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The Civil War and All its Repercussions
By Chrissy Loader (Oct 19, 2007)
It was at Appomattox Court House in rural Virginia in 1865 where General Robert E. Lee surrendered the confederate army to Union commander, General Ulysses S. Grant, formally ending the Civil War. With this surrender, Appomattox itself has come to represent a point in history where two warring factions made peace. And within Philip Glass’ ambitious, though sometimes uneven, opera, Appomattox is put forth as the point in history when the groundwork for future race relations and battles within America were laid. More
Allow Yourself to be Seduced
By Nirmala Nataraj (Sep 14, 2007)
Camille Saint-Saens’ "Samson and Delilah" is perhaps one of the most violently erotic operas in all of history. Far be it from the frivolous coquettishness of librettos like "Don Giovanni" or "La Traviata" -- which despite their illustriousness, border on inconsequential melodrama -- the love story of "Samson and Delilah" is nicely tempered by stuff like religious oppression, psychic torment, and the poignancy of heartbreak, made all the more glorious given the bleak Old Testament mise en scene. More
Musical Theater That Revels in Horror, and Humor
By Chrissy Loader (Sep 7, 2007)
There's no doubt, a growing sub-culture has emerged of musical theater fans who want to see complex orchestration, comedic flair, and macabre songs about the business endeavors of a butcher barber and pie maker working in cahoots. For them, “Sweeney Todd” is the pinnacle of all such productions, turning musical expectations of sweet love stories and comedic song and dance into the reality of a tale centered on the barbaric transgressions of the infamous “Demon Barber of Fleet Street” -- Sweeney Todd. More
Provocative Puppet Jokes -- for Adults
By Nirmala Nataraj (Aug 17, 2007)
The late great Jim Henson spawned a passel of subversive, potty-mouthed muppet performances for adults, most recently, his eponymous Puppet Improv, in which beloved figures like Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog promenaded about the stage, bowing to the dirty dictates of audience members who couldn’t resist the idea of a saucy barb from a plush, lovable childhood icon. It’s a wonderful gambit, if only because the idea of a muppet -- god bless its googly-eyed, yarn-haired soul -- spewing swear words and dealing in risqué puns is invariably hilarious. More
Not Tame Enough
By Nirmala Nataraj (Jul 19, 2007)
Of everything in Shakespeare’s oeuvre, "The Taming of the Shrew" tends to score the fewest points among the modern literati. Never mind the rollicking, ribald humor and the pun-y gesticulations of what may be the Bard’s most audacious set of characters -- the play is caustic and misogynistic, which automatically calls for a little bowdlerizing, at least in most contemporary versions. More
Prepare for Enchantment
By Nirmala Nataraj (Jul 13, 2007)
Whether or not you were the kind of kid who practiced pulling a bunny out of a hat ad infinitum for third-grade show and tell, most of us have likely been indoctrinated with the idea that magic is a serious business. That would, after all, explain the pinched expressions of concentration that have graced patricians of spectacle like the Davids (Copperfield and Blaine) for eons. And sure, there’s virtue in spectacle -- particularly when accompanied by Las Vegas pyrotechnics and nubile assistants -- but it’s hard not to extricate megalomaniacal stunts from the hyuk-hyuk ridicule that’s invariably heaped upon their makers. More
A Good Time With The Boys
By Philip Wong (Jun 14, 2007)
In Richard “Scrumbly” Koldewyn’s musical revue “Wilde Boys", the famous decadence of Victorian England surfaces less in its setting and more in the clandestine winks and nudges of its songs, which altogether makes for an entertaining, albeit slightly contained, hour long musical. More
Live Performance – the Antidote to the Movie Monotony
By SFS Staff (Jun 11, 2007)
These articles are a mix of teen-friendly venues and events. They were written to fill in the lack of all ages venues and clubs listings in the media. Because there are not enough places for teens to hang out, they often end up at their friends’ houses or doing things their parent’s would not approve of. With these articles, we hope to expose high school students to places where they can have fun and be safe at night: THEATER . Big City Improv . Magic Theatre . The Berkeley Reparatory Theater . Youth Speaks More
Mozart’s Un-Repenting Rake
By Chrissy Loader (Jun 8, 2007)
An evening at the opera, even a “school night” performance, promises something special. The night is even better with a pre-performance Prosecco at Jardiniere, a chance to bask amidst sweet smelling men in tuxedos and grand looking women in diamonds and stoles, and, in this case, the opportunity to enjoy what many consider to be the most perfect opera, the pinnacle of its form. More
A Dark Rendition
By Nirmala Nataraj (May 24, 2007)
If you’ve never actually read Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, which is perhaps the most paradigmatic rags-to-riches story ever written, well…consider yourself at home. As adulated as Dickens is among the populist echelons and the fusty literati set, his erudite moral fables of industrial England gone bad are a little timeworn, a little too simplistic in our postmodern era of six billion people and clashing metanarratives. And with all the sentimental stage and screen revivals (particularly the 1963 film version, with its hum-worthy ditties and loveable rapscallions), it’s easy to write OT off as just another feel-good yarn. More
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