Theater

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Dell’Arte to Operate at Reduced Capacity Over the Summer

Posted By on Thu, Jun 11, 2020 at 4:04 PM

Dell’Arte International announced Wednesday that due to the impact of COVID-19 and the cancelations of the school's Mad River Festival, Summer Intensive and other events, it will be operating at a reduced capacity over the summer in an effort to remain financially viable.

In a press release from the school, Managing Director Alyssa Hughlett says, “We hope that by dimming our lights these next few months we’ll be in a stronger position to welcome our students and community back to our studios, stages and all the spaces that have come to signify Dell’Arte.” The release states the school is not ceasing operations entirely and will be offering summer workshops over digital platforms.
Performers at the Turning Gray Skies Blue show last June. - PHOTO BY MARK LARSON
  • Photo by Mark Larson
  • Performers at the Turning Gray Skies Blue show last June.


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Sunday, May 17, 2020

Dell'Arte-Wiyot Rural Residency in Place

Posted By on Sun, May 17, 2020 at 5:34 PM

Dell'Arte International's rural residency program has adapted itself for the times. The 10-day program normally sees Dell’Arte students living and camping in a rural community, engaging in a cultural and artistic exchange with residents. However, in light of COVID-19 and the need for physical distancing, this year's program will take to social media to carry out its mission.
From the 2019 Rural Residency. - WINGSPAN MEDIA, SUBMITTED
  • Wingspan Media, submitted
  • From the 2019 Rural Residency.
According to a press release from Dell'Arte International, this year, instead of camping on the Wiyot Tribe’s Table Bluff reservation as participants have the last two years, Dell’Arte’s Professional Training Program students will engage with members of the tribe remotely, with a focus on learning Soulatluk, the Wiyot language. Additionally, some of the program's online offerings will include digital workshops for kids on clowning, juggling and physical comedy, as well as a food recipe exchange via video.

Read the full press release below:

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Saturday, April 18, 2020

Front Window: Janessa Johnsrude's Sheltering in Places portraits

Posted By on Sat, Apr 18, 2020 at 7:06 PM

In one of Janessa Johnsrude's photos, a mother and daughter sit perched in an open window, smiling at one another, a big, milky-eyed dog between them. Their tableau, framed by the window of the house, is overlaid with the branches of an apple tree bright with pink blossoms and a set of copper wind chimes shine at their right. It's an idyllic scene full of affection. So much so that you could forget they are sheltering in place during a pandemic.
LinZi, Bender, Laurel. - PHOTO BY JANESSA JOHNSRUDE
  • Photo by Janessa Johnsrude
  • LinZi, Bender, Laurel.
The portrait of LinZi, her mother Laurel and their dog Bender is one of a Sheltering in Places series Johnsrude is working on, capturing images of her friends, neighbors and friendly strangers in her Blue Lake neighborhood — all from a distance as they hunker down in their homes. (See a handful of the photos with Johnsrude's comments in the slideshow below.)

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Thursday, April 16, 2020

The Show Must Go Online: Dell'Arte's Virtual Season

Posted By on Thu, Apr 16, 2020 at 6:46 PM

Despite the Mad River Festival being pushed back to September and a handful of scheduled performances canceled due to shelter-in-place orders, Dell'Arte International is not sitting idle. In a press release, Artistic Director Michael Fields says, "Uncharted times call for innovative creativity and collaboration." Sounds like a job for Dell'Arte. The theater folk in Blue Lake are putting together a schedule of Zoom-based artist talks with key Dell'Arte players, as well as releasing past performances on the organization's Vimeo and YouTube channels.
Donald Forrest in a scene from Radioman. - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • Donald Forrest in a scene from Radioman.
You'll be able to watch Radioman, Mad Love, Punctual Folly and Mary Jane: A Musical Potumentary from the comfort of your home. "In lieu of ticket sales for the online shows," the release states, "Dell’Arte is instead requesting donations to fund scholarships and the ability to keep the people at the heart of the organization." For details and the full schedule, see the press release below.

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Thursday, March 12, 2020

Culture Cancel: COVID-19 Nixes Local Events

Posted By on Thu, Mar 12, 2020 at 5:42 PM

The old theater adage is that the show must go on. But this time it may have to go on a bit later. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and California Department of Public Health recommendations on social distancing to slow and reduce the spread of the virus, events are canceling left and right.
SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Shutterstock
North Coast Repertory Theatre has postponed this weekend's Hamlet opening along with the rest of its season and Redwood Curtain Theatre has canceled the final three shows of Bloomsday Thursday through Saturday. The Eureka Theater, Morris Graves Museum of Art, Humboldt State University Center Activities, Humboldt Brews and Arts! Arcata have all canceled events through the end of March.

