The Staff Players' 1998-'99 season holds some surprises.
Thursday, September 17, 1998
The 1998-''99 season announced by the Staff Players this last week is even more eclectic than usual. While the schedule reflects the theater company''s adherence to older and classic plays, the coming season offers a few twists.
As a pre-season opener, on Oct. 15, theater founder/director Marcia Gambrell Hovick, offers The Celtic World, an original, one-woman show.
"I''m going to cover some of the Celtic myths, from the dim reaches of the past, forward into the greatest of the Celtic stories, the story of Parzival," says Hovick. Parzival (or Perceval, or Parcival, depending on who''s writing the name), as you may remember, was the young man who stepped out of the forest, into a place at King Arthur''s round table and onto a path in search of the Holy Grail-at least that''s the way the Christians reworked an older version of the story.
In Hovick''s rendition of the tale, she''ll focus on the Celtic underpinnings of the tale, and will bring forward the female voices of the story.
"Parzival was an isolated, untutored country boy who went looking for the Grail," says Hovick. "The women of the story-who include his mother, the first woman he met when he emerged from the wilderness, le sorciere and his wife-in all the written versions of the story have almost nothing to say."
With Hovick, who has reworked many myths from around the world for the stage, in charge, you can bet the women will have plenty to say in this version.
The Celtic World will be presented as part of the Carmel Performing Arts Festival.
Following Celtic World''s two-week run, Staff Players opens Somerset Maugham''s The Circle on Nov. 7. And here''s where the season''s theme, "Is there a difference between the young and the old?" is revealed. In this play, a mother returns to meet her son and former husband-after having run off with her lover some 25 years earlier. Think there just might be a little tension in that reunion? You betcha.
From Dec. 4 to Dec. 20, Staff Players joins forces with the theater students of Children''s Experimental Theater in a production of Hovick''s venerable Little Angels Rest and Angels in Flight, the theater''s "traditonal, original celebration of toys and wonderment." It''s heartwarming holiday fare for the whole family.
Then, opening on Jan. 15, former Coast Weekly drama critic Philip Pearce debuts his newest play, Taking Care.
"It''s both amusing and touching," says Hovick. "It''s a very moving picture about a pair of brothers caught between the life of their brilliant, but eccentric mother-whose eyes and ears are failing-and their own children. You hear a lot about how it''s challenging to live with gifted children but what about gifted parents? And there''s a twist at the end that you don''t expect. Originally it was produced with encouragement from Lee Brady''s writing class."
The season moves back to more classical ground from Feb. 26 to March 28 with a production of Moliere''s farce, The Imaginary Invalid.
And the season finishes up with Noel Coward''s Waiting in the Wings, opening April 16, one of Coward''s puckish looks at a fictitious "great lady" of the theater. cw
Bandido! Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 8pm; Sunday, 5pm. Melodrama. El Teatro Campesino revives this musical melodrama by Luis Valdez based on the exploits of notorious Alta California bandit, Tiburcio Vasquez. El Teatro director Valdez says that without Vasquez, there would have been no Zorro, for the latter legend was based on the real-life adventures of the former, who has become a kind of cult figure in Chicano lore. Kinan Valdez plays the popular resistance fighter, Vasquez, a former resident of San Juan Bautista; Olga Lydia Urbana plays his tragic lady love, Rosario. Old Mission Pueblo, 705 4th St., San Juan Bautista. 623-2444. $12/general; $6/children; $10/seniors. Through: 9/20.
Children of Eden Friday and Saturday, 8pm; Sunday, 2pm. Musical Comedy. Called "a little bit of paradise" by critic Clive Barnes when it made its U.S. debut last year, Children of Eden is a new American musical fable exploring difficult family relationships through a creative re-telling of the Biblical stories of the Creation, Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, and Noah''s Ark. Written by Stephen Schwartz >(Pippin, Godspell) in collaboration with John Caird, co-director of Les Miserables, the play''s musical range extends from gospel to oratorio, from ballad to swing. Tom Humphrey directs a cast of 65 with Lorenzo Aragon and Anne Marie Hunter. The Western Stage, main stage of the Performing Arts Center, Hartnell College, 156 Homestead Ave., Salinas. 755-6816/375-2111. $20/general; $10/children; $18/seniors. Through: 9/20.
The Wizard of Oz Thursday through Sunday, 8pm. Musical Comedy. Judy Garland sang her way into America''s hearts in the MGM motion picture, which has become arguably the most famous family musical of all time. Pacific Repertory Theater brings all the songs, dances, and 60 munchkins to the outdoor Forest Theater stage, using the Royal Shakespeare Company''s script adaptation. Walt deFaria directs Melani Mesiroff as Dorothy, and choreographer Gloria Elber tries to keep the in-line skating monkeys from flying off the stage inadvertently. Outdoor Forest Theater, Santa Rita and Mountain View, Carmel. 622-0100. $15/general; $10/children; $10/seniors. Through: 9/20.
Always...Patsy Cline Friday and Saturday, 8pm. Musical Revue. The Western Stage brings its production of Always to The Wharf Theater, turning the stage into the Grand Ole Opry for a musical tribute to country singer Patsy Cline, who died tragically in a plane crash in 1963. Told through the eyes of her long-time pen-pal Louise Seger, this show features a live band and more than 20 of Cline''s greatest hits, including "I Fall to Pieces" and "Crazy." The Wharf Theater, Fisherman''s Wharf, Monterey. 375-2111/755-6816. $20/general; $10/children; $18/seniors. Through: 10/31.
