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ON STAGE: 'The Foreigner,' 'Bat Boy' and Edge Performance Festival

4.17.2013

From melodrama to tap

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Photos by Abigail Alcala (Undergraduate One-Acts and Hour of 5s), Molly Wagoner (Deirdre Morris) and Kelly Taylor (Las Lloronas)

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EDGE FESTIVAL
AT A GLANCE

WHAT: Edge Performance Festival

WHEN AND WHERE:

  • Main Stage Dance — 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, April 25-27 and May 2-4, and 2 p.m. Sunday, April 28 and May 5. Main Theatre, Wright Hall.
  • Hour of 5s and Undergraduate One-Acts — 9 p.m. Friday-Saturday, April 26-27 and May 3-4, and 5 p.m. Sunday, April 28 and May 5.
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Showmidnight Saturday, April 27 and May 4. Wyatt Pavilion Theatre.

TICKETS

  • Main Stage Dance, and Hour of 5s-Undergraduate One Acts — $10 per event (Hour of 5s and Undergraduate One-Acts are combined into a single event), in advance or at the door. Advance tickets are available through the Mondavi Center box office: online; by telephone, (530) 754-2787 or (800) 754-2787; and in person (noon-6 p.m. Monday-Friday).
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show — $10 at the door (only), cash only.

ADVISORY: The Rocky Horror Picture Show is rated R. All other events are rated PG-13.

The Arts on Picnic Day and beyond

On- and off-campus theater companies are putting on plays, The Foreigner and Bat Boy: The Musical, on the Wyatt Deck and in the Wyatt Pavilion Theatre, while the Department of Theatre and Dance plays around the edges, literally and figuratively.

The third annual Edge Performance Festival, featuring drama, comedy, song and a variety of dance, including aerial, hip-hop and tap, will run from April 25 to May 5 in the Main Theatre and Lab A in Wright Hall, just across the arboretum waterway from the Wyatt stages.

The festival also includes two midnight screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show in the Wyatt Pavilion.

Studio 301 Productions, the campus’s only student-run theater company, is using the Wyatt Pavilion for Bat Boy: The Musical, April 25-May 4.

Meanwhile, Common House Productions is using the Wyatt Deck, overlooking the waterway and Lake Spafford, for a staging of The Foreigner, April 18-28, including a free performance on Picnic Day (April 20).

Common House, founded last June, is an off-campus troupe with a lot of campus connections — not the least of which is a partnership with the arboretum, which governs the use of the Wyatt Deck. The Common House board includes alumni with previous experience in the Department of Theatre and Dance, Studio 301 and the Davis Shakespeare Ensemble (which also has made use of the arboretum).

And now comes the company’s debut production:

The Foreigner

The comedy by American playwright Larry Shue debuted off-Broadway in 1984 and has become a staple of American theater — telling the story of an Englishman named Charlie Baker, who, while visiting a fishing lodge in Georgia, pretends to be from an exotic foreign country and that he speaks no English.

“Join us on Wyatt Deck, our own rural Georgia retreat, for a show complete with grits, debutantes and chipmunks,” the Common House website states. “This zany play is rife with deception and revelations that shine a light on what people are willing to divulge when they think no one is listening.”

The details: 8 p.m. Thursday-Friday, April 18-19; 10 a.m. Saturday, April 20; and 8 p.m. Sunday, April 21, and Thursday-Sunday, April 25-28. Tickets for all performances except April 20: $10 adults, $8 students, seniors and children. Reservations can be arranged via Common House Productions’ online box office, or by email, commonhouseproductions@gmail.com. The April 20 Picnic Day performance is free.

Edge Performance Festival

This year’s festival comprises Main Stage Dance, Hour of 5s, Undergraduate One-Acts and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, a cult cinema favorite that traditionally finds audience members in costume, singing along.

Main Stage Dance features eight new choreographies devised by graduate and qualifying undergraduate students:

  • Las Lloronas Mary Ann Brooks, a Master of Fine Arts candidate, devised this choreography and performs it with Maria de los Angeles Ceja, a part-time student in the Department of Chicana/o Studies. In reimagining the legend of la llorona, a wandering spirit who wails for the children she has drowned, Brooks creates a new mythos that transforms the traditional story from one that is laden in fear to a story of human vulnerability.  
  • La Luna — Choreographer-performer Deirdre Morris, M.F.A. candidate, has a conversation with the moon — a lyrical, aerial hoop dance complete with an original soundscape.
  • Echoes and Ghosts — In another dance that she created, Morris examines women’s rights in this piece that grew out of her work in the canals and arroyo water systems of the Southwest.
  • A Formal Evening — Choreographed and performed by Zach Heinzer and Maribel Lopez, undergraduates, and Nicole Casado, a recent graduate. The work explores sensuality and elegance, symbolized by red lips and a flowing yellow gown that embraces the small of a woman¹s back, and the straight line of a crisply knotted tie as it falls down a man’s postured torso.
  • I Need — Choreography by Heinzer, Lopez and Casado, relating their personal experiences with abusive relationships. The three worked on the choreography in collaboration with the performers, Hien Hyuen and Fidel Prestegui.

Casado, Heinzer and Lopez also present individual works dealing with Grandma’s house, windows and movement around benches:

  • Ananá (Casado) — Performed by Prestegui and Lisette Guidos.
  • Window Shopping (Heinzer) — Performed by Casado, Heinzer, Lopez, Huynh, Prestegui and Guidos.
  • Bound Melody (Lopez) — Performed by Casado, Heinzer, Lopez and Cynthia Arellanes.

Hour of 5s — Five-minute acts, including scenes, monologues, music, dance and song. A sampling of the program:

  • Samulnori drumming, reflecting the Korean cultural heritage of undergraduates Kevin Chung and Cecilia Kim.
  • Singer Roman Alyas, a second-year student, accompanied by third-year student Josh Kim on guitar.
  • "Wild tap dancing" by freshman Alyssa Burton.

Undergraduate One-Acts — Original plays in the intimate Laboratory A theater.

  • The Turquoise Room, written by Nate Kommoju and directed by Master of Fine Arts candidate Lindsay Beamish — A train trip to an unknown destination is thwarted by loneliness, the folly of man and a banana split.
  • Lutefisk, written by Bijan Ghiasi and directed by second-year student Kazia Hart — An exotic and weird salad of sorts.
  • Chair Games, written by Anna Chalmers and directed by fourth-year student Kevin Adamski — The pros and cons of television watching.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show — Costume rentals are available — in advance only — from the department’s Enchanted Cellar. For more information on costume rentals, call the cellar at (530) 752-0740.

Bat Boy: The Musical

Three dope-smoking siblings found him — half bat, half human — in a cave near Hope Falls, W.Va. They brought him to the sheriff, who turned him over to a veterinarian.

Sounds like something you’d read in the supermarket tabloid Weekly World News. And, that’s exactly where the story first appeared, in 1992.

Five years later came the musical, a spoof on contemporary culture from musical theatre, to musical genres, to horror films, to opera to pop culture. And now comes Bat Boy: The Musical from Studio 301 Productions, which declares about the show: “Nothing is sacred in its mockumentalizing of the tabloidal story that reached millions of people through its display at the checkout counter.”

The details: 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, April 25-27 and May 2-4, and 2 p.m. Sunday, April 28. Wyatt Pavilion Theatre. Tickets $12 general, $10 students, available from the UC Davis ticket office, online; by phone, (530) 752-2471; or in person (the ticket office, at Aggie Stadium (north side), is open from noon to 5 p.m. weekdays.

More information is available by email, studio301productions@gmail.com.

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