dinner in the street and a speech by Tim Robbins in the Carlo Theatre. Seats are limited and admission is pricey ($75 to $150, since it partly a fundraiser.) But beginning at 8:30 pm, the event moves out back to the amphitheatre where the Joyce Hough band will perform and the award will actually be presented. Admission to the outdoor component is $15.

Most of us know Tim Robbins as an actor in such popular films as The Shawshank Redemption and Bull Durham, but he’s also directed two of the more intriguing political films to come out of Hollywood in the 90s or since: the all-too-prophetic Bob Roberts (1992) and The Cradle Will Rock, (1999) about a forgotten moment in 1930s America when art and social awareness came together, and were quickly forced to go their separate ways.

Robbins and friends started The Actors’ Gang in 1981, and have adapted, created and performed some 70 plays since, including their current production based on George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four.” Let’s hope they enjoy their visit enough to bring a production up here.

Also this weekend: Humboldt Pride presents The Laramie Project as a benefit for the 2008 Pride Parade and Festival, at the Arcata Playhouse June 18th-21st and again next weekend, the 25th through the 28th. Benefit tickets are sliding scale from $20-$30, students $15, from the Arcata Playhouse at 822-1575.

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