hree show weekends are really exhausting. This was a 3-show weekend, as is next weekend.
The first show of this theater orgy, though, was a play called Pronoun written in 2014 as part of Britain's National Theater Connections Festival, and it toured across the UK, being performed by youth theater groups.
It is a timely piece that explores gender, specifically transgender, and challenge's the audience's perceptions of gender. It was performed by Davis' youth theater group, Acme, now in its 37th year. Jeri and Paul were among the founding members and it is still going strong, now under new leadership but still producing controversial works. It also, each year, gives back to the city, which has helped them financially over the years, by performing a free outdoor (often a Shakespeare) on the outdoor stage of the Art Center. One of those Davis traditions that just grew.
During its history, Acme has not been shy about tackling controversial subjects and this may be at the top of the list for controversial.
The story centers around Dean, whose hero is James Dean is transitioning from female to male. While there are myriad difficulties for transgender kids, this story centers on Dean's feelings about his body (and his need for removal of his breasts) and the acceptance of his family and friends. Though he is in high school, we don't see any of the conflict a kid like Dean would obviously find in school, or the scorn and suspicion he would find within his community.
It concentrates a lot on the difference between "tolerance" and "acceptance" and the speech Dean gives to his high school on the subject is one of the most powerful scenes in the show.
Sadly, Acme usually has projection problems and so I missed chunks of dialog, when spoken by certain actors, so I came home, downloaded the script from Amazon, and spent Saturday reading it. Then I spent most of Saturday afternoon writing the review.
Saturday night we took my mother to the Davis Musical Theater Company's production of 42nd Street. Every so often she complains that it has been so long since she has been to a show and I've been waiting for one that I thought she could follow. 42nd Street is a musical which is set in the 1930s and is mostly singing and dancing, so it seemed perfect for her. I knew she would never remember she was going, so I went to Atria to have dinner with her (though she had already eaten when I got there, so I never got dinner) and she wouldn't be blindsided at the last minute, though I must have told her a dozen times what we were going to do. At least she was kinda sorta ready when Walt came to pick us up.
In all honesty, I don't know if she knew where she was or what she was doing there. She sat stoically through the whole thing and never so much as cracked a smile, never clapped once, even during the standing ovation at the end of the show. It was both sweet and sad that I realized before the show that she was watching me looking at the program and turning to the same pages whenever I changed the page. I don't think she actually read the program.
She never said a single word after the show about it. I'm convinced that when she finds the program in her purse she won't have a clue how it got there. So...cross that activity off the list of "things to do to enrich my mother's social life."
But the show was excellent, with amazing tap dancing and some outstanding performances, especially by the actress who played the heroine and the guy who was the producer of the show within the show, who, in my opinion stole the show. He doesn't sing until near the end of the show and he just blew us away. I had forgotten that I had also been blown away by his performance in Man of La Mancha recently.
I spent Sunday morning writing the review of 42nd Street for the Sacramento paper but didn't have time to finish the review for the Davis paper because we were going to a matinee of I Love You, You're Perfect, No Change, at a theater in Sacramento.
If we had to go to Sacramento for a show, I'm glad it was for the matinee because it had started raining and I hate the thought of driving all that way in the rain. By the time we left at the end of the show it was pouring, and I was very happy that it was still light.
It's a cute little "boutique show," as someone called. Two me and two women sing songs about couples meeting, getting to know each other and falling in love. Act 1 ends with a wedding. Act 2 starts as a couple starts on their honeymoon and takes the couples through becoming parents, the empty nest, growing old and losing a partner. Act 2 is actually kind of depressing, snappy tunes notwithstanding.
I was in an interesting position because I was sitting next to my colleague Patti and in front of two Davis friends, a couple we have known for more than 40 years. (She is part of our dumpTrump luncheon group.)
The Davis friends absolutely LOVED the show. She told me several times how much she loved it, while my colleague was telling me how much she hated the show. She had a very good point in that this was a show that will appeal to older white married couples with children, which describes our friends. But if you are a young person, or a person of any color, I'm not o sure it will be as enjoyable.
As for me, I didn't realize how tired I was. Walt kept poking me to wake me up, when I didn't think I was sleeping at all and resented being poked so much. But when intermission came, though I know I was awake, I couldn't really remember much about Act 1. I drank water all through Act 2 and remember it clearly. Now I have to write the review, which will be interesting.
We managed to get home literally 3 minutes after the start of the Golden Globes, which made me a happy camper. I do love awards shows and this one starts the parade, though it is the most fun of them all. I was so proud of Meryl Streep, winning a lifelong achievement award, for standing up to the president elect, regarding his attempt to humiliate the disabled reporter, during the campaign. "This instinct to humiliate, when it's modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody's life, because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence," she continued. "And the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose."
Needless to say, the incoming president had nothing better to do than to tweet about it: " "Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood, doesn't know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes. She is a Hillary flunky who lost big. For the 100th time, I never 'mocked' a disabled reporter (would never do that) but simply showed him 'groveling' when he totally changed a 16 year old story that he had written in order to make me look bad. Just more very dishonest media!"