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Ted Bigornia

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The Musical of Musicals at the Masquers

When you haven’t seen a show in a while, do you sometimes wonder what attracts you to theatre? I do, regularly. I know, fundamentally, I’m happier when I persevere in getting out of my soft couch, but that’s a logical deduction from a memory. Yet, at most performances, I become amazed (again) by the magic of theatre. What’s surprising is the magnitude of the before and after feelings. It’s like forgetting what cherries taste like until this time of year. Unless you have season tickets to the Masquers, then you’ve not resolved this issue either. My job is to try to capture that great wonder into words, so that you too will get off your duff to see this performance.

Fuddy Meers at the Masquers

Fuddy Meers, like the funny mirrors in a fun house carnival, is a wacky comedy. I’ll tell you right now, I neither liked nor understood it. That’s not to say the acting was poor; the plot and dialogue are just not my kind of humour. At intermission, I did a quick temperature test of the audience and discovered we were fairly evenly split: fully half of the respondents thought the play was side-splittingly funny. Certainly the audience howled throughout. Actually, I had another litmus test: I asked how well the interviewee liked Monty Python. Those that do, did; and those that don’t, didn’t. I rest my case.

First performed in 1999, Fuddy Meers was written by David Lindsay-Abare and is directed by Michael Haven. Claire, an amnesiac, wakes up each morning remembering nothing; so her family must teach her who she is, every day. When she is kidnapped, her adventures really begin!

The Apple Tree at the Masquers

Feeling at loose ends? Don’t know what to have for dinner? The Apple Tree might solve your itch—it’s three, seemingly unconnected plays in one. Continuity occurs because the same actors play throughout, time travels from long ago to the present, and the stories are about love and innocence. The publicity flyers for the show differ, stating that these plays are about getting what you want and discovering what you really wanted afterward. You’ll have to decide who's right.

Music and lyrics of The Apple Tree were written by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick. The first play was based on the writings of Mark Twain, the second a short story by Frank R. Stockton and the third a story by Jules Feiffer. In the Masquers performances, Robert Love directs, with music direction by Pat King. Music is ably performed by Pat herself, Ted Bigornia, Jo Lusk, Jim Ware and Barbara Kohler. The show plays until May 1.

The first play is The Diary of Adam and Eve, a sweet comedy, especially for those with a Judeo-Christian background—particularly since it answers so many questions. (Photos by Jerry Telfer).

Rocky Horror Show at the Masquers

I was a virgin until that night. Assistant Director Michelle Pond told me that’s the label for someone who’s never seen Rocky Horror Show. As always, virgins are rare. For 30+ years, Rocky Horror, written by Richard O'Brien, has drawn a huge cult following; Director G. A. Klein has seen the production upwards of 500 times.

G. A. Klein directs a big show: Rocky Horror has lots of glitter, a copious cast and sweeping, grand music.

Lady Windermere's Fan at the Masquers

With Oscar Wilde’s writing style as lure, I expected to completely enjoy Lady Windermere’s Fan but my actual reaction was quite different.

In part, I had the incorrect assumption the play was a comedy, so my expectations were upset—though there are many funny aspects. More importantly, much dialogue was difficult—some nearly incomprehensible. Bay Area community theatre management (not limited to Masquers) would do well to reconsider having actors speak in accents which are not their own, as few community theatre actors perform accents well. I’ve discussed this at http://tinyurl.com/pf8vzr

The screenplay of Lady Windermere’s Fan, originally written in 1892, has been reset to the 1950s. Directed by Patricia Inabnet.

Petrified Forest at the Masquers

There’s one advantage to being nescient about theatre and film; I don’t know what to expect. However, considering the cast, I predicted The Petrified Forest, written by Robert E. Sherwood and directed by Marti Baer, would be a musical comedy.

Ring Round the Moon at the Masquers

Need a laugh or two? There are lots of reasons to go to the theatre—it gets you out of the house, gets you talking to other humans about something non-work-related—but the biggest benefit comes when the play is a hoot, the actors are having a blast, and the whole experience is, well, uplifting and downright silly.

You're A Good Man Charlie Brown at the Masquers

Unlike Kyle Johnson (who plays Charlie Brown), I have always thought of Charlie Brown as a rather pathetic character. Yet (much to my surprise), I felt warmly towards Charlie early in the show.