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Performing Arts

Performing Arts (53)

 

American Buffalo 2
 
Theatre
Review
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.
 
 
 
Lady and Macbeth
Theatre
Review
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 MacbethOjai Art Center Theater in conjunction with the Ojai Performing Arts Theater's Macbeth
 
 
  
 
KINGLEAR TITLEBAR
Theatre
Review
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.
 
THE CITY OF CONVERSATION 2
Theatre
Review
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.
 
 
WEB 02
Theatre
Review
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)

 
directing hamlet 2Review-
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.
 
 
 
 
TAKING SIDES 2Review-
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
 
 
 
 
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