Wednesday, February 26, 2014

This North Coast Weekend

On Thursday at 7:30 in the Gist Hall Theatre, HSU opens Spinning Into Butter by Rebecca Gilman, directed by Cassandra Hesseltine.  Of Gilman, British drama critic Michael Billington wrote, “It is rare to find an American playwright dealing with ideas as well as emotions.” Gilman’s latest play, about a social worker deciding who gets custody of a drug addict’s baby, is currently in its premiere production at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. But Spinning Into Butter is the play that first made Gilman’s reputation.

At first with humor but then very directly, it tackles the twin themes of unconscious racial bias and political correctness on a college campus. After a highly successful premiere in 1999, it became the third most produced play across the U.S. through the following year. How pertinent it is today will probably be a subject of the discussion held after the play next Thursday (March 6.) led by Ramona Bell from the HSU Department of Critical Race, Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Director Cassandra Hesseltine (actor, teacher, director for North Coast theatre and elsewhere) is currently Humboldt-Del Norte Film Commissioner. “Being half Mexican has given me certain experiences while being half white has given me others,” Hesseltine said. “I’ve drawn on both for this play.”

 The actors are Mary May, Giovanni Alva, Cody Miranda, Nadia Adame, Keith Brown, Galen Poulton and Indiana Steinkamp. Scenic design is by Jared Sorensen, lighting by Andrew Buderi, sound by Christopher Joe, makeup by Anna Duchi and Erin Henry. Spinning Into Butter is performed at HSU for two weekends: Thursdays-Saturdays Feb. 27-March 1, March 6-8 at 7:30 p.m., with a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. on March 9. 826-3928,

At Dell’Arte, Ronlin Foreman brings back his acclaimed solo comedy Pigeon Show (A Play of Fools), February 27-March 1 at 8 p.m. in the Carlo.  Ronlin, a teacher at the Dell’Arte School, portrays five characters in a physical theatre presentation that’s been called amusing and disturbing.

“Foreman has brilliantly conceived and masterfully portrays five characters who play (some tragically) with themes of fear, anguish, and the uncertainties of being hysterical,” says Dell’Arte Founding Artistic Director Joan Schirle. “He’s been called an ‘Infectious Fool’, and ‘Inspired Lunatic’, and a ‘Clown Extraordinaire.’ This original piece of theatre by one of the most gifted performers of the generation of Movement Artists should not be missed.” Appropriate for all ages, but most suitable for adult audiences. (707) 668-5663,

The comedy Making God Laugh continues at Redwood Curtain.  Beti Trauth reviews it at Tri-City Weekly.

No comments: