July 2012 - Mid-Month Matinees and MUCH More on the Central Coast of California!

July 2012 - Mid-Month Matinees and MUCH More on the Central Coast of California!

As we come to the middle of July – the unofficial midway point of summer (already?!), I trust you will want to plan on attending a number of the productions currently (or soon to be) running at any number of the theatre and live performance establishments located here on the idyllic Central Coast of California!

The Central Coast Shakespeare Festival (http://centralcoastshakespeare.org/) will present The Tempest, July 12-28, at River Oaks Amphitheatre in Paso Robles. 

William Shakespeare's The Tempest is unique among his plays.  It is the last complete play he wrote – although he collaborated later on others.  It is also his first published play.  Some will disagree, but look at the First Folio – the opening play in the volume is Tempest – no other.  Shakespeare is often taught as having composed three types of play: Comedies, Tragedies, and Histories.  But Tempest does not fit neatly into any of these three types.

Many call it a tragicomedy, but that form was not invented for several centuries later.  On this fact alone, Tempest stands alone, and must be treated with special care.  Shakespeare loved the Italian theatre.  He had many opportunities to watch the traveling troupes of Commedia dell'Arte which toured England.  In addition, he had studied the Greek and Roman plays of the classic playwrights, and frequently borrowed stories and characters from them.

But not Tempest.  Despite centuries of research, no one has yet discovered a prior literary source for the story related in the play.  It is an original plot, in part and in complete.  There is no other Shakespeare play about which that claim can be made. And there are those who say it is – in part – autobiographical.

Prospero is a magician.  He controls the actors and the action – both natural and supernatural.  Towards the end of the play, he abjures his magic and "drowns" his book.  There are those who say that Tempest was Shakespeare's farewell to the stage – that he would write no more.  But listen carefully.  "What I have's mine own" leaves some talent yet to Prospero.  As mentioned above, Shakespeare contributed quite a bit more to the stage after Tempest.  Where is Prospero's island? Shakespeare usually gives clues to his locales, but they are few and far between here.

The ship is returning from a wedding in North Africa to Milan (perhaps via Genova?). Isaac Asimov suggests in his analysis that the island may be one of the Lipari Islands north of Sicily.  They are volcanic (magic?) and the most known of them today is Stromboli.  To follow the most likely route, they must have passed between Sicily and Italy through the Straits of Messina, location of the semi-mythical Scylla and Charybdis.  What about the characters and their names?  Here the Bard has some fun.  Caliban is an obvious anagram of cannibal (with but one "n").  But at the same time explorers of the New World had returned with tales of the "savage and deformed" inhabitants of newly-discovered islands who called themselves "caribans."

Most of the other names in Tempest are either Italian or an anglicized version.  An interesting exception is Trinculo, not a name in Italian.  There was an interesting pub challenge in Shakespeare's day, "I can drink you low (under the table)."  Considering Trinculo's love for the bottle, there might be a possibility there.  Ariel, the other supernatural being, is from a Greek word meaning "light."

Prospero is an interesting name.  It is not common in Italian and it could be derived from "prosper."  But if you look into the Latin and Greek roots, you find that the prefix "pro-" means "in favor of" and "spero" means "I hope."  An interesting combination for a magician, don't you think?

Many of the scenes in Tempest follow styles seen in other Shakespeare plays, some in a style of a pastoral comedy.  There are the "mechanical" humor scenes (with Stephano, Trinculo, and Caliban) to break the tension.  There are scenes of instruction between Prospero and Miranda, Ariel and Caliban.  There is a love story, a rather unusual one, between a young woman and the first man she's ever seen.

Not all scenes are happy ones, and not all characters are friendly.  But this story finally resolves itself – for good or ill – that's up to the viewer.  There are many interpretations of The Tempest – some excellent motion pictures made of the play. For possibly the most unusual one, try "Forbidden Planet," a science-fiction version starring Walter Pidgeon and Anne Francis.  Enjoy the performance!  … Fred Wolf, Dramaturg [PHOTO: Katherine Perello as Ariel]

The Pewter Plough Playhouse (www.pewterploughplayhouse.org) in Cambria will present Six Dance Lessons In Six Weeks, through July 29.

