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24 Oct 2016

I have often said that Monday and Tuesday are my real weekends.  Two or three show weekends have become the norm lately, especially now that I write for two newspapers.  See the show at night, write the review the next day.

Some shows are more difficult to review than others.  Friday night's The Impromptu at Versailles, a Davis version of a Moliere comedy was one of them.

The Art Theater of Davis was formed three years ago, to fill a niche Director Timothy Nutter felt was lacking in a town with a musical theater company, a Shakespeare company, a company that does both musicals and comedies, but none devoted to producing contemporary modern drama (tho it is unclear how the 17th century Moliere fits into that mold!).  They have done Chekhov, Ibsen, Noel Coward and now Moliere.  Each represents a big hole in my education, as I never studied, read, or even attended works by these authors (well, except for Noel Coward). 

So when I sit down and start to write the review, I know I am at a disadvantage from the get-go, compared to my co-critics, who have been reviewing these kinds of plays for years.  It doesn't help that I struggle to understand what the playwright is getting at.  (This goes for most Shakespeare too).

I do a lot of research and somehow manage to cobble something together which I hope will pass, and then when I read it in the paper a few days later, doesn't really sound like I don't know what I'm talking about.  I've been foolin' 'em for 16 years now.

With plays like August: Osage County, which I saw on Saturday, it's different.

I had not seen this play before, nor had I seen the movie, which, when I saw the play I was happy about.  Much better to have all of the "revelations" surprise me. 

The theater company producing this is Capital Stage, my favorite little theater in Sacramento, and they gathered the cream of the crop for this production.  The lady standing up, Violet Weston, the pill-popping matriarch of the family was played by one of Sacramento's leading actresses, Janis Stevens.  She has done several one-women shows, including Vivien, a show about Vivien Leigh, written especially for Janis,. which she eventually took to New York, where she was nominated for several big awards. 

She also played Katharine Hepburn in Kate, and Maria Callas in Master ClassBut in this show she starred and was a powerhouse. 

Writing the review for this play was easy, but first, since I had enjoyed the play so much, I decided to watch the movie on Netflix.  I enjoyed it as much the second time and felt that Stevens' performance could be favorably with Meryl Streep.

Last week I had more or less of a "vacation."  Only one show to review, and that was Pirates of Penzance, the review for which I could probably write in my sleep.

It was fun review, especially since it was a good production.  I think I managed to get it written in half an hour.

Next week I have the weekend off since I am going to Santa Barbara for my turn to see the kids (Walt went down a few weeks ago for Lacie's birthday). 

But tomorrow is Monday, the first day of my weekend.  I won't even have a car since it's going into the shop to be checked before I take it on an 800 mile trip.



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