Posts Tagged Deb Anderson

The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley: Play Review


In “The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley”, Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon have brought back to life, delightful characters from Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice. The show also brings back fond memories of Downton Abby, with most of the action happening below stairs at Pemberley, home of Mr. and Mrs. Darcy (Keenan Flagg and Asha Kelly)

Action is again with George Wickham (Alexander Draa), the profligate, wayward, philanderer  husband of Lydia (Barbara Jackson). Younger sister of Elizabeth Darcy and Jane Bingly, Lydia, it seemed, with her silly giggles and girlish exuberance, was incapable of maturity and wisdom that her older sisters displayed, in dealing with matters of the heart, but the show has a surprise for the audience. As the family gathers to celebrate Christmas, Mr. Wickham is expressly not invited to the gathering. 

George Wickham arrives nevertheless, uninvited and unwanted, creating a headache for the below stairs residents, the housekeeper, Mrs. Reynols (Deb Anderson) and her assistants, Brian (Kyle Dayrit) and new hire, Cassie (Marlena Westley). Anderson is clearly the star of the show and her natural ease and stage presence is reminiscent of Downton Abby’s Mrs. Carson (Elsie Carson)

Image result for the wickhams christmas at pemberley, citylights

Writers Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon have moved along the story to fit into the 21st century narrative. Elizabeth Bennet, the dynamic protagonist in Pride and Prejudice, sought actual goodness over superficial goodness, especially when it came to choosing a life partner. That role is assumed by Cassie, and even good men sometimes require women to lead them in accepting role equality. Accordingly, Cassie tells her beau, “Love is about seeing someone and allowing them to be exactly as they are”. 

In “The Wickhams”, George Wickham is certainly a flawed character, but can Jane Austen’s heroine remain flawed forever? If your curiosity is piqued, then don’t miss the play. “The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley” will be playing at Citylights theater in San Jose, till December 22. Tickets can be obtained at www.cltc.org .

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Calendar Girls: Play Review


Image result for calendar girls, city lightsBased on a feel-good true story, “Calendar Girls” is adapted by Tim Firth from his original screenplay, for Nigel Cole’s 2003 British film, by the same name.  The play focuses on six women and their resolve to make a difference in the world, with meaningful contribution.  Members in a women’s club, these six women, Chris (Anne Younan), Annie (Deb Anderson), Cora (Caitlin L. Papp), Jessie (Ruth E. Stein), Celia (Karen DeHart), Ruth (Mary Lou Torre) often spar with the club queen bee Marie (Patricia Tyler) about how their club could be a more meaningful group.  Opportunity presents itself when Annie’s husband, John (Ken Boswell) passes away and in memory of John, the women decide to raise funds for a new couch in the waiting room of the local hospital.

They imagined that ordinary, run of the mill calendars with flowers and landmarks would not sell easily.  Chris and Annie came up with a unique idea (something they had jokingly discussed earlier in John’s presence). They decided to do a calendar with pictures of their group of mature women doing traditional Women’s Institute activities like knitting and baking, with a little twist. The women would pose in nude as they do these activities, with discreetly placed props to cover specific body parts with little exposure but more of a titillating suggestion.

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Image result for calendar girls, city lights     Image result for calendar girls, city lights

The women were not prepared for the notoriety and eventually international fame the calendar brought them. It took a toll on their friendships and personal lives. Sometimes they lashed out at each other and at other times in their frustration they lost sight of the fact that they had far exceeded their set goal.  While they had imagined raising a few hundred pounds for the couch, they ended up raising nearly 3 million pounds that enabled building of an entirely new hospital wing.

Eventually, these classy women found their footing and solace in their friendship. They recognized that “out of John’s tragic death came something very special; and acknowledged that “everything we do is born out of love for him”. Clearly their little act stood as a symbol of something much bigger than they had imagined. It was sexiness combined with spunk, mixed with a dose of sass that set them free and enabled them to create a work of art, in favor of a worthy cause, and the world took notice and found inspiration.

While the story is played on world stage, Director, Jeffrey Bracco, Scenic Designer, Ron Gasparinetti and Stage Manager, Kimberly Scofield did a fabulous job in bringing the world to the women, on stage. Calendar Girls will be playing at City Lights Theater in San Jose, CA till December 18, 2016 and tickets are available at www.cltc.org .

 

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The Language Archive – Play Review


“What is death to a language.  There are 6900 languages in the world,  Every two weeks, a language dies.  This statistic moves me more than any other.  It is death of imagination”.  This heartfelt dialog comes from in Julia Cho’s play, directed by Virginia Drake, “The Language Archive”, currenty running at Citiy Lights Theater www.cltc.org in San Jose.  George (Jeffrey Bracco) is a linguist and he documents and catalogs rare languages, their idioms expressions, before the language fades away, but he is at total loss for words, when it comes to speaking the language of the heart.  Though he is troubled by his wife’s sadness and though he uses a lot of words, George can’t talk about feelings.  George’s wife, Mary (fabulous Lisa Mallette) wears her heart on her sleeve and is looking for some passion and emotion, a spark, any spark.

Language archiveGeorge’s assistant, Emma (Kendall Callaghan) is deeply in love with George, so much so, that she is willing to sacrifice her own love for the sake of George’s happiness, and get him back together with his estranged wife.  George and Emma are recording last known speakers of Elloway, Resten (Ben Ortega) and his spunky wife Alta (Deb Anderson),  However, Alta and Resten refuse to speak in Elloway, since they are fighting and we are informed, English is a better language to express anger.  While George is deadly serious about preserving dying languages, Mary is preoccupied with unexpressed emotions.  Alta and Resten on the other hand, don’t seem to be interested in preserving the language or expressing love, but they like to talk.

Are there lessons in Alta and Resten’s relationship?  What turn will George and Mary’s relationship take?  Will Emma express her feelings to George?  But most importantly, will George, the master of words, brimming with ideas and brilliant in mind, learn to verbalize what is in his heart and express his feelings?  Can one learn to speak the language of the heart?  What is your experience with words; words like a starter of a loaf of bread, that give sustenance and give rise to more nourishing stuff or words as ornamental expression of ideas?  See for yourself and you be the judge of how well you speak the language of the heart.  Audience also gets an opportunity to learn a lesson in speaking the language of love, as they repeat after George, “Mi estas amita”, “I have been loved”.

“The Language Archive will be running at City Lights in San Jose, till June 29, 2014.  For tickets go to www.cltc.org.

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