Ryan Beltram, EDN
We’re getting closer and closer to the holidays, and the local playhouses and high schools are beginning to debut new plays. Some are Christmas-themed and others are of a different variety. But there’s something for everyone looking to be entertained by local theater.
The Actors Cabaret of Eugene is certainly in the Christmas spirit. Opening Friday, Nov. 18, the local theater will debut A Christmas Carol at 7:30 p.m., and again on Saturday night. Following a Thanksgiving break, the play will resume Nov. 25 and 26 at 7:30 p.m., and again in early December.
For anyone who isn’t familiar with Charles Dickens’ classic story, A Christmas Carol follows holiday grump Ebenezer Scrooge who is awakened on Christmas Eve by spirits who reveal to him his own miserable existence, missed opportunities during his youth and his current cruelties towards everyone around him. During the night before Christmas, the spirits warn him of the dire fate that awaits him if he does not change his ways. Scrooge must decide what his own future will hold: death or redemption.
Over at the Lord Leebrick Theatre, production continues on Endgame. The play debuted in early November and will continue from Thursday, Nov. 17 at 8 p.m., through Sunday, Nov. 20 at 2 p.m. The Sunday time will be last showing.
Written by Samuel Beckett, Endgame is a one act play that focuses on Hamm, an aged master who is blind and unable to stand up. Clov is his servant who cannot sit down. The two characters are dependent on each other, and yet they have been fighting for years and continue as the play progresses. The tone and language of the play is considered absurdist humor, and yet Beckett was able to achieve a poetic grace with his archetypal characters, despite the bizarre condition in which the characters live.
Why should playhouses have all the fun? A younger group of thespians is also showcasing its acting chops at the high school level.
South Eugene is finishing its run of the play, Curtains. The play, which began in early November, will show on Nov. 17, 18 and 20. The Thursday and Friday shows are at 7:30 p.m., and the finale on Sunday is at 2 p.m.
Directed by Pat Avery, Curtains is a musical involving murder, mystery and bad acting. Set in 1959 Boston, Massachusetts, the play follows Detective Frank Cioffi, who is called to investigate the death of Jessica Cranshaw, a terrible performer who is murdered on the opening night of Robbin’ Hood of the Old West. Detective Cioffi moonlights as a musical theater fan, so it’s fitting that he is tasked with the mission of saving the show, solving the murder and maybe even finding love without getting himself killed.
North Eugene has its own show playing on Friday, titled Once In A Lifetime. The show is at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 18, and at 1 p.m.and 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19. These are the only two days this play will be showing.
Once In A Lifetime chronicles the effect talking pictures had on the entertainment industry in the early 20th Century. This satirical comedy focuses on three characters who decide to head west after their vaudeville act starts to falter. Thinking outside the box, they come to Hollywood and present themselves as experts in the field of training actors, who are unaccustomed to speaking on these new devices called cameras. Along the way, they meet playwrights, silent film stars and aspiring actresses in an attempt to rejuvenate their careers.
Willamette will be presenting Fools at 7:30 PM from Thursday, Nov. 17-19 at the Powers Auditorium.
Veteran playwright Neil Simon penned the light-hearted romantic comedy, Fools about Leon Tolchinksy, an ambitious young schoolteacher arriving in a small village in the Ukraine. After brief encounters with some locals, Leon is introduced to his new employer, Doctor Zubritsky. Eventually he meets Zubritsky’s daughter, Sophia, and is immediately lovestruck. Determined to win her heart, Leon pretends to be a moron because apparently everyone in town suffers from idiocy.
The Thurston Theatre department kicks off its season with The Laramie Project. The play will run Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 18-20 at 7:00 p.m.
The Laramie Project is a socially relevant play about the reaction to the 1998 murder of University of Wyoming gay student Matthew Shepard. The murder was denounced as a hate crime, motivated by homophobia, and brought attention to the lack of hate crime laws in various states, including Wyoming.
There’s a lot going on this week in local theater and you have a chance to see actors both professional and amateur perform.