Sunday, November 29, 2009

Another 3-Show Weekend

Three show weekends used to be the exception; they are starting to become the norm at certain times of the year! (We even had a 3-show weekend in New York!)

Friday night we went to the opening performance of Sister's Christmas Catechism, at a cabaret theatre in Sacramento, across the street from the state capitol. The previous show at this cabaret, Sister's Late Night Catechism was very funny if you had a Catholic school education, but deadly dull if you didn't understand all the religious talk. Thus I loved it, my fellow reviewer hated it.

Fortunately, Christmas Catechism requires no background in the Catholic religion or any knowledge of the Baltimore catechism. It relies very heavily on audience participation, however, and I spent most of the show worried I would be called on (but I wasn't). The actress who plays "Sister" cut her acting chops at Chicago's Second City and has a very long background in improvisational theatre (and presumably this also includes the talent to recognize people who don't want to be recognized!)

The people sitting at the tables in front of us were very much into this whole thing, desperately wanted to participate, had brought cameras to record everything and must have been an actress' dream.

It wasn't until one of the group was called up on stage to become the Ox in CSI Bethlehem, which would attempt to discover whatever happened to the Maji's gold, that Walt realized who it was

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It was the son of my former boss, Ann Holke, who died a year ago. How I wanted to rush home and tell her that her son had been on stage in this silly Christmas pageant. He is known better as a detective for the Davis Police, one who was quite active in the hunt for the murderers of two students killed several years ago.

When the show was over, I told him that his mother would have been very proud of his performance....he said he was just glad he hadn't been selected to play the ass.

The nice thing about cabaret shows is that they are generally shorter than plot shows, so we were home in plenty of time to enjoy our Thanksgiving pumpkin pie, that I had left cooling on the stove when we left.

NutW.jpg (45011 bytes)This evening we went to see a production of The Nutcracker, which I was not reviewing, oddly enough! I had interviewed the ballet teacher/choreographer for a feature article and she gave me tickets when I expressed interest in seeing it. Jeri used to study ballet with her and she has come a long way from the days when she sent home sheets of paper that said "mothers will make costumes," which always sent me into heart failure.

Around here when you think ofThe Nutcracker you more often than not think of an extravaganza cast with 200 kids under the age of 12, who get their roles by a lottery system and which bears only vague resemblance to the show that Tschaikovsky originally wrote. Fun, cute and all that, but not really "ballet."

Tonight's show was the "ballet" version and from everything I'd heard during my interview, I expected it to be more professional than it was. Oh, it's quite good -- a ginormous step up from the days when Jeri was dancing -- and the principal dancers are very good, but basically it's a ballet class production and so nothing is as polished as my article indicated. But the little kids were adorable, especially the ones who were really too young to dance and who were shepherded around the stage during the party scene by their mothers.

Somehow it just wasn't the same without the sugar plum that raises up on a genie lift, the big chair that Walt sat in for his 50th birthday party, and without the gnomes creeping around in fog low to the stage, the bolero dancers, the bakers, and a host of other categories they made up just to get kids into the show. Or without the masses of kids coming out on stage for the final bow!

Nut86.jpg (123019 bytes)

Tomorrow it is a Christmas pageant and I'm not sure how that's going to go, but I hope I sleep well tonight because I'm reviewing that one!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh WOW! I am so jealous of the kids round your way. The Nutcracker? How cool is that? Hang the proper ballet, I want to be the sugar plum fairy.