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Aug 01st
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Theatre

A&E - Theater

In the Moment

In the Moment

Area theater troupes gear up for annual Santa Cruz Improv Fest

There’s one story that I must tell you, and I always quote this,” says Gerry Orton, who begins telling a story about Keith Johnstone, a pioneer of improvisational theater. “He was in San Francisco, and I was taking a workshop from him—this was several years ago—and on the evening of a performance while he was there, he was interviewed on stage by a teacher of improv. The teacher said, ‘Keith, why do you still do it after all these years? Why do you still travel the world and teach?’ And his answer was, ‘Because I still don’t understand it.’” Orton lets out a knowing laugh. “And that’s so true.”

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A&E - Theater

A Pinteresque Pairing

A Pinteresque Pairing

Two local theater companies collaborate to produce two one-act plays by the late playwright Harold Pinter

If what isn’t said speaks louder than what is said, then Harold Pinter’s work shouts volumes. And to explore the voluminous meaning between the late playwright’s lines, two local theater companies have banded together this season.

Jewel Theatre Company, in collaboration with Shakespeare Santa Cruz, presents two one-act plays by Pinter: “One for the Road” and “The Lover.” The show opens on Friday, April 26 at Center Stage in Santa Cruz. There will be one discount preview showing on Thursday, April 25.

Marco Barricelli, artistic director of Shakespeare Santa Cruz, is directing “One for the Road” and Julie James, artistic director of Jewel Theatre Company, is directing “The Lover”—marking the first time that the two companies have come together to collaborate on a production. Featured performers include James, Mike Ryan and Paul Whitworth.

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A&E - Theater

"Beach Blanket Babylon' (Still) Sizzles

Iconic San Francisco revue continues to improve with age

There are very few theatrical productions that make it to middle-age. Thankfully, “Beach Blanket Babylon,” which turns 39 this summer, is one of them. In fact, the revered San Francisco spectacle is the country’s longest-running revues.

That’s a terrific testament to the legacy that the late- Steve Silver left behind. Silver launched “BBB” back in the ’70s and the show immediately turned heads with its show-stopping musical parodies and clever plot—a whiny Snow White desperately searching for a Prince Charming. That may have been enough to lure audiences in initially, but Silver and his creative team went a step beyond, always updating the show by infusing it with a delicious gluttony of current events.

This is evident in the revue's latest incarnation—a nonstop powerhouse of sheer brilliance that majestically surfs the peculiar waves of pop culture, scoops up as many headline-grabbers as it can and feasts on their absurdities.

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A&E - Theater

Channeling Casals

Channeling Casals

Israeli musician Amit Peled brings famous cello to Aptos

Amit Peled has many blessings in his life. He’s an accomplished cellist and conductor, and has performed in top venues throughout the world. At 28, he became the youngest professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where he and his wife are raising three children. And twice in his life, once when he was a boy and again as a man, his life’s path was altered by a man he never met: the preeminent cellist of the 20th century, the late Pablo Casals.

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A&E - Theater

Good Bet

Good Bet

Performances highlight JTC’s revival of ‘Horse Dreamer’

Now in its eighth season, Jewel Theatre Company continues to produce quality professional theatre right in the heart of Downtown Santa Cruz. Spearheaded by Artistic Director Julie James, and making use of an ever-expanding gene pool of directors, performers and stage technicians, the company keeps local audiences intrigued with its lineup of often challenging, unexpected material. Case in point is the new JTC production of “Geography of a Horse Dreamer,” a lesser-know drama by the iconic Sam Shepard that considers the plight of the artist in a world of commerce, the vagaries of luck, and (as usual, for Shepard) the spectacle of men behaving badly.

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A&E - Theater

Terrific Tens

Terrific Tens

18th annual 8 Tens @ Eight one of the best ever

The philosophy behind Santa Cruz Actors' Theatre's annual short play festival, 8 Tens @ Eight, has always been what I call the Bus Theory: if one play doesn't get you where you want to go, there'll be another one along in 10 minutes. What's great about this year's festival is the quality of the plays overall is so high. Not one of this year's eight 10-minute plays ever runs completely out of gas; all are well-written, well-acted, and cleverly staged, and most have a story arc that delivers the viewer to a valid destination.

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A&E - Theater

Embracing Strength

Embracing Strength

New performance piece at Motion at the Mill explores how limitations can create opportunity

The first thing you should know about “Your Body is Not a Shark” is that it is not about triumphing against impossible odds. “This isn’t a piece about Joan [Jeanrenaud] and Denise [Leto] and their conditions, nor is it a piece about heroically overcoming these things,” says choreographer Cid Pearlman, referring to her collaborators on the performance piece, who grapple with multiple sclerosis and laryngeal dystonia, respectively. “It’s a piece that’s about the possibilities for generating creativity within limitation—we want to be careful not to create a false heroic narrative.”

