Performing Arts (54)
Friday, 20 April 2018 20:18 Written by Erik ReeL - Arts and Culture Contributing Editor at Large
The Santa Paula Theater Center and company has launched the second play in an excellent season of tough, great theatre, with their current production of David Mamet’s legendary play, American Buffalo.
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Friday, 20 April 2018 04:36 Written by Erik ReeL - Arts and Culture Contributing Editor at Large
When it rains, it pours, they say. While we don’t get a lot of professional Shakespeare in our regional theatre, and thus one would expect there to not be much of a pool of Shakespearean actors locally, the 805 currently has two major Shakespeare plays on offer: Rubicon’s fine King Lear, and The Ojai Art Center Theater’s Macbeth. Not only that, but both productions are trying to do something new and interesting with their productions.
Lady and Macbeth. Ojai Art Center Theater in conjunction with the Ojai Performing Arts Theater's Macbeth
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Tuesday, 27 March 2018 09:39 Written by Erik ReeL - Arts and Culture Contributing Editor at Large
King Lear at Rubicon
King Lear is one of Shakspeare’s greatest plays, some say greatest. People usually do Lear because they want to do something with it. Like Wagner’s Ring, Shakespeare’s Lear has, in modern times, become a formidable vehicle for taking a production to the limits. This usually means something in terms of either its direction, staging, or acting, or some combination or all three. Rubicon accordingly tries a lot of different things with this ambitious production in a well-worth seeing Lear.
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Monday, 12 February 2018 15:36 Written by Erik ReeL - Arts and Culture Contributing Editor at Large
Wrongs of the Righteous
Anthony Giardina’s timely play, The City of Conversation, now playing at Santa Barbara’s ETC, traces the story of a fictional Washington D.C. political doyen, Hester Ferris, pushing American politics Pamela Harriman-style, behind the scenes in her dining and drawing rooms, across four decades and many more presidential regimes. It is in many ways a difficult play to pull off, in spite of its many funny lines, and pertinent content.
This ETC production fairs better than most, in large part thanks to Sharon Lawrence’s superb rendering of Hester Ferris, its lead character. In a sense, the main reason to watch this play is to see Lawrence work her magic.
Monday, 12 February 2018 10:33 Written by Erik ReeL - Arts and Culture Contributing Editor at Large
Steven Dietz's This Random World at SPTC
Santa Paula Theatre Center kicks off its 2018 season with a wonderfully good production of Steven Dietz's This Random World. SPTC produced Dietz's Becky's New Car last season as well; but these are two very different plays with little in common except Dietz's genius for fascinating female parts; a beautifully controlled, understated sense of humor; terrific writing; and Dietz's particularly good-hearted, slightly off-kilter somewhat philosophical bent.
Scott Blanchard (L) and Aileen-Marie (R)
Monday, 13 November 2017 23:18 Written by Erik ReeL - Arts and Culture Contributing Editor at Large
First, let us hear it for doing new theatre, new scripts, producing local playwrights’ new plays, or more courageously yet, workshopping new plays. Plays do not bloom, full-grown, out of the head of Zeus. As they say in Silicon Valley, if you are not doing something new, you have no future.
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Monday, 13 November 2017 22:30 Written by Erik ReeL - Arts and Culture Contributing Editor at Large
Rubicon Theatre in Ventura’s downtown cultural district is doing Sir Ronald Harwood’s Taking Sides through 12 November 2017. Harwood did The Pianist and has repeatedly shown interest in World War II-related moral dilemmas. Taking Sides fits right in. It’s basically a military tribunal “trial” by the American occupation command in Berlin of Wilhelm Furtwangler, the great German conductor who stayed in Nazi Germany throughout the Nazi era and World War II.
Patrick Vest as Major Arnold, Tara Donovan as Emmi Straube and Peter Van Norden as German composer Wilhelm Furtwängler in Taking Sides by Academy Award-Winner Sir Ronald Harwood and directed by Ovation Award-winner Stephanie Coltrin.
Photo Credit: Josh and Veronica Slavin
Photo Credit: Josh and Veronica Slavin
Monday, 16 October 2017 07:00 Written by Erik ReeL - Arts and Culture Contributing Editor at Large
Flying H Does Blackbird
Ventura is getting a special treat: Two of the 805’s best acting talents, Jessi May Stevenson and Taylor Kasch, are teaming up to do David Harrower’s Blackbird, one of the most remarkable plays written in decades.
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Saturday, 23 September 2017 06:28 Written by
Beyond The 805
Los Angeles Opera
James Conlon’s Sensuous Carmen
His love affair with Carmen began at the age of 13 for Los Angeles Opera conductor and formidable company mentor James Conlon, who has conducted Bizet’s popular masterpiece dozens of times in other cities, but never before in the city of angels. Singing in the children’s chorus as a kid, Conlon explained during a pre-performance chat to about 200 in the Music Center’s Grand Lobby, he apparently couldn’t help himself and was told repeatedly to please stop conducting during Act IV while on-stage. Thus, a natural conductor was born. Los Angeles Opera’s Carmen, which runs through October 1st at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Music Center, is guided heart and soul by the seasoned artistic provenance of James Conlon.
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Friday, 22 September 2017 22:43 Written by Erik ReeL - Arts and Culture Contributing Editor at Large
Rubicon theatre presents a fabulous West Coast premiere of Nick Payne’s Incognito. Runnng 90 minutes without intermission, the play was originally commissioned and performed by Nabokov and Live Theatre, in Newcastle, UK in 2014 and opened in the US 3 May, 2016 at the Manhattan Theatre Club.
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Wednesday, 06 September 2017 19:44 Written by
Becky’s New Car
The Santa Paula Theatre Company is currently offering a delightful production of Steven Dietz’s Becky’s New Car, an easy-going farce written for a tight ensemble.
The play is set in summer “in a town very much like Seattle …” and is about a fairly normal middle-class woman, Becky, in a conventional ho-hum marriage. Becky works in an auto dealership while her husband, Joe, runs a roofing business. One day a somewhat disconnected, eccentric billionaire, Walter Flood, enters her office and through a misunderstanding offers Becky the possibility of a somewhat parallel existence.
(l)Scott Blanchard, Cynthia Killion, and Ronald Rezac in Steven Dietz' hilarious comedy BECKY'S NEW CAR playing through October 1 at the Santa Paula Theater Center.
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