Dear Friends of the Pub Quiz,
Something magical happens when a play comes together as it should. What may seem miraculous to the director and cast just seems like a collection of wonders to the audience member who is willing to suspend disbelief for a couple hours.
I know this feeling of a project “coming together” from teaching a class that depends upon the insightful participation of my students, and they come through for me. I’ve known this feeling when hosting fundraisers, coming up with quips and jokes on the fly that show I am paying attention and that I care about the cause. On the radio, a promotional interview can sometimes turn into a real conversation, one where I forget to remind listeners of the name and book title of my guest. These moments of linguistic, participatory tightrope-walking must be what inspire and attract improv comedians, freestyle poets, contact jugglers, and certain con artists, those whose flirtations with danger, with failure, are fun to watch.
The Davis Shakespeare Ensemble has put on another terrific show as part of their Davis Shakespeare Festival. And although the plays do not offer as many improvisational elements as 2015’s The Mystery of Edwin Drood (for which the audience got to vote for the ending of this play based on Charles Dickens’ last and unfinished novel), many times while watching the plays of the current season, I asked myself, “Now how did they pull THAT off?” I’ve seen a lot of plays, but I rarely do I come away amazed at what I’ve seen.
As a fan of martial arts, I’ve always admired daring fight choreography involving athletic masters like Jackie Chan or Donnie Yen. I’ve also enjoyed watching my daughter Geneva confidently spar with larger opponents as she was earning her second degree black belt with Steve Rodness here in town. But rarely does one get to see fight choreography in person, especially with the sort of rapiers once wielded by musketeers serving the King of France. Such is the case with The Three Musketeers, one of the two shows being staged now by our own Davis Shakespeare Ensemble. You will also love the characters, sets, and acting of the troupe of actors, which grows larger and more talented every year.
Playing in repertory with The Three Musketeers is a play I saw Friday night, Wonderful Town, a Leonard Bernstein musical that features the charismatic acting and virtuoso singing of the Battista sisters, Gia and Gabby Battista. They play sisters in this musical, as well, and joyfully interact with a host of eccentric and hilarious characters in Greenwich Village. The set changes in this play amazed me, reminding me that grand spectacle and top-notch shows can be enjoyed here in Davis, as well as in Sacramento, San Francisco, and New York City.
This coming weekend is your LAST opportunity to enjoy these two productions. Visit http://www.shakespearedavis.org/plays/ to find out more about the Davis Shakespeare Ensemble. Tell them that Dr. Andy sent you for VIP treatment (though everyone gets VIP treatment).
Need some hints for tonight’s Pub Quiz? In addition to topics raised above, tonight expect questions on urban turmoil, repeated cinematic success, Smokey Mountain towns, threads, gold, comedies and tragedies, biographies in India, repeals, blood vessels, ballet, French benefits, ladies named Eileen who turn out not to be Irish, unusual berries, sergeants, science fiction, farmers, famous clocks, unusual words, flood waters, first children, shrubs, queens and presidents, numbers that are divisible by 20, birth states, the unusual word “oeuvre,” passing of the musical torch, zombies, Spanish phrases, unbelievable in North America, ruggedness, Fred Perry, oddly-spelled silhouette, New Jersey, dancing, mergers and acquisitions, insurance policies, and Shakespeare.
Poetry Night is Thursday the 3rd at 8. Details below.
See you this evening!
Here are three questions from last week’s quiz:
- Mottos and Slogans. What retail chain uses the slogan “Dress for Less”?
- Internet Culture. What animated destructive protagonist is returning in a film sequel in which he supposedly “breaks the internet”?
- Newspaper Headlines. We learned from the New York Times today that what percentage of law school graduates are women? Is it closest to 12, 25, 37, or 50%?
P.S. The Poetry Reading Series is proud to feature two outstanding poets: Mary Barbara Moore (visiting from West Virginia), and Susan Kelly-DeWitt. Both will read on Thursday, August 3rd at 8 P.M. They will be performing at the John Natsoulas Gallery at 521 1st Street in Davis.
Mary Barbara Moore began giving poetry readings in Sacramento and Davis in the late 1980s, and returns to us after a multi-decade hiatus. For many years Mary Moore taught literature classes (poetry, Renaissance literature, women’s literature, modernism), and expository writing at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. She has published three books of poetry. She’s a delightful person.
Opening for Mary Moore will be Susan Kelly-DeWitt. Kelly-DeWitt is the author of many books, most recently Spider Season from Cold River Press (2016).
Find details about this event at the Poetry in Davis website.