Wednesday, April 6, 2011

This North Coast Weekend

As local theatres compete for actors and audience, naturally they schedule their plays all at the same time. So after a relatively motionless March, we have the avalanche of April.

Opening Thursday (April 7) is Shakespeare’s Othello at North Coast Rep for a four-weekend run ending April 30. Director David Hamilton and actor Jabari Morgan as Othello reunite from their Shake the Bard production of this play in 2007. The cast also features Calder Johnson as Iago, Claudia Johani Guerrero as Desdemona and Ethan Edmonds as Cassio.

Also opening Thursday is the popular HSU 10 Minute Play Festival, which runs for two weekends in Gist Hall Theatre, Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30, with a Sunday matinee at 2 on April 17. It features seven student-written, directed and acted plays with the usual mix (and collision) of comedy and drama, of new takes on universal themes and up-to-the-second topical treatments. This year there’s a comedy about a guy addicted to milkshakes from Toni’s in Arcata. I’ve written more about the festival on HSU’s dime at HSU Stage & Screen.

Also on Thursday, Brooklyn's Under the Table opens Mad Dog and Big Guy Are: “In the Box” opens a three-night run at Dell’Arte’s Carlo Theatre. Two Dell’Arte grads are the clowns who enter the stage and do their best to leave, despite obstacles. Showtime Thursday though Saturday is 8 p.m.

Then on Friday (April 8), Ferndale Rep opens South Pacific for a four-weekend run, closing May 1. South Pacific is a big, colorful musical — its most recent (and award-winning) New York revival boasted a cast of 40. It’s probably unique for being a Pulitzer Prize-winning musical play based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel (by James Michener), and its Rodgers and Hammerstein songs quickly became standards in the 1950s. Its World War II story about U.S. armed forces personnel (especially lots of sailors) and the natives of a South Pacific island won praise for confronting racial issues, but in more recent years there have been complaints about racial and gender stereotypes. So navigating through all of that while preserving its romance and high spirits should be an interesting creative challenge.

I've received no photos or information on this production, but the Ferndale website flashes some photos that suggest that two of my favorite local performers, Brad Curtis and Christina Comer, are featured.

And this is just the beginning of the April avalanche. Stay tuned.

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