The Journal will be updating its online event calendar as information comes in. If you're an event organizer, email calendar@northcoastjournal.com to let us know about any changes in plans.
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Sunday, February 9, 2020

Swing Time Travel: Photos and Video from the Taiko Swingposium

Posted By on Sun, Feb 9, 2020 at 11:41 AM

Last weekend, the San Jose Taiko Swingposium Immersive Theater Experience's On the Road show transformed the Bayside Community Hall into a World War II-era dance hall in a Japanese-American incarceration camp. While under armed guard and having lost their homes, possessions and rights as Americans, those in the camps played music and held dances like these within their barbed-wire confines to maintain a sense of hope and community.
Members of San Jose Taiko brought ensemble Japanese drumming to the music/dance/immersive theater/living history event. - PHOTO BY MARK LARSON
  • Photo by Mark Larson
  • Members of San Jose Taiko brought ensemble Japanese drumming to the music/dance/immersive theater/living history event.

The "immersive" part of the show? Audience members and performers mingled and danced throughout the evening within a living-history portrayal of a teenage love story in the camp retold by actors playing prisoners.  Music for the three sold-out weekend performances was provided by the taiko drummers and the Humboldt State University Jazz Orchestra. See the slideshow and video below for highlights of the event.

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Saturday, December 7, 2019

Photos: Dell'Arte's 'Return to Oz'

Posted By on Sat, Dec 7, 2019 at 3:00 PM

The 39th annual Dell'Arte 2019 Holiday Show: Return to Oz is now at one of the many traveling and free venues coming up before its return to Blue Lake in two weeks. The storyline of Dorothy as an angst-ridden, friendless, guitar-playing teenager (you likely know one or used to be one) begins with her unhappiness at being back in Kansas, missing her Oz friends. The creative twists on the original plot are in good hands with director Michael Fields and an international cast. Cleo DeOrio, James Hildebrandt and others created an amazing production and set that now has to go on the road for multiple shows. Enjoy a slideshow of the highlights below.
Princess Langwidere (Marguerite Boissonnault), Billina the Chicken (H. Veenadari Lakshika Jayakody), the Tin Man (Hannah Shaka) and Scarecrow (Andrew Lupkes) in Return to Oz. - PHOTO BY MARK LARSON
  • Photo by Mark Larson
  • Princess Langwidere (Marguerite Boissonnault), Billina the Chicken (H. Veenadari Lakshika Jayakody), the Tin Man (Hannah Shaka) and Scarecrow (Andrew Lupkes) in Return to Oz.

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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Photos from Dell'Arte's Tim Gray Tribute

Posted By on Tue, Jun 25, 2019 at 1:02 PM

Emilia Sumelius (left), Sayda Trujillo and Laura Muñoz ended "Loser" from La Bottega da Caffe (2001), with lyrics about how losing a man could make one feel better. - PHOTO BY MARK LARSON
  • Photo by Mark Larson
  • Emilia Sumelius (left), Sayda Trujillo and Laura Muñoz ended "Loser" from La Bottega da Caffe (2001), with lyrics about how losing a man could make one feel better.

“Turning Gray Skies Blue: The Music of Timmy Gray” is a moving tribute to the talented man who composed music and wrote lyrics for 20-plus years of Dell’Arte Company performances in Blue Lake and around the world. See the slideshow below for highlights of the rehearsal and performance.

The cast of 12 past and current Dell’Arte performers was directed by Michael Fields and supported by outstanding music by The Band (Marla Joy, Mike LaBolle, Jeff Kelley and Tim Randles). The show takes the audience through 16 songs chosen by Fields and Gray over cigars and strong drink.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Photos from the Beaver Sisters

Posted By on Wed, Dec 19, 2018 at 6:26 PM

The hard-drinking, fun-loving Beaver Sisters host their hot mess of a telethon. - PHOTO BY MARK LARSON
  • Photo by Mark Larson
  • The hard-drinking, fun-loving Beaver Sisters host their hot mess of a telethon.

The Beaver sisters (played by local artists Sarah McKinney, Maggie Lally and Janessa Johnsrude) transformed Eureka’s Synapsis Nova on Friday into a setting for an angst-ridden fundraiser telethon with a major problem: No one calls in to donate money. The plot’s backstory for The Beaver Sisters Present: The Beaverettes is that the toxin-laden river is threatening to destroy their lodge unless they raise enough money to prevent it. See the slideshow below for the boozy highlights.

Due to the lack of callers throughout the telethon, Marge, Musty and Betty Beaver are frantic and at interpersonal odds with each other at times in coming up with individual fundraising ideas (allowing each of these talented performers a full range of funny moments). And a bonus throughout the comedy show: It turns out the Beaver sisters have fantastic singing voices.

