Don Darryl Rivera wrote and stars in this musical version of "Harold and the Purple Crayon." I was thrilled to be invited to attend and review this show at the Children's Theatre in Minneapolis. This is one of my favorite children's books. I read it over and over as a child. Well, I suppose my mom had to read it over and over. Then, I did. And, I shared it with my own kids. I loved that purple crayon. I wanted to take my big box of crayons and have as many grand adventures as Harold.
"Julius Caesar", performed by The Acting Company, is a unique theatrical experience. You can catch a performance at CLC this Wednesday, Feb. 8, at 7:30. I attended a performance at the Guthrie with my 14-year-old son and young adult niece. We all enjoyed it. We all understood what was happening, and we agreed, it was a fascinating performance. The use of screens as a backdrop give us visual cues as to what is happening. From the moment we enter the theater, we see numerous tv screens with various news reporters. The screens change throughout the performance.
Thank you, supporters of the arts in the Brainerd lakes area! Performances for "To Kill a Mockingbird" sold out. The Lamplighters in Staples had a full house for most of their shows. My original play, "Coffee Shop Confessions," sold out in the first week. We're opening tonight, March 2, at the Coco Moon at 6:30. See recent posts on my writer's blog www.maryaalgaard.blogspot.com. We'll be performing again on April 9, at the Senior Center for their fundraiser dinner. Call DeAnn, 829-9345, to reserve a spot. We'll add a few more performances at a location to be determined.
In the play "Hay Fever" by Noel Coward, playing now through April 22 at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, the quirky Bliss family has a lovely cottage in the English countryside and each of the four members has invited a special guest for the weekend, but didn't tell anyone else until just before they all arrive. The family members are all eccentric, artistic types who are extremely self-absorbed, especially the mother Judith, played by the amazing comedic star Harriet Harris (Bebe Glazer from "Frazier", his conniving agent).
A friendship blooms amidst the weedpatch of life in a coastal community in Maine in 1912. Turner Buckminster is new to town and doesn't quite fit in. He doesn't play baseball the right way. He wears too nice of clothes, and besides that, he's the preacher's son. Lizzie Bright Griffin is kept on the fringes because she's a colored girl from Malaga Island. The two meet while they're both trying to find some thinking space along the shores. Lizzie has rowed over from the island to dig for clams, and Turner has escaped the heat, from the sun and society.
"Time Stands Still" opens with photo journalist Sarah Goodwin struggling to re-enter her home in Brooklyn, physically and emotionally. She has been injured in Iraq by a roadside bomb. Her partner, James Dodd, is trying to help her while dealing with his own emotional wounds and guilt of not being with her when she was nearly killed. Sarah is a renowned photo journalist. Her photos bring to light the atrocities that happen around the world, most of them inside war zones. She says that when she looks through the lens of her camera time stands still.
"The older I get the more offensive I hope to be," Mark, from the play "Art," by Yasmina Reza, currently playing at the Central Lakes College Dryden Theatre. Serge bought a piece of art for a hefty sum. He's criticized and ridiculed by his friend Mark. Yvan, the third friend in the triangle, tries to be a peacemaker, but ends up causing more strife. At times you feel the two against one scenario that happens in groups of three. Conversations are held in pairs, and the third one is left out, talked about, and later on the defensive.
"Pippi Longstocking" is a high-energy, rollicking good show. Katie Adducci, who plays Pippi, is so athletic. I chatted with a woman at intermission who has seen several productions of "Pippi". She thought Kate was one of the oldest girls to play Pippi. (She seemed youthful to me.) I said she looked like she's a good gymnast. The woman replied, "That's probably why they chose her." She's everywhere on stage. Big movements. Animated dancing. My heart rate went up from watching it!
"Grown-ups have lived their lives and made their wars. We kids didn't start these wars or make these messes. We deserve a chance to live our lives." This is a paraphrase from Anne's line in "The Diary of Anne Frank" at the Park Square Theatre in St. Paul. I attended this performance as a chaperone with about 200 eighth graders from Forestview Middle School. It was stunning. The cast of characters were exactly how I have pictured them through my readings, imagings, and visit to the Annex in Amsterdam.
The mood of "Amen Corner" was established the moment we took our seats at the Wurtele Thrust Stage. We can see into the church, and the housing unit below. Someone is lying on the street. People walk by. Kids run, giggle and play. A man is pick-pocketing someone. Then, a cop appears. We feel like we're in a rough neighborhood. This is a glimpse of life in a city, in a place where everyone is doing what they can to survive. Some people turn to crime, to alcohol, and others to extreme religion.