Erik ReeL - Arts and Culture Contributing Editor at Large
Friday, 20 April 2018 20:18
The Santa Paula Theater Center and company has launched the second play in an excellent season of tough, great theatre, with their current production of David Mamet’s legendary play, American Buffalo.
Friday, 20 April 2018 04:36
When it rains, it pours, they say. While we don’t get a lot of professional Shakespeare in our regional theatre, and thus one would expect there to not be much of a pool of Shakespearean actors locally, the 805 currently has two major Shakespeare plays on offer: Rubicon’s fine King Lear, and The Ojai Art Center Theater’s Macbeth. Not only that, but both productions are trying to do something new and interesting with their productions.
Lady and Macbeth. Ojai Art Center Theater in conjunction with the Ojai Performing Arts Theater's Macbeth
Tuesday, 27 March 2018 09:39
King Lear at Rubicon
King Lear is one of Shakspeare’s greatest plays, some say greatest. People usually do Lear because they want to do something with it. Like Wagner’s Ring, Shakespeare’s Lear has, in modern times, become a formidable vehicle for taking a production to the limits. This usually means something in terms of either its direction, staging, or acting, or some combination or all three. Rubicon accordingly tries a lot of different things with this ambitious production in a well-worth seeing Lear.
Monday, 12 February 2018 15:36
Wrongs of the Righteous
Anthony Giardina’s timely play, The City of Conversation, now playing at Santa Barbara’s ETC, traces the story of a fictional Washington D.C. political doyen, Hester Ferris, pushing American politics Pamela Harriman-style, behind the scenes in her dining and drawing rooms, across four decades and many more presidential regimes. It is in many ways a difficult play to pull off, in spite of its many funny lines, and pertinent content.
This ETC production fairs better than most, in large part thanks to Sharon Lawrence’s superb rendering of Hester Ferris, its lead character. In a sense, the main reason to watch this play is to see Lawrence work her magic.
Monday, 12 February 2018 10:33
Steven Dietz's This Random World at SPTC
Santa Paula Theatre Center kicks off its 2018 season with a wonderfully good production of Steven Dietz's This Random World. SPTC produced Dietz's Becky's New Car last season as well; but these are two very different plays with little in common except Dietz's genius for fascinating female parts; a beautifully controlled, understated sense of humor; terrific writing; and Dietz's particularly good-hearted, slightly off-kilter somewhat philosophical bent.
Scott Blanchard (L) and Aileen-Marie (R)
Monday, 13 November 2017 23:18
First, let us hear it for doing new theatre, new scripts, producing local playwrights’ new plays, or more courageously yet, workshopping new plays. Plays do not bloom, full-grown, out of the head of Zeus. As they say in Silicon Valley, if you are not doing something new, you have no future.
Monday, 13 November 2017 22:30
Rubicon Theatre in Ventura’s downtown cultural district is doing Sir Ronald Harwood’s Taking Sides through 12 November 2017. Harwood did The Pianist and has repeatedly shown interest in World War II-related moral dilemmas. Taking Sides fits right in. It’s basically a military tribunal “trial” by the American occupation command in Berlin of Wilhelm Furtwangler, the great German conductor who stayed in Nazi Germany throughout the Nazi era and World War II.
Patrick Vest as Major Arnold, Tara Donovan as Emmi Straube and Peter Van Norden as German composer Wilhelm Furtwängler in Taking Sides by Academy Award-Winner Sir Ronald Harwood and directed by Ovation Award-winner Stephanie Coltrin.
Photo Credit: Josh and Veronica Slavin
Photo Credit: Josh and Veronica Slavin
Monday, 16 October 2017 07:00
Flying H Does Blackbird
Ventura is getting a special treat: Two of the 805’s best acting talents, Jessi May Stevenson and Taylor Kasch, are teaming up to do David Harrower’s Blackbird, one of the most remarkable plays written in decades.
Friday, 22 September 2017 22:43
Rubicon theatre presents a fabulous West Coast premiere of Nick Payne’s Incognito. Runnng 90 minutes without intermission, the play was originally commissioned and performed by Nabokov and Live Theatre, in Newcastle, UK in 2014 and opened in the US 3 May, 2016 at the Manhattan Theatre Club.