Here’s an update with some of the stuff I’ve been writing about recently:
Annual Comedy One Acts (short) – One Acts @ Sacramento Theatre Workshop, 2/7/13 (3/5)
No cause for rejoicing – A Life @ Celebration Arts, 2/7/13 (2/5)
Roasted Peanuts – Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead @ EMH Productions, 2/21/13 (3/5)
Scar Treatment – This Vicious Minute @ KOLT Run Creations, 3/7/13 (5/5)
Love letter to Sac – As You Like It @ Big Idea Theatre, 3/14/13 (5/5)
It’s been a while since I’ve updated, and I had some wonderful shows come up recently. Here are some links to the most recent reviews I’ve done for SN&R.
Needs more than heart - Annie @ Runaway Stage, 11/15/12 (3/5)
Scary Christmas fun - A Christmas Carol @ Sac Theatre Company, 12/06/12 (5/5)
Holiday on stage, 12/13/12
The year of magical stages, 12/20/12
Heretic, repent! – New Jerusalem @ Big Idea Theatre, 1/17/13 (4/5)
Keep on keepin’ on, y’all.
Going through a childhood home after a parent’s death is always difficult. When there’s a complicated past between siblings, the process has a way of dragging all the skeletons out of the closet.
B Street Theatre tackles this subject with masterful storytelling and a vivid, sensual stage as Buck Busfield directs one of Arthur Miller’s lesser well-known plays, The Price.
It’s been 16 years since Victor (David Pierini) and Walter’s (Brian Dykstra) parents passed away, and now they must come to terms with their pasts—lives that were affected directly by the aftermath of the stock-market crash and the Great Depression. Victor’s unhappy wife, Esther (Elisabeth Nunziato), and an ancient antique salesman, Gregory Solomon (David Silberman), join the fray, and soon, every party’s vested interest makes his or her words and actions suspect.
Thankfully, the cast is small and all more than capable of their roles. The dialogue fits the characters onstage perfectly, most especially with Silberman’s portrayal of the stereotypically Jewish Solomon.
Samantha Reno’s stage takes up an entire wall, creating and using higher set pieces. Both bric-a-brac and treasures litter the stage, from a harp to a pair of dueling foils. The mess it creates is the perfect backdrop for the events of the play.
Anyone who has seen the emotional wreckage this process can inflict will be able to understand the play’s subtleties and feel real, honest sympathy for the characters. People who have not yet gone through this process may also learn a valuable lesson about the importance of family in the long term.
The Price, 7 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday; 2 and 7 p.m. Thursday; 7 p.m. Friday; 8 p.m. Saturday; 1 p.m. Sunday. $23-$35. B Street Theatre, 2711 B Street; (916) 443-5300; www.bstreettheatre.org. Through November 3.
It’s been a while since I’ve updated my portfolio with new work. I’ve been super busy with school, so here’s a breakdown of recent articles:
Green Valley Theatre’s Bullshot Crummond and the Invisible Bride of Death
Fair Oaks Theatre Festival’s Willy Wonka
Preview of New Helvetia’s New Works Festival
Big Idea Theatre’s Red Herring
EMH Productions’ My Fellow Creatures
Capital Stage’s Enron
I’ll keep the posts coming, you keep reading!
The King Stag; 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $5-$15. Falcon’s Eye Theatre at Three Stages in Folsom, 10 College Parkway, Folsom; (916) 608-6800,http://www.falconseyetheatre.com. Through May 13.
It’s a big hit of magic from Folsom Lake College’s Falcon’s Eye Theatre in this production Carlo Gozzi’s The King Stag, adapted by Shelley Berc and Andrei Belgrader. Jamie Van Camp directs the commedia dell’arte piece, a throwback to when actors used masks and the physical comedy was rife with irreverent humor.
The plot of the play centers on a king (Ross Branch) who is trying to find an honest bride. After searching thousands of applicants, the king chooses one that truly loves him. When his mischievous right-hand man, Tartaglia (Michael Spargo), learns a secret spell that allows the user to swap bodies with a corpse, the kingdom is thrown into chaos.
Every facet of this show shines with talent. The costumes and set—especially the light work (designed by Les Solomon)—create a wonderfully immersive atmosphere for the audience to sink into. The masks are all well made and suit the characters well.
