Thursday, December 30, 2010

Year's End

My year end column is in this week's Journal. It's accompanied by a front page hah-hah apparently about the supposed elitism of spelling theatre with an "re," and I'm not sure why the editors chose to italicize "frontier theatre" as if I was naming a new TV show. But then, I suppose I don't understand them any better than they get me. The column selects Dell'Arte's Blue Lake: The Opera (photo above) and the HLOC's Pirates of Penzance for the most ink, mostly because they are the productions I most clearly remember. Although this was supposed to be about the calendar year, I could hardly remember last spring. Whatever. So ringing out the old, and this portentous decade. And sappy blue ear everybody.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Stage Matters?

Stage Matters from Theatre Communications Group on Vimeo.

I was on the road when "Dell'Arte" left a comment on this blog pointing me to this video, and I've only now gotten around to checking it out. It's a nice TCG piece and an appropriate video to post while I contemplate my end of the year entry in my column, which is called...wait, I know it, it's...oh yeah, Stage Matters.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

This North Coast Weekend

Second years at Dell'Arte International School present their Character Projects this weekend, 8 pm in the Carlo on Thursday (Dec. 9), Friday and Saturday.

Meanwhile, Dell'Arte's Christmas Show, The Musicians of Bremen continues on the road (Thursday at 7:30 in Scotia's Winema Theater, Friday at Orick Elementary at 6pm, Saturday in Port Orford at the Community Center at 7:30, and Sunday at Trinidad Elementary at 7:30.) Permission to revise and extend my remarks? Furthering the cartoon style theme, the old Comicolor cartoon version of the Town Musicans of Bremen has a musical score by Carl Stalling, who also did the music for the classic Warner Brothers cartoons (Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies.) This cartoon--as many Warner ones do for decades--begins a scene in the country with a bit of the beginning of Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite. In fact the Morning section of the suite is familiar to several generations mostly from these cartoons. And sure enough, the Dell'Arte show begins with this music...Coincidentally enough, this weekend (Friday and Sunday nights at 8pm in Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus), the Humboldt Symphony is playing the entire Peer Gynt Suite. Later they're joined by the Humboldt Chorale and University Singers for some bang-up orchestral and choral Christmas carols.

Also at HSU, An Evening with Rumi completes its two-weekend run (photo above) on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm in the Gist Hall Theatre. I saw it last weekend and apart from serving up more profundity per minute than any other show of the past year, it features some excellent individual performances from both familiar and unfamiliar faces. Two of the best come from the veteran Bernadette Cheyne and the youngest cast member, Erin Harris. But they aren't the only ones. There's some fine ensemble work as well. I had moments of illumination and appreciation, and I'm sure in savoring these I missed others. This is a show that would repay more than one visit. There is music, though why this play got dumped into the Music listings in the Journal I don't understand.

Also continuing this weekend: Amahl and the Night Visitors at Ferndale Rep (Thurs-Sat at 8, Sun. at 2), Charley's Aunt at North Coast Rep (Thurs-Sat at 8) and the Rialto Theatre's Inspecting Carol at the Arcata Playhouse (Fri-Sun at 8.)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

This North Coast Weekend

If you wanted one word to describe the poetry of the Sufi mystic called Rumi, it might be “praise”—for the fullness of existence and the given world. But his words can be surprising and bracing, ironic as well as ecstatic. They often get to the heart and soul of things.

Beginning Thursday at HSU, a theatre piece created by North Coast actors and musicians will use only Rumi’s words, as rendered by Coleman Barks whose The Essential Rumi and other books helped make Rumi the best-selling poet in America. The cast of students, faculty and community members chose the verses most meaningful to them, and director John Heckel guided the theatrical exploration, with music by Seabury Gould and the cast.

An Evening with Rumi runs Thursday through Saturday for the next two weekends (until Dec. 11) at 7:30 pm in the Gist Theatre, with a matinee this Sunday at 2. There’s more information (which I assembled on HSU’s dime) at HSU Stage and Screen.

Also opening this weekend is Inspecting Carol, a comedy with a Christmas theme by Dan Sullivan, produced by the new North Coast outfit called Rialto Theater Company. Directed by Samantha McLaughlin, it features Rae Robison (also costumes), JM Wilkerson, Megan Johnson, Calder Johnson (also lighting), Jennifer Trustem, Victor Howard, Chris Redd, Alex Jones, Joseph Waters, David Hamilton and Shirley Santino. Beginning Thursday, it plays for three weekends at the Arcata Playhouse, ending December 19. Info:

Humboldt Light Opera's youth Production Workshop (ages 11-18) presents A Frank Loesser Review (with music from Guys and Dolls, Most Happy Fella and other Loesser musicals) at 7:30 p.m. Friday, December 3rd and 2 p.m. Saturday, December 4th, at the Redwood Curtain Theatre in Eureka.

Then Saturday night, HLO’s female ensemble, the Babes, will perform holiday songs at the Morris Graves Museum as part of Eureka Arts Alive, 6-9 pm. Joining them will be The Babe Magnets quartet as well as featured HLOC singers Kevin Richards, Katherine Kinley and James Gadd.

And somewhere near you (if you're in Humboldt County) there will be a performance of Dell'Arte's Christmas Show, the Musicians of Bremen. I review it in this week's NC Journal, and there are lists of where the free shows will be performed at the Dell'Arte site and the Journal. Donations of canned food are accepted for distribution to local food banks.