The Theatre at the Cambria Center for the Arts' (http://artistsofcambria.com/cambriapac/index.html) Rumors, by Neil Simon, will run August 10 - September 2. 

The REC Foundation in Paso Robles is sponsoring a production of Man of La Mancha, directed by Cynthia Anthony and Jacob Shearer, at Centennial Park, performances September 21 & 22.  Call Jacob at 805-975-5023 for more information. 

Kelrik Productions (www.kelrikproductions.com) will present their Grades 1-10 Summer Camp/Performance Class production of Disney's The Little Mermaid Jr July 23 - August 3.

SLO Little Theatre's (www.slolittletheatre.org) current mainstage production, My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra, will run through July 22.

And then be sure to check out SLOLT's Ubu's Other Shoe's readers' theatre production of Arcadia July 27 & 28, Academy of Creative Arts' Anne of Avonlea August 3-12, and The Marvelous Wonderettes August 31 – September 23.

Upcoming performances at the Cal Poly Performing Arts Center (www.pacslo.org) include the Joe Goode Performance Group on August 9, Jumpbrush in Concert on August 11, The Academy of Dance's DANCIN' 2012 on August 12, the US Air Force Band of the Golden West on August 14, and CORE Dance Company's Confessions of a Love Junkie August 17 & 18.  

Murder In Mind Productions (www.murderinmind.com) will present Pirates of Pirates Cove through September 2 at the Spyglass Inn in Shell Beach (reservations required).

100 Years of People - Stories From Our Past will be presented at the Odd Fellows Hall in Arroyo Grande.  "Voices From Halcyon" - July 14, 21 & 28 at2 PM; "This Terrible Tragedy" - August 4, 11, 18 & 25 at2 PM. FREE admission.  Call 805-489-8282 for more information.   

Exit Pursued By a Bear (facebook.com/exitpursuedbyabeartheatre) will present Much Ado About Nothing and Titus Andronicus, running in repertory at Hans Christian Andersen Park in Solvang, August 11 & 12, at 4 PM, and at Dinosaur Caves Park in Shell Beach on August 18 & 19.  Admission is free.  Call 805-698-2158 for additional information.

The Spot (https://www.facebook.com/#!/hit.the.spot) will present the School of Performing Arts Recital July 13 & 14, and Taylor Murphy-Sinclair's one woman show I Can't Draw a Heart and Other Episodes July 20-29.

Upcoming performances at the Clark Center (www.clarkcenter.org) include Arroyo Grande Hospital's Juke Box Rock on July 28, and Central Coast Celebration Chorus' Alice in Barbershop Land on September 8.

The Great American Melodrama (www.americanmelodrama.com) in Oceano is proud to present Gunsmokin' or, All Riot's on the Western Front, written by Ben Millet and adapted by JorDan Richardson, through September 15, followed at each performance by the TGAM Wide World of Sports Vaudeville Revue, directed by Jake McGuire, with musical direction and accompaniment by Mark Pietri.  Beginning July 12, Gunsmokin' will run alternate performances with the Melodrama's second summer show, From Rags to Riches.

The Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts (www.pcpa.org), the Central Coast's Resident Professional Theatre Company, located on the Allan Hancock College Campus in Santa Maria, will present The Rivals through July 22 at the Solvang Festival Theater, and Legally Blonde - the Musical, through July 22 at the Marian Theatre in Santa Maria (July 27 – August 19 in Solvang).

The Santa Maria Civic Theatre (www.smct.org) will offer a Summer Drama Camp (ages 6-12), culminating in a performance of The Little Mermaid on July 27 & 28 and August 3 & 4.  Their first mainstage production of the 2012/13 Season, Dearly Beloved, will be presented September 14 - October 6.   

The Lompoc Civic Theatre's (www.lompoccivictheatre.com) upcoming summer production of tick, tock … BOOM! will run August 3-19.

So, whatever else you might have planned for the next few weeks, I hope you will find or make time to see some of the shows being produced at the various live entertainment and theatre venues that make their homes here on the California Central Coast!

Curt Miner ... your BroadwayWorld.com guy on the ground with the California Central Coast theatre "news & views"



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