Tag Archives: Sedona

Mixed reviews for Ronald Reagan

The reviews for Ronald Reagan — first as an actor, then as a politician — have always been mixed. Reagan served as our country’s 40th president from 1981-1989, and before that served as Governor of California.

I say “served” out of more than respect for traditional lingo on the topic — because I still believe that holding elected office is an act of public service. We do it a grave injustice today by reducing it to politics and punditry.

I remember my daughters considering service in the Senate when they were younger, having been raised to appreciate and admire the role of legislators.

They liked the idea of getting to know people in the community, listening to their diverse ideas, and working with others to craft ways to move collective dreams forward.

But one politician in particular, who rallies Reagan’s name to further her own causes, gives me serious pause (an expression attributed to Shakepeare’s “Hamlet”).

Lately I’ve been wondering whether actors, like Reagan or Arnold Schwarzenegger (Governor of California from 2003-2010), make good politicians — and whether politicians are becoming more skilled as actors.

I wasn’t terribly steeped in politics as a child. I suspect my mother, holding a more circular than linear view of time, was “apolitical” at best. As a young adult I didn’t pay careful attention to Reagan’s policies.

But I distinctly recall two bookends of his presidency — the 1981 release of American hostages and the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall separating East and West Germany (Reagan’s famous call to “Tear down that wall!” came during a 1987 speech).

Like most people, it’s the history to which I have some personal connection (however remote) that I remember best. Having studied in Heidelberg as part of the Pepperdine University “Year in Europe” program, I’ve always been finely tuned to events taking place in Germany.

When Pepperdine students learned that the Iranian hostages had been released and would be flown to a military hospital in Wiesbaden, we felt a surge of patriotism —  traveling by train to join the relatively small crowd welcoming them to this stop on their journey home.

We rushed to make signs, including a long banner that somehow made its way to the balcony from which the rescued hostages would wave to supporters there to greet them. It read: YOU’RE FREE! “AFTER ALL, WE ARE AMERICANS” (Click here to see the sign in an AP file photo.)

Our son Christopher, now age 21, was born the year the Berlin Wall fell. Parenthood has fueled my growing interest in history and public policy — and motivated me to act each day (if even in small ways, like writing these posts) to make some measure of difference for both my own family and the community we all share.

Ronald Reagan died June 5, 2004 — and was honored with a seven-day state funeral in Washington, D.C. I was attending a national mental health conference at the time, as executive director and non-compensated lobbyist for an Arizona non-profit.

Like many Americans, I stood several hours in line to write a message in one of many condolence books that reside now at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California.

I didn’t agree with everything Reagan said or did as President, but I respect the office — and those who sacrifice so much of self and family to faithfully carry out their duties each day (and night). I was humbled to witness our nation’s capitol mourn his loss.

I got to thinking about Ronald Reagan the other day as the airwaves broadcast celebrations of what would have been Reagan’s 100th birthday. One interview struck me in particular — I believe it was with his son Ron Reagan (just two years my senior) and another man who knew Reagan well.

Two thoughts offered during the interview left me feeling empathy with Reagan in ways that hadn’t ever occured to me before.

First, that Reagan’s political optimism was fueled by his dogged determination as a child to will painful experiences into positive perspectives somehow.

And second, that Reagan — despite being a deeply caring and genuine man — had very few, if any, close friends.

In both these ways I feel a certain sympatico with Reagan that I might never have developed otherwise.

But what