Antony & Cleopatra Friday and Saturday, 7:30; Sunday 5pm. Drama. This production of Shakespeare''s tragic historical romance looks a lot different than the $30-million De Mille film. Innovative cutting by Dorian Ellis and PacRep Artistic Director Stephen Moorer trims the play neatly in half, leaving just seven characters and focusing on the love story rather than the wars and battles (although there are still some of those.) The story moves from Rome to Egypt as Antony pursues the woman he loves but can''t have. The performances are uniformly fine, but MaryAnn Schaupp is a stand-out as the Egyptian queen, torn between her kingdom and her lover. John Brady''s set is spectacular, featuring a giant Sphinx head, and Steve Judge''s lighting casts an appropriately moody glow. Here''s the real, human story behind Shakespeare''s words. Special $5 admission for high school students. Golden Bough Theatre, Monte Verde between 8th and 9th avenues, Carmel. 622-0700. $15/general; $10/children; $10/seniors. Through: 10/11.
Collected Stories Friday and Saturday, 8pm; Sunday, 5pm. Drama. Collected Stories, a finalist for the 1997 Pulitzer Prize, follows two women-one a successful short story writer, the other her graduate student and eventual protege- through a complicated six-year relationship that passes through adoration, betrayal and bitterness to a tragic, if not entirely unexpected, conclusion. Donald Margulies, who won the 1992 Obie for "Sight Unseen," wrote the play at the 1995 Sundance Institute Playwrights Lab. Neva Hahns and Jessamay Howell are directed by Conrad Selvig in this MPC Players production. Cherry Hall, Fourth and Guadalupe streets, Carmel. 646-9478. $12/general; $10/children; $10/seniors. Through: 9/27.
Ghost of the Ozarks Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 8pm. Melodrama. Yet another in the First Theater''s wide repertoire of 19th-century melodramas, this one was made into a John Wayne movie titled The Shepherd of the Hills. The story is set in Arkansas, but it could be anywhere USA. Plenty of hissing and booing of evil villains, weeping for maidens, and cheering of stalwart heroes.. California''s First Theater, Scott and Pacific streets, Monterey. 375-4916. $10/general; $5/children; $8/seniors. Through: 11/3.
Shimmer Saturday, 2pm; Wednesday, 7:30pm. Drama. PacRep Artistic Director Stephen Moorer performs a disturbing 75-minute monologue of an adult looking back on his experiences as a 16-year-old growing up in a Midwest home for boys. The subject matter isn''t for everyone, and it''s hard to keep audience attention fixated on the nearly-bare stage, but Moorer presents a compelling portrayal, moving back and forth in time as he recreates the brutal world of a boys'' home. Circle Theater at the Golden Bough, Casanova Street, between 8th and 9th avenues, Carmel. 622-0100. $15/general; $10/children; $10/seniors. Through: 10/7.
Strange Encounters Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 8pm; Sunday, 2pm. Drama. Third Studio and the MPC Theatre Co. present two one-act plays in the SRO. Agora, a parable of the marketplace, plays off the Faust paradigm as a traveller meets two merchants who offer love, power, desire and happiness-at a strange price. They strike a deal, but the stranger returns 20 years later, wondering whether it was such a bargain after all. The second play, The Palace, is a Patagonian folk tale about a man''s journey into the southern Andes, and the mystery he encounters there. SRO Theater at Monterey Peninsula College, 980 Fremont St., Monterey. 646-4213. $5/general; $5/children; $5/seniors. Through: 9/27.
Vivien Thursday, 7:30pm. Drama. MaryAnn Schaupp-Rousseau portrays Hollywood legend Vivien Leigh, wife to Laurence Olivier and most famous for her role as Scarlett in Gone With The Wind, in a one-woman show that leads off this year''s Pacific Repertory Theater''s Solo Series. We meet up with Leigh in 1967, as she reminisces about the various men in her life, particularly the brilliant and obsessive Olivier. Schaupp, directed by Lamont Johnson, brings Leigh to life in masterful fashion, conveying the star''s mercurial temperament as she takes us through the highs and lows of life in Hollywood''s fast lane, with all the star''s playfulness, jealousy, remorse and ultimate descent into madness. The play will appeal most to an older audience and/or theater aficionados, who will appreciate the juicy tidbits about Clark Gable''s kissing style and Olivier''s jealousy of Leigh''s first Oscar. A tour-de-force by a talented local actress. Circle Theater, downstairs, Golden Bough, Cananova between 8th and 9th, Carmel. 622-0100. $15/general; $10/children; $10/seniors. Through: 10/11.
Auditions Saturday and Sunday, 1pm. Musical Comedy. Thirteen men and 14 women, aged 17 to 61, including dancers, singers, comics and impressionists are needed for Going Hollywood, a musical comedy celebrating the Golden Age of Hollywood. Actors are needed to portray Marilyn Monroe, Laurel & Hardy, the Marx Brothers, Burt Lancaster, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Abbott & Costello and W.C. Fields, among others. Directed and conceived by Jerry DeBono, the play runs Dec. 3-20 on MPC''s Main Stage Theatre. Auditioners should be prepared to sing and dance. MPC Music Hall, Monterey Peninsula College, 980 Fremont St., Monterey. 646-4085.