There were two shows to see today, but fortunately I only had to review one of them. In the afternoon, I had been invited to attend another meeting of the Woodland Shakespeare Book Club.
I'm still not entirely sure about this club and what it is about. This was my third time there. Apparently there are "public meetings" and "regular meetings," and as an applicant to be a member, I am only permitted to attend "public meetings," to which members can bring guests. All three public meetings I attended included a presentation of some kind or other (the first one was various readings, the second one a more staged presentation, and this one, which was a dramatic reading of the Moliere play --"The Learned Ladies"-- by several people).
I still don't know what goes on at a "regular meeting" and whether those include food, too, or more of a discussion about the book of the month or what. Presumably I will find out eventually.
But I went off to Woodland this afternoon to see what this month's public meeting would offer. The last two times we sat around tables, to make it easier to (a) eat and (b) discuss the book. This time the chairs were set up as for a lecture.
I was glad I had read the Moliere play because it did give me a leg up in following the dramatic reading, which consisted of six women playing 10 parts, the characters differentiated by a change in hat or, in the case of one character, the addition of a moustache.
They read from scripts which contained an abbreviated version of the play -- again, I was glad I had read the entire thing before coming to the meeting! In many respects, it reminded me of the plays of the March Family of "Little Women" fame, but it was great fun, if somewhat lacking in theatrical polish (never invite a critic to your play!)
There was food when it was over, and I had a great time talking with one of the actresses, who is a local actress, currently in a play in Sacramento, but at a theater that I don't get to review. She was one of the three who had given the strongest performance in the Moliere, and now I know why.
In the evening, we were off to Acme, the Young People's Theater (the one that Jeri and Paul performed with and which offers a scholarship each year in Paul's name). They did a play called "Radium Girls," which is the story of a famous lawsuit in the 1920s against the U.S. Radium Corporation whose initial lack of knowledge and later cover up of the dangers of exposure to radium caused the death of many of its workers who were exposed to massive doses of radium as they worked (they mention their clothes and shoes glowing in the dark, as they slept in their beds). They died long, painful, horribly disfiguring illnesses.
I am so consistently impressed with the quality of this theater company. For a bunch of young people, they sometimes give the most professional performances around. There wasn't a weak link in the 8 person cast and the show itself was excellent, with little light touches here and there -- like lighting the back of the stage a radiation green during set changes!) Writing the review was a breeze.
But now it's off to bed ... big day tomorrow. Jeri, who has been in Santa Barbara being Aunt Jeri for a few days, will be arriving in the Bay Area and we are going to drive down and have a belated Christmas with her and with my mother.