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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Winter Arts Preview: Theater

Sure it’s cold, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay cooped up at home all winter. UC Davis’ hottest tickets this quarter include a full-length opera, shows by more than a few world-famous musicians and movies featuring Johnny Depp as a chameleon and Neil Patrick Harris as a blind tutor. We know you don’t want to miss out on any of this, so read on for details.


MOMIX (Jan. 29, 30)

MOMIX director Moses Pendleton and his company of internationally-renowned dance-illusionists will grace the presence of the Mondavi Center on Jan. 29 and 30. MOMIX has dazzled audiences around the world with skilled dance talent, remarkable costumes, entrancing music and fascinating props. In their new performance entitled Botanica, these performers artistically and physically illustrate the four seasons of the year that we all know and love – but onstage.

In her review of the show, The New York Times’ Roslyn Sulcas says the fun in the performance is interpreting the effects of the illusionists are made.

“[It] traffics in this tension between illusion and reality, apprehension and excitement: as with a Halloween disguise, you know there is a person behind the mask. The fun is in figuring out just how the effect is created,” Sulcas said.

Student tickets range from $12.50 to 24.50. Go to mondaviarts.org for more information.

– Lea Murillo

Spring Awakening (Feb. 9-20)

Studio 301 will perform this controversial and wildly energetic play at the Arboretum’s Wyatt Pavilion. This play, while widely known for its musical rendition, is the original work of Frank Wedekind’s tragedy in three acts. Studio 301’s very concise cast of nine will have to discover how to delicately handle the play’s adult content, including issues of abortion, homosexuality, rape and masturbation. But this challenge was just part of the fun for director Mitchell Vanlandingham.

“I chose Spring Awakening because, with its themes of willful ignorance about sex education, and the harshness and callousness of the adult world toward its children, it is remarkably relevant to twenty-first century America,” Vanlandingham said.

Go to Studio 301’s Facebook page for more information.

– Brittany Pearlman

Body of Knowledge (Feb. 18-27)

Have you ever yearned for the chance to experience a performance as it is happening? What about the opportunity to interact with professional theatre performers and be part of the action? This once-in-a-lifetime chance has arrived.

Body of Knowledge, a performance to be hosted by the theatre and dance department, is a unique “interactive performance work” in which the audience members play a central role. While a video projection screen plays clips meant to invoke both the “wild,” as well as interviews of people discussing political and environmental issues, audience members walk through the stage and come into contact with actual performers – their following interaction becomes the performance itself.

Karl Frost, a graduate student of choreography and human ecology at UC Davis, is directing the piece.

Tickets are $12 for students. Go to theatredance.ucdavis.edu for more information.

– Anneta Konstantinides

Bluebeard’s Castle (Feb. 25, 27)

Conducted by Christian Baldini and put on by the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra, Bluebeard’s Castle is an opera of extraordinary depth and will be the Mondavi Center’s first-ever fully-staged opera. Written in 1911 by Hungarian composer Bela Bartok, the opera focuses on a couple coming home to a dark castle for the first time after their marriage. While the duke husband is older and invokes fear in others, the wife is innocent and hopes she can turn her husband into a more light and positive force.

Baldini says that the castle serves as a metaphor for the husband’s mind and soul. When the wife opens the seven doors to the castle, one by one, she is unveiling the many mysteries of her husband’s psyche. “Ultimately the opera deals with the idea of changing, or trying to change things,” Baldini said. “Do we accept things for what they are, or do we aim at making things (and people) what we would like them to be, instead?”

Tickets are $7.50 for students. Go to mondaviarts.org for more information.

– Eleni Stephanides

The Flood (March 3-13)

The Flood, directed by Granada Artist-in-Residence Dominique Serrand takes its structure from story, dance, character and song. The play focuses on the natural power of a flood. In a call back to William Faulkner’s novella Old Man, Serrand uses the element of the flood as a backdrop to the story.

The play centers around two convicts set free by the rising of the river. At the same time, the audience finds a girl marooned in a tree, and in another scene one will find a deer swimming for its life. The Flood climaxes with the bursting of the levees and the Mississippi connecting with the sea.

Serrand is the Artistic Director and one of the co-founders of Theatre de la Jeune Luna. He has staged, directed and designed dozens of productions and operas. His most recent achievements include winning the 2009 Bush Foundation Fellowship and being knighted by the French government with the order of Arts and Letters.

– Anastasia Zhuravleva

Tango Fire (Mar. 10)

What’s sexier than the sensual movements of tango paired with luscious and exotic dance music? Tango on Fire. “Tango Fire” features 10 passionate dancers who take on the tradition of contemporary ballroom dancing and traditional tango music composed by Aster Piazzolla. The New York Times Magazine raves, “In each of their tangos, tension gave way to voluptuous softness, and powerful overhead lifts melted onto the floor in silken extensions. As the title goes, they were on fire.”

Utilizing uniquely cut costumes, sensuality, and raw dance choreography, “Tango Fire” will be setting the stage on fire with their event entitled “Tango Inferno” at The Mondavi Center on March 10 at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $17.50 for students. Go to mondaviarts.org for more information.

– Uyen Cao


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