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June 16, 2005
by ELLIN BELTZ
IN YET ANOTHER feather for Dell'Arte's
well decorated headdress, the company has just received the 7th
annual Otto Rene Castillo Award for Political Theatre along with
two other companies, one from New York City and the other from
The Otto comes at an opportune
time, because over the next fortnight Dell'Arte hosts the first
ever Ensemble Theatre Festival, a project of the Network of Ensemble
Theaters, bringing together 14 touring companies from across
the U.S. for a spectacular series of performances running Tuesday,
June 21 to Sunday, June 26, with shows at Dell'Arte in Blue Lake
and at Humboldt State University.
"This is the kind of cutting
edge theater that people would go all the way to New York to
see, and here it is in Humboldt County," said Dell'Arte's
producing artistic director, Michael Fields.
The festival begins next Tuesday,
June 21, with a sold out performance of Dell'Arte's sexy homegrown
comedy, The Golden State. Playwright Lauren Wilson
reworked the classic Molière farce about a miser and his
tortured children, casting the company's founding artistic director,
Joan Schirle, as a miserly widow surrounded by the products of
her obsession. [photo
at right] Local audiences have
the privilege of attending a pre-fest run this weekend, Friday
through Sunday, June 17-19 at the Carlo Theatre in Blue Lake.
Reservations are strongly recommended for the three shows; showtime
is at 8 p.m.
The festival also includes the
world premier of a new piece by the San Francisco Mime Troupe.
Based on John Perkins' best-selling book, Confessions of an
Economic Hit Man, Doing Good is a political
comedy exploring American influence in global affairs and the
apparent contradiction that the more we try to do for them the
more they hate us. Learn why through the hysterically twisted
mirror of this internationally acclaimed theater company which,
contrary to some expectations, talks, sings and wails. Doing
Good runs twice at Dell'Arte's Rooney Amphitheatre: Thursday,
June 23 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, June 25 at 3:30 p.m.
Another San Francisco-based
company, Campo Santo, offers Fist of Roses,
a play using music, dance and human beat-boxing to examine
the roots of domestic violence. Performances are on Wednesday
and Thursday, June 22 and 23, at 9 p.m. in Dell'Arte's Carlo
All the way from Manhattan,
SITI Company presents Death and the Ploughman,
written in 1401 by Johannes Von Saaz. Having lost his cherished
wife, a bereaved husband challenges Death for an explanation.
The age of the piece vanishes because people face the same issues,
sorrows and pains every day in the modern world. The play is
described as haunting, physical, humorous and precise by other
reviewers. See for yourself at HSU's Van Duzer Theatre on Wednesday,
June 22, at 7 p.m.
From Theatre Grottesco and Sideshow
Physical Theatre comes Dream Inside Another,
a merger of dance and theater with Latin American
magic realism based on stories by Isabel Allende, running Thursday,
June 23 at 3:45 p.m. in the Van Duzer.
From Austin, Texas, comes Rude
Mechanicals and their piece, Cherrywood. Described
as "so wild, it's feral," the frenetic mystery
involves a werewolf recruitment party, Jello shots, karaoke,
gunplay and a glass of milk. That's Friday, June 24 at 9 p.m.
and Saturday, June 25 at 7 p.m. at the Carlo Theatre.
Representing Southern California
at this diverse festival, Los Angeles-based About Productions
presents the story of Mexican-American men in the early part
of the 20th Century. By the Hand of the Father
features original music by Alejandro Escovedo at the Van Duzer
on Friday, June 24 at 7 p.m.
Perhaps the most intriguing
piece is a hip hop musical from the Universes theater company.
Called Slanguage, it's described as a Brooklyn
to Bronx subway ride. Join the American dream as a cross-section
of New York City shares the urban landscape in gospel, rap, blues,
poetry, song and dance. Reviewers, including one from the
New York Times, have high praise for the piece describing
it as "a work of heart and soul that distills the essence
of the city." See it at the Van Duzer Saturday, June 25,
at 9 p.m.
Fields pointed out that in addition
to Humboldt theater lovers, "There are more than 200 people
coming from outside this region, including actors, heads of most
of the major arts foundation and national performing arts presenters.
As a result, at press time the other shows in the festival are
sold out and advance tickets are advised for all performances.
For more information call 668-5663 or visit www.ensembletheaters.net
Monday, June 20 to Saturday,
July 16 Ferndale Repertory Theatre's Young Actors Workshop, call
786-LIVE or visit www.ferndalerep.org
Thursday, June 23 to Saturday,
July 16, Redwood Curtain Theater presents the comedy,
Wonder of the World.
or call 443-7688 for more information.
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