The Shakespeare Festival is underway at the Old Globe, a new theater company enters the scene, and an 80s musical just "keeps on keepin' on." We'll talk theater with the U-T's theater critic, Jim Hebert.
Jim Hebert is the theater critic at the San Diego Union-Tribune.
CAVANAUGH: Summer theatre in San Diego is about as eclectic as it comes. Right now on our weekend preview, we're about to talk about plays that range from Shakespeare to cage goo goo. Joining me is Jim Ebert, theatre critic at the San Diego Union Tribune.
HEBERT: You know cage goo goo? I'm so impressed. It's nice to see you again.
CAVANAUGH: Amadeus at The Old Globe Shakespeare festival opens tomorrow not. Why is that paired with some of the creations from the Bard?
HEBERT: It's kind of like baked Shakespeare. It's 33†percent less Shakespeare than your regular festival. It's something they have been doing for a couple years now. It was started by Darko Trevnic who's the former artistic director. And he added Cyrano de Bergerac a few years ago. So that started the trend. Shakespeare is not writing anymore plays as far as I know, anyway.
CAVANAUGH: What else is running in the Shakespeare festival this summer?
HEBERT: They're putting up the Tempest, directed by Adrian noble who's the artistic director now of the festival. And much ado about nothing, this one stars an actual married couple, Jonno Roberts and Georgia Hatzis. I hung out with them a little bit. They are really something else. They have this ability to just knock the stuffing out of each other verbally, anyway. They're really totally perfect for those real roles. They're a lot of fun.
CAVANAUGH: For those of us who are more familiar with the Amadeus film rather than the play, it's written by playwright David shaver, right?
HEBERT: Peter shaver.
CAVANAUGH: I misread here. And it's the story of Mozart and Salieri.
HEBERT: Right. It's the story of the rivalry between those two. It's a somewhat fictionalized story. But Mozart, of course the great composer, and Salieri, the not quite so remembered composer who was somewhat of a rival to Mozart and was -- in this story anyways, very jealous of Mozart's talent. And to the point of wishing him or maybe arranging for him some bodily harm.
CAVANAUGH: And this plays in repertory with the other two Shakespeare plays?
HEBERT: They run in nightly rotation out doors in the globe.
CAVANAUGH: Where it can get Chile?
HEBERT: It can. One thing that's nice this year is in the space where they have the festival, they've actually put in new seats, and they're padded because before you really needed to bring a seat pad if you didn't want to be squirming through the entire second act. These plays tend to run about three hours. Now they're a little on or aboutier. So as long as you bring something. They rent blankets there as well. But it's a good idea to put on something warm.
CAVANAUGH: When the night gets very, very cool as the plays go on. Amadeus plays in repertory at The Old Globe through September 22nd. Break up, break down, a new theatre company launched in San Diego is presenting this play. The theatre company is called circle circle dot dot. Tell us about them.
HEBERT: Yes, really interesting new company. They're doing all original work. It's a collaborative. It's a theatre collective, essentially, and they create these works together. The first one is kind of a romantic prehard edge romantic comedy. They want to do pieces that are about issues in the community, and talk about those things based on feedback from people they talk to from various communities in San Diego.
CAVANAUGH: You say this particular one is a kind of a bittersweet comedy?
HEBERT: Yeah. It's based on true accounts of really breakups people have had, and the mourning stories surrounding those events. One of them involves a woman whose friends find her drinking and singing alone after a breakup. And they take her out for a makeover, and that ends more disastrously. And they took these stories from members of the ensemble, and people they know on the outside and created a collage of these tales.
CAVANAUGH: Circle circle dot dot, the way you described it, that's a rather ambitious goal that they have, and it's really ambitious to start a new theatre company in these economic times.
HEBERT: It is. Honestly, it's incredibly difficult to do even in the best of times. But Brendan Cavalier, who's one of the leaders of the company, told me that if you have a great idea, there's no sense sitting on it. That's their attitude. Do it now, when things pick up, maybe they'll be well situated to grow and expand.
CAVANAUGH: What challenges do you expect them to face here in San Diego?
HEBERT: A big challenge here is that there are a lot of companies that don't have their own performance space, which is true of circle circle dot dot. I'm calling them C2 D2. No relation to star wars. But that's an issue. Finding a place to perform. They're performing at the tenth avenue theatre downtown. But I have to say, the one really interesting thing they're doing is they got all the funding for this production from a web project called kickstarter.com, which you might have heard of. Essentially, it recruits people to sponsor your creative project. In return you offer various rewards. C2 D2 offered for anyone who donated $200, they were offering to create a puppet in that person's likeness. Because some of them are puppeteers, and they do that for a living. And I think if you give them a bunch of money, you could get a role named for you in the play.
CAVANAUGH: Oh, that's wonderful.
HEBERT: It's kind of on the cutting edge approach to -- and they got all their funding, they made their funding goal from that.
CAVANAUGH: Circle circle dot dot, C2 D2 opens their first show Friday night at the downtown tenth avenue theatre. Death of a salesman, our town, two American theatre classics. Don't have much time to talk about them. Just tell us where they are and the idea of this summer and audiences wanting to know well known material.
HEBERT: They have name brand appeal already. They're two of the mount Everests of American theatre. Death of a salesman is at New Village Arts in Carlsbad, and signature theatre in old town is doing our town.
CAVANAUGH: And as I said, those classics really bring people in in the summer, I would imagine.
HEBERT: They do. I think the theatre companies also like to measure themselves against these classics. These are both companies that have been around for a few years now and have been on the rise. It's I chance for them to really see where they stand against these really master works.
CAVANAUGH: And death of a salesman plays at New Village Arts theatre in Carlsbad through July†3rd. Our town plays at the old town theatre through July†10th. And we don't really have time to talk about cage goo goo except to say the lamb's players production of mix tape is coming up on its one year anniversary. Mix tape plays at the Horton grand theatre through September†4th. I've been speaking with Jim Ebert, theatre critic at the San Diego Union Tribune. Thank you very much.
HEBERT: Gauge goo goo to you. No, thank you Maureen.