Thursday, June 24, 2010

This North Coast Weekend

Dell’Arte celebrates its host city’s centennial with Blue Lake: The Opera to start off the Mad River Festival on Thursday (June 24.) Set in 1910, when Blue Lake really had an opera house, this sounds like a collision of comic opera and the usual Dell’Arte summer silliness. Inspired by actual historical context, with story and libretto by Lauren Wilson, music by Tim Gray, and directed by Michael Fields, it features a couple of authentic opera singers (David Powell and Emily Windler) mixing it up with the Dell’Arte gang. It’s performed at 8 pm out back in the Rooney Amphitheatre, Thursday through Saturdays this weekend and next. They promise no chickens will be harmed.

The Prize of Hope, a kind of international lifetime achievement award for live theatre as a popular and accessible art form, will be presented at Dell’Arte this Saturday as part of the annual Mad River Festival. Given annually by Denmark’s Institute for Popular Theatre in partnership with Dell’Arte, its presentation alternates between the two hosts. Not only is the presentation here this year, but the prize is being given to a local Lost Coast ensemble called Human Nature, and its founders, David Simpson and Jane Lapiner.

Known for environmentally-oriented shows Queen Salmon, The Wolf at the Door and What’s Funny About Climate Change, Human Nature will perform an excerpt from its work in progress, Two Old Birds or Tripping on the Tipping Point, as part of the presentation program and dinner on July 26, beginning at 4 pm. I wrote more about Human Nature in the NC Journal this week.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Congrats to Tony Winners

Congratulations to Viola Davis and Denzel Washington, winners of Best Actress and Best Actor in leading roles for August Wilson's Fences, which itself won for best play revival. It was also a good night for Arthur Miller, rock & roll and movie stars. Congrats to all the winners.

Here's a review of the New York Fences production. And speaking of August Wilson, a review of this spring's re-staging of Wilson's Jitney in Pittsburgh. The last production there was one of the last times I saw August Wilson--he was in town to do some rewrites of this play, his actual first. Then we saw him again after opening night. Both plays are set in Pittsburgh, as are all but one of his 10 play cycle.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

This North Coast Weekend

Dell'Arte School grad and now teacher Gale McNeeley returns to the Arcata Playhouse after 30 years (when it housed the Pacific Arts Center) to present his one-person play, archy and mehitabel, based on the Don Marquis characters, on Saturday June 12 at 8 p.m.

Ferndale Rep's Same Time Next Year (which I reviewed in the Journal) and North Coast Rep's Gypsy play Friday and Saturday at 8, with the Ferndale comedy also performed on Sunday afternoon at 2.