Sarah Ruhl, playwright of Eurydice
Go see a play this weekend. You'll meet grunts in Vietnam, people riding elevators to Hell, a "poisonous hunch-backed toad," and actors performing four different one-hour shows at the Civic. All that, and a Kander and Ebb revue in CdA, too.
Hal Holbrook appears in Mark Twain Tonight! (Sat, 7 pm, INB Center). Visit bestofbroadwayspokane.com. The recent controversies over bowdlerization of Huck Finn and Garrison Keillor's critical review of the first volume of the Autobiography shouldn't obscure the fact that this might be the 86-year-old's final visit to Spokane in the ice cream suit and whiskers. Read a preview.
Jeff Sanders, who's a lecturer in theater at EWU and is currently playing the father in Privilege at Interplayers, has adapted Tim O'Brien's Vietnam War novel, The Things They Carried — which is also the focus of Spokane's version of the Big Read, with discussions and theatrical events taking place all around the area through April 24 and featuring O'Brien's appearance at the Bing on April 16 as part of Get Lit!
Several playgoers have written in to say how impressive they think Sanders' adaptation and his wife Sara Goff's direction are. Just four performances left: Thurs 5 pm, Fri-Sat 7:30 pm at EWU's University Theater, Cheney; and a special free performance at the Bing on Friday, March 18, at 7:30 pm .
The Washington State Community Theater Festival (known as "Kaleidoscope") is at the Civic: Fri 7-8:30 pm, Sat 2-6 pm. Because of Tacoma's cancellation, Friday brings just one performance (a comedy from Richland about two hacks trying to write a play), while Saturday features three (a two-hander from Richland set in a mansion; the Civic's one-hour version of Spelling Bee; and an Arthur Miller drama from Bremerton). Food and parties at each day's end. $15 and $20. Call 325-2507.
Damon Mentzer, who has played leading roles at the Civic, Interplayers and Actors Rep, takes on the longest role in Shakespeare in Richard III at SFCC: Thurs-Sat 7 pm. $8. 533-3592. (That's Laurence Olivier in the 1955 movie, right.)
Eurydice is at Whitworth: Fri-Sat 8 pm (final two performances). It's a quirky drama by by Pulitzer nominee Sarah Ruhl (pictured; no, she's not the one in the crown) about the myth told from the wife's point of view: What if she misses her father so much (he's already in Hades) that she doesn't really want to follow her husband back into our world? (Orestes doesn't think of anything besides music anyway.) Brooke Kiener's production in Cowles Auditorium suffers some from proscenium-distancing, but there are lots of humorous moments in this 90-minute show. College shows often have trouble with elderly characters, and this show's no exception; further, the three choral Stones hit a languourous, cynical tone and not much else (there's more potential in the script). But the two leads are full of grace and youthful idealism -- and best of all, set designer Peter Hardie actually pulls off the watery special effects for the rides down to the Underworld. (No spoilers, but it's the show's signature visual effect.) And the final sequence (involving those SFX) was exquisite.
Menopause the Musical is at Northern Quest Casino in Airway Heights, March 12-17 (times vary). Call 242-7000 or visit northernquest.com. And The Music Man will be playing the Pend Oreille Pavillion there on April 5-10.
Fri-Sat 7:30 pm, Lake City Playhouse in CdA has a musical fundraiser directed by Troy Nickerson and music-directed by Carolyn Jess: And the World Goes 'Round: The Music of Kander and Ebb, featuring songs from Chicago, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Cabaret, Funny Girl, The Rink and New York, New York, among others. Call (208) 667-1323.