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Sunday, May 19, 2024

MISALLIANCE! A NOISE WITHIN


 Full confessions are seldom necessary in this land of make believe that we choose to inhabit, but I have realized that even though George Bernard Shaw is one of the most important playwrights of the last century and his reputation for stinging wit is legend..  well.. I did see Major Barbara oe time..The set was great!! 

But..  no scholar am I.

That said!!  We come to Misalliance!  It's May 31, 1909.  Rich folks.. The Summerhays and the Tarletons with interlopers.. They all come together in  broad strokes on scenic designer Angela Balogh Calin's

Josey Montana McCoy,
Deborah Strang,
and Frederick Stuart
Photo by Craig Schwartz

gorgeous set (really, really, really wonderful and really gorgeous) complete with portable Turkish Bath! 

Misalliance is filled with satire and a look at what Mr. Shaw thought of the Brits!  Director Guillermo Cienfuegos's vision, of manners and protocols (more or less on steroids) lands beautifully.

Cienfuegos's choreographed stage pictures echo the times: formal and in Shaw's estimation, well over the top.

As Bunny (please don't call me that) Josey Montana McCoy at about five feet nothing and one ten soaking wet visits the elegant home of his future wife, sturdy Hypatia Tarleton (Erika Soto) whose libido is high and  her tolerance for chatter is nil.  

As Hypatia's mother, Mrs. Tarleton (Debra Strang..a fave) pretty much rules the roost, we meet the players and unlikely 'comments' via Shaw's biting satire. Things move slowly through Act I.   Early on, very tall Johnny (Riley Shanahan)  Hypatia's brother, arrives to torment Bunny.  And,  Lord  Summerhays (Frederick Stuart) Bunny's dad and the former governor of some fictitious   British territory, when left along with Hypatia,,  delivers one of the best lines in the play as he plights his own troth to her by asking her to be his 'widow'!!  With Stuart as Lord Summerhays and Peter Van Norden as John Tarleton, Sr., sometimes it's a challenge to decide who is whom, but no matter. Read Twain.

Rolling right along, Misalliance is a very long and talky play.   I'm with Hypatia with all the blather, but a few zingers and the rolling pace keep us alert with events to come.  

Then!!  Thank goodness for the sound of an aeroplane engine sputtering and a crash that delivers huge surprises. Blackout!

Lights up!!  Act II

The plot explodes with the arrival of Joey Percival (Dan Lin). Diversity casting delivers, It's a stretch.  BUT!!  Oh For Goodness Sakes! a spectacular dare devil!  Lina Szczepanowka (Trisha Miller) from Poland! Lina is taking names & making a list of all the men who are immediately in line to become her Mister Szczepanowka.

Miller essentially steals the show.. but wait.. another off the wall character with an axe to grind with John Sr. shows up!!  With a pistol! 

Here's the rub.  The aforementioned Turkish Bath is placed well upstage  behind the sofa. The Turkish Bath  is vital to the final  revelations that Shaw has in store for us.

As Gunner (for lack of a real name at first) then later Baker..  Joshua Bitton brings the physical aspect of what Shaw may have had in mind, beautifully to the stage. Even as a footnote,  the physical action is a welcome bit that must reflect some issue that Shaw had with something that made him  decide to expand the story past to resolve basic plot.  It's a twist!

Had the Turkish Bath been more prominent in its placement, the end game of the intruder  and the dance that follows might have been even more fun.  

Suffice it to say that this spectacular production with amazing costumes by Christine Cover Ferro  presents a professional and welcome addition to the well earned reputation of  Pasadena's A Noise Within.

My advice for all who must find a performance to attend is to read this play first.  It's on line.  The British accents are well done, but for me sometimes difficult to understand.  And.. ANW has a new program that they are promoting with captioned dialogue sent magically to one's cell phone?  

Subtitles.  Check the ANW website for information.

Please..  See this show after reading the play AND wade in for the jokes and the excellent performances from a Master Builder of theatre one hundred and twentyfive years ago!  Read Shaw!

Kudos to director Cinefuegos and cast and crew!  See this one!

CAST

.  Johnny Tarleton: Riley Shanahan*

 Crew

scenic designer Angela Balogh Calin; lighting designer Ken Booth; composer sound designer Christopher Moscatiello

costume designer Christine Cover Ferro

wig and make up designer Tony Vald├ęs

properties designer Stephen Taylor; dialect coach Andrea Odinov; dramaturg Miranda Johnson-Haddad

assistant director is Rachel BerneyNeedleman

production stage manager Angela Sonner, assisted by Hope Matthews.

