FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 7, 2005
Stage Notes: Vital Express Center in November
A quick look at events in the Vital Express Center for the Performing Arts taking place in November"
BOB BERKY BRINGS THE LAUGHS
"Laughter it was. Unadulterated, uninhibited roars of hysteria."- Hong Kong Festival Review
Bob Berky, master of comedy for all ages, brings his unique talent to the Santa Clarita Valley in a madcap show. Using physical clowning, the power of suggestion and the somehow understandable blurtings of a kazoo, this is comic invention at its best! Berky has performed as a solo artist around the world, including at Lincoln Center and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Winner of an OBIE for his work in Off Broadway shows in New York, he has also appeared in television specials on PBS, Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel.
Bob Berky will perform Sunday, Nov. 6, at 2 p.m. at the Vital Express Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students, seniors and children under 12.
AN OPEN LOOK AT A HIDDEN TOPIC
Depending on what state you live in, the nature of statutory rape and age of consent varies. Regardless, the topic always stirs much controversy and debate and is sure to generate a little more as the College of the Canyons Theatre Department presents the Pulitzer-Prize winning play "How I Learned to Drive" Nov. 11-13.
Written by Paula Vogel and set in the late 60s to early 70s, Drive bravely examines the taboo subject of statutory rape with startling originality. Drive follows the story of a niece named "Lil' Bit" and her uncle through marriage, "Peck," and the complex relationship that exists and develops between them - and how the niece survives it.
"This play really brings a subject matter that is hidden - yet prevalent - to the general public," said director Leigh Kennicott.
Interestingly, Vogel's story condemns no one, but treats each character sympathetically.
"This play is a masterpiece in that sense," said Kennicott. "There are no heroes and there are no villains. You end up feeling compassion for everyone."
Following the play, the college plans to have a discussion session with the audience which will include professors from the school's philosophy, sociology and psychology departments, who will discuss the nature of the play from a variety of different perspectives.
"We've got to remember that in rural families, it was customary for girls as young as 14 and 15 to be married off," said Kennicott. "And we're just one generation removed from this story."
"How I Learned to Drive" will take place Friday through Sunday, Nov. 11-13 in the Black Box Theater at the Vital Express Center for the Performing Arts. Friday and Saturday shows run at 8 p.m., while Sunday will feature a matinee at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors.
"How I Learned to Drive" features a frank and open view about many adult themes including statutory rape and incest, so parental discretion is highly advised.
Director Leigh Kennicott has worked extensively in film and television before she returned to the University of Colorado to earn her Ph.D. degree in 2002. There, she directed "Tales of the Lost Formicans." Since then, in Los Angeles, she has directed a neo-realist "Romeo and Juliet" at the Secret Rose Theatre and the new play, "Charlotte Second Chance," for DramaGarage. Most recently, she has been a theatre reviewer for Backstage West, Los Angeles Weekly and the Pasadena Weekly. She presently teaches at College of the Canyons, where she is directing "How I Learned to Drive."
Uncle Peck is played by professional actor Trevor Kimball. Kimball started his stage career wearing tights at the age of 12 playing Hamlet and went on to roles in various film, video, commercial and stage productions on both coasts. Stage favorites include Petruchio in "The Taming of the Shrew," Lt. Cable in "South Pacific," Gollum in "The Hobbit," and Dromio of Syracuse in "A Comedy of Errors." In the Spring, he's scheduled to play a mentally-challenged man in the dramatic-comedy "The Boardinghouse." He is most proud to be married to Melanie and to be the father of Grace.
Lil' Bit is played by Academy of the Canyons senior Andrea Plaud. Plaud has performed in a number of local shows, including in "A Midsummer's Night Dream" and "Sound of Music" at Canyon High School, and in "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe" for the Canyon Theatre Guild in 2000, where, coincidentally, she performed with Trevor Kimball. Plaud also worked on the tech crew for the College of the Canyons performance of Neil Simon's "Rumors," and is studying acting with California State University, Northridge's Teenage Drama Workshop.
EMOTIONS REIGN IN COC DANCE PERFORMANCE
The College of the Canyons Dance Department brings the full power of energy and emotion on stage during its fall performance, "Emotion to Motion: A Dance Works in Progress" on Nov. 19.
Underscoring the concert is the choreography of many of the dance students, who have put the passion and strength in dealing with their own life transitions and change into dance - for example, one student seeing her boyfriend leave for Iraq, another on the break-up of a friendship.
"Strength in the face of that change is what flows throughout the event," said Phylise Smith, chair of the dance department. "Seeing their convictions in the face of overwhelming obstacles is simply inspiring."
The show features many styles of dance and will be performed by the COC Dance Company and invited guest dancers.
"Emotion to Motion" takes place Saturday, Nov. 19 at 8 p.m. in the Black Box Theater at the Vital Express Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students, seniors and children under 12. As seating is limited in the Black Box, prospective audience members are asked to buy or order tickets online as early as possible. Attendees will receive a discount coupon for the Dance Department's spring performance during National Dance Week in April.
For information on ticket purchases, please visit www.VitalExpressCenter.com