The Beaver Sisters Present: The Beaverettes was created in residence at Dell'Arte International, where the artists are graduates in physical theater. The show next heads out a December tour to San Francisco and Los Angeles. Do not miss the next chance to catch them locally.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Off on a Tangent: An interview with Steven Wright

Posted By on Tue, Oct 16, 2018 at 1:50 PM

Standup stalwart Steven Wright. - PHOTO BY JORGE RIOS, COURTESY OF THE ARTIST
  • Photo by Jorge Rios, courtesy of the artist
  • Standup stalwart Steven Wright.

If you don’t know his name, you know his visage and presence. His cadence and playful monotony have made him a stalwart of the standup comedy scene for nearly four decades. If you’ve somehow missed all of the last 40 years of standup, you likely still know him from any one of his multiple major motion picture cameos. Steven Wright started standup in Boston in 1978 at the age of 23. Now, at the age of 62, he still has the market cornered on the avant strange. On Sunday, Oct. 21 at 8 p.m., Wright is bringing his must-see weirdness to the stage of The Arkley Center for the Performing Arts.

His style, though frequently emulated by newer comics like Demetri Martin, is unique in both its form and function. It’s not satire, not outright. And it’s not quite storytelling, either. His sets are almost like a series of absurd vignettes, loosely connected but flowing nevertheless. Like dreams but with the gift of extemporaneous reflection — Dali paintings with a punchline.

I had a brilliant list of insightful, well-researched questions to interview him, none of them canned, I swear. They were the perfect mix of casual professionalism, hilarity and my trademark remarkable modesty. This is something you’ll need to take my word for, as my over-prepared nerdery was no match for Wright’s curiosity.

As soon as I am done explaining just how far away Humboldt is from what non-locals refer to as “Northern California,” his voice filled with whimsy, “You live where the redwoods are!” Then, began an amazing slew of questions, not from me, but from Wright. Wright reacted to most of my answers with jocular laughs/giggles and exclamations of “Wow!” His tone was never condescending or elitist; he truly wanted to know everything he could about the odd life and history of Humboldt County. In particular, he was captivated by all aspects of the local ecology. “Nature is ... I love nature,” he says before he tells me about his own preference for a bucolic retreat: Block Island, off the coast of Rhode Island. His brother owns land on the island and it’s a place of tranquility and beauty for Wright. I described Humboldt’s massive swaths of redwood rain forest, the breathtaking wonder of growing up surrounded by something so seemingly prehistoric.
When the conversation drifted toward inquiries about industry and culture (Wright’s ability to initiate tangents pales only in comparison to his ability to bring a conversation back around to its original point), he gently interrupted to say, “They didn’t cut down the redwoods did they?” I’m not sure if he actually Googled Julia Butterfly but he was thrilled to have a name to fit the description. “That must not be her real name, right?” Humboldt County, I told him. “Maybe I should spend a couple of days there. No, really, I mean it.”
He was insistent that he knew the word Humboldt from somewhere else but couldn’t place it. I gave him the obvious answer everyone from here is used to giving: Mary Jane.

“Oh, I forgot about pot,” he said with a chuckle. “Wait a minute, do you smoke weed?”
“I do.”
“Are you high right now?”
“No. I sorta wanted to be clearheaded, you know, nerves and professionalism and all.”
“Could you call me back when you’re high?” Then his brain opened another tangential tributary, “We could do two different interviews. Wouldn’t that be fascinating!” Though Wright used the words “surreal,” “insane” and “weird” as self description, I really think he should add “fascinated” to the list.
It didn’t take long to realize that second to his love of nature, Wright is extremely literary. His love of the surreal extends to books, which is evident in his taste and his own writing.

When asked why he became a comic and not a writer, his answer is quick and concise. At 16 years old, he’d watch the comics on Carson every night, then watch them head over to the couch after their sets. From the ages of 16-18 he spent every Sunday night listening to a local Massachusetts radio show that would play two comedy albums back-to-back. “I just got it in my head that this what I was going to do.”

Technically, all of this did answer my first hard-hitting question, “Have you ever been to Humboldt County?” But nearly an hour went by before I got around to asking my gotcha-follow-up: How come you don’t Twitter anymore?

Wright says he stopped tweeting because “jokes are a live thing.” This is a fairly standard response from people who have left the anxious whirlwind that is social media. From Wright, though, there’s an earnest truthfulness in the statement. In the hour-plus that Wright and I spent talking, we covered everything from the fall of the major timber industry in Humboldt, the first time we both saw a surrealist painting, the etymology of our middle names and so much more random information. Human interaction and a larger understanding of everyone’s experiences were a driving force of our conversation. And those are rare qualities these days.

It’s reason enough to take a break from the mundane coldness of reality and dip your toes into the waking-dream world of Steven Wright.
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