The production is full of excellent comic performances, but most notable are the hilariously voiced Pantalone (Ben Schilling) and the slapstick trio of Brighella (Gaby Haught), Smeraldina (Chloe Cornelius) and Truffaldino (Gavin Sellers). It also features a truly sweet romance between the king and his queen, Pantalone’s daughter, Angela (Matti McKenzie).
The King Stag is a perfect opportunity to see an ancient style of theatre—one that proves fart jokes and tumbling remain as funny now as they were hundreds of years ago, but also ends with a message of tolerance and love.
Sorrows and Rejoicings; 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday; $8-$15. Celebration Arts Theatre, 4469 D St.; (916) 455-2787;www.facebook.com/CelebrationArts. Through May 26.
Apartheid in South Africa is a topic that, for many, hits home hard. The 1990 release of Nelson Mandela signaled a key shift in the country’s political structure and what would happen later in South Africa under to his presidency. Celebration Arts’ current production, the legendary Athol Fugard’s somewhat problematic 2001 play Sorrows and Rejoicings, takes place in 1999 and deals with the social changes that came from the years during and after apartheid ended. James Wheatley directs.
The story centers on the deceased white liberal poet Dawid (Jeff Bagley) and his two lovers: his white English wife, Allison (Carolyn Gregory), and his black African mistress, Marta (Alana Mathews). They must discuss their intertwined lives, connected through Dawid, in flashbacks, and must also accept the fate of the political actions and racial divisions that forced them all apart.
Mathews takes the cake as Dawid’s mistress, having a neurotic knack for keeping his room exactly as he left it. All players give impassioned performances, including the nearly mute, light-skinned illegitimate daughter, Rebecca (La Keisha Star Mondy).
Gregory’s posh Englishwoman is evident in the character: the clothes she wears, the words and manner in which she talks. Everything shouts “English.” Unfortunately, both Gregory and Bagley’s English accents leave everything to be desired. When accents are good, they add another layer to the play. When they are bad, they detract severely enough that scenes drag persistently and the actors’ performance suffers.
Nonetheless, this Fugard one-act is a powerful statement about the affairs of South Africa, and one that deserves to be seen.
Originally published in SN&R on 4/26/12.
What’s the point of a hat without a feather? Might as well have a bare head.
Zoot Suit; 6:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. $8-$12. CSUS Department of Theatre and Dance, 6000 J Street in the University Theatre; (916) 278-6368;www.csus.edu/dram. Through April 22.
Related upcoming events:
Sac State festival spotlights arts
Call for pricing, Sacramento State, 6000 J St. (916) 278-6502
A zoot suit is vivid. The colorful and conspicuous ensemble includes baggy pants, oversized jacket, dangling chains, pointy Italian shoes and a matching felt hat replete with a long feather.
Luis Valdez uses the image and powerful emotions associated with the style for the name of his 1978 masterwork Zoot Suit, with music by Lalo Guerrero. The production currently playing at Sacramento State’s University Theatre is a collaboration between the Theatre and Dance Department and Teatro Espejo.
Manuel Jose Pickett directs the huge cast—his farewell to the Chicano theater program as he retires after 32 years—and the production shines with living memory of both the style of dress and the issues that inspired the zoot-suit riots in 1940s Los Angeles.
The story follows the fate of Henry “Hank” Reyna (Jose Perales) and his personified zoot-suit id, credited only as El Pachuco (Martin J. Rodriguez). A minor gang scuffle ends with Hank and his friends being tried for a murder they didn’t commit.
The true impact of this production lies in the costumes. Designer Audrey Walker brings to life the detailed pachuco “drapes” and iconic ’40s fashion.
Rodriguez captures the audience before a word is spoken when he steps onstage and slowly dresses himself in pachuco armor. His black attire contrasts excellently with Hank’s white. Perales plays Hank with conviction and takes the audience through the trials of an oppressed and indignant defendant.
Big laughs came from many onstage, but standout comic timing lives in the 38th Street Gang’s lawyer, George Shearer (Antonio Tito Juarez) and Hank’s ebullient father Enrique (Alan Arroyo).
The large cast keeps the setting and place concrete for the audience. El Pachuco leads three Pachuca Singers (Bethany Beam, Jenna Cedusky, Rebecca Yarbrough) in swing-dance numbers that envelop the stage in dancing.
Luis Valdez’s work stands as a testament to the misrepresentation and stereotyping of Latino youth and their culture. Sac State’s execution captures that message, creating a visual atmosphere rife with unrest and frustration.
Originally published on SN&R - http://bit.ly/HLM4hE