“Your Body is Not a Shark” encompasses dance, live music, and sound collage, and runs Jan. 17-20 at Motion at the Mill. Examining the creative process through the prism of physical limitation and difference, the production is choreographed by Pearlman, with an original score composed by Joan Jeanrenaud, text by poet Denise Leto, and musical direction by Maya Barsacq.

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A&E - Theater

O Unholy Night

O Unholy Night

Cabrillo Stage shakes up the season with a Marx Brothers-inspired holiday hootenanny

Breaking with traditional Christmas sentimentality, the musical farce “A Night at the Nutcracker,” takes its inspiration from classic Marx Brothers’ comedies, and imagines what might happen if, behind the scenes of “The Nutcracker Ballet,” a villainous thief plotted to make off with the money for the show, and the Marx Brothers—Groucho, Chico and Harpo—arrived to save the day. 

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A&E - Theater

The Quack Pack

The Quack Pack

Shakespeare Santa Cruz’s ‘Ugly Duckling’ revamp promises to entertain and inspire

Anyone who has ever felt left out, or survived high school for that matter, will appreciate Shakespeare Santa Cruz’s holiday show, “Honk!” The charming and heartfelt production is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale, “The Ugly Duckling.”

“Essentially it’s a great allegory for bullying,” says actress Megan Smith, who stars as Ida, the duckling’s mother. “Being a person who is different from the dominant culture, how it affects your home and social life, and how to deal with that.”

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A&E - Theater

Laughing Through The Tears

Laughing Through The Tears

Cabrillo’s ‘Black Snow’ puts protagonist through series of unfortunate events; hilarity ensues

Reality and satire are the same,” said dissenting Soviet writer Vladimir Voinovich in reference to his country.

“I thought that was a great quote,” says David Ohanesian, dramaturg at Cabrillo College Theater Arts. “It made me think about today in the United States, and I was thinking about how many of us get our news and our sense of American life through satiric comedies these days—and how it almost makes it easier to swallow the indignities.”

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Health Screening

Santa Cruz wellness expert releases app to improve workplace well-being

 

Leo Sun; Full Moon, Venus Retro in Leo; Saturn Direct

It’s a complex week of planetary movements, challenges, demands and callings. We’re in the time of the Leo Sun. Leo—fixed fire, gold, the heart, generous, strong, noble, the king/queen—needs appreciation and praise from everyone in order to move forward. During Leo we gain a greater sense of self-identification by recognizing our creativity. It’s therefore a perfect time for Venus retrograding in Leo. In Venus retrograde we review and re-assess values. Venus retro in Leo concerns our self as valuable, acknowledging talents, gifts, abilities and offerings. Friday, Venus re-enters Leo (29 degrees, a critical degree) continuing the retrograde to 14 degrees Leo on Sept. 6. Friday (Full Moon) is also the (8 degrees) Leo solar festival, Festival of the Future. Leo is the heart of the sun, the heart of all that matters. When attuned to this heart, we have understanding and inclusivity. The heart of the Lion is Mitra (think “Maitreya,” the coming World Teacher). Leo prepares humanity to receive divine love from subtle sources and later to radiate that love to the kingdoms. Sirius, Ray 2, where love originates, streams through Regulus (heart of Leo), into the heart of the sun (Ray 2) and into all hearts. The heart of Leo is Regulus. Joining Venus, the love underlying all of creation appears. Saturday is Sun/Neptune (confusion or devotion) with late night Saturn turning stationary direct. Ideas, plans and structures held long in abeyance (since March 14) slowly move forward. (Read more on Leo and the week at nightlightnews.org and Risa D’Angeles’ Facebook page, accessed through my website.)

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 31

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Holy Cannoli

New bakery opens in Ben Lomond, plus Randall Grahm’s quest to grow 10,000 new grape varieties, and Mexican cooking classes

 

Is Santa Cruz turning into Malibu North?

It's got a ways to go before it gets wrecked like Malibu, but I think we need to be very careful about growth. Maria Mattioli, Santa Cruz, Psychotherapist

 

Bargetto Winery

A much-anticipated annual event at Bargetto Winery is the release of their very special La Vita red wine. June 7 was the day to be heralded this year, and I happily squeezed my car into their overloaded car park in eager anticipation of tasting the new La Vita nectar.

 

Margaritaville

Popular Capitola spot gets new owner and complete makeover