Public Relations  Lucy Pollak

Misalliance 

by George Bernard Shaw

Directed by Guillermo Cienfuegos

A Noise Within
3352 E Foothill Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91107 

Previews May 12 – May 17
Performances
May 18 – June 9
Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.: May 15 ONLY (Preview)
Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.: May 23, May 30, June 6 (dark May 16)
Fridays at 8 p.m.: May 17 (Preview); May 24*; May 31*; June 7*
Saturdays at 2 p.m.: May 25; June 1; June 8 (no matinee on May 18)
Saturdays at 8 p.m.: May 18 (Opening Night); May 25; June 1; (No 8 p.m. performance on June 8)
Sundays at 2 p.m.: May 12 (Preview); May 19; May 26*; June 2; June 9
*Postperformance conversations with the artists take place every Friday (except the preview) and on Sunday, May 26.
A student matinee will take place on Thursday, May 16 at 10:30 a.m. Interested educators should email education@anoisewithin.org.

TICKETS:
• Tickets start at $29
• Student tickets start at $18
• Wednesday, May 15 (preview) and Thursday, May 23: Pay What You Choose starting at $10 (available online beginning at noon the Monday prior to that performance, and at the box office beginning at 2 p.m. on the day of the performance.)
• Discounts available for groups of 10 or more


www.anoisewithin.org
(626) 356-3100


 

Saturday, May 4, 2024

ICT LONG BEACH WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS TO ME

When fifteen year old Heidi Schreck found her way to Civics and The Constitution of the United States, she must have seen her future.

How any teen is drawn to civics is a bit of a mystery with all the distractions of being a kid nipping at your heels, and by her own admission Heidi was hot for boys from the get go! But!.  in this excellent and compelling presentation directed by ICT''s executive director caryn desai, it's a play, and then some, with its basic premise grounded in the Foundation of our USA!  Please attend! 

Please stand by for a lesson in civics that includes Heidi's delightful story of success: Bright Lights!   Show Biz!  (And a lost toy!)

Kelley Dorney as Heidi and then as herself, Kelley the actress,  tells Heidi's  very personal story  that the playwright  first delivered herself.  We are not only  taken to school on the Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments  to the U.S.Constitution, but share the roots of how this now 'middle aged' woman.. (Dorney looks about sixteen) earned her college tuition with oratory in American Legion Halls all across the country. She credits her mom.

Since developing her great skill at debate and an early understanding of the Constitution, Schreck's intriguing story and this "teach-in" has swept the country, leaving  audiences more informed and, certainly, in love with Heidi. 

Kelley Dorney, Sheila Correa, Tom Trudgeon
Photo by Kayte Deioma


Adjunct Ms Dorney's  really amazing & creative monologue  we meet  Tom Trudgeon  as the American Legion guy and later becoming Heidi's pal, Mike and then the facilitator of the final debate..

After what is basically a 'teach-in' thanks to Heidi, we are treated to a very interesting debate that features the expertise of a high school debater 'from Wilson High'.. compelling and funny, Sheila Correa, who  rocks the audience participation pumped up by cheerleader Tom.   as the women take sides on  whether to keep the Constitution we now 'enjoy'  or junk it with a goal of creating a new version that may be more inclusive. 

These actors are thoroughly enjoying themselves, drawing the audience in. As it should be. The fourth wall is down for this one. .

The polemic regarding how the Supreme Court   of duly NOT elected white men ruled for years (Sandra Day O'Connor arrived as the first woman appointee in 1981) from what may be personal bias for years seems to say that SCOTUS is conducted not so much by law as by politcs.  Audio playbacks of recordings of actual discussions between justices trying to decide the meaning of the word "shall" would be funny if it was not so terribly important.  Google Castle Rock v. Gonzales for a very sad eye opener..

For those who snoozed in High School Civics class, this show may be an opportunity to discover a little interest in how our country works. Copies of the US Constitution are included in the price of admission..  Clearly this show has a strong feminist point of view. The eloquence of Kelley Dorney and her friends makes it palatable, educational & fun.

Kudos to caryn desai and her cast. 

A personal plug for a five minute walk to  The California Pizza Kitchen. Fast service and a great menu.   

 Cast

Kelley Dorney as Heidi and herself

Tom Trudgeon  as the Legion guy & Mike

 Sheila Correa  as herself

Creative Team 

Set designer Tim Mueller

lighting designer  Donny Jackson, costume designer Kim DeShazo, sound designer Dave Mickey 

 prop designer Patty Briles

Casting  Michael Donovan, CSA and Richie Ferris, CSA

Public Relations  Lucy Pollak

WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS TO ME

Written by Heidi Schreck
Produced and Directed 

by caryn desai [sic]

International City Theatre
Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center’s Beverly O’Neill Theater
330 East Seaside Way
Long Beach, CA 90802

Performances: May 3 – May 19
Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.: May 1 ONLY (preview)
Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.: May 2 (preview), May 9, May 16
Fridays at 7:30 p.m.: May 3 (Opening Night), May 10, May 17
Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.: May 4, May 11, May 18
Sundays at 2 p.m.: May 5, May 12, May 19

Opening Night (May 3): $55 (includes post-show reception with the actors)
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays (except Friday, May 3): $49
Sunday matinees: $52
Previews: $37

Tickets and Information:
InternationalCityTheatre.org.
(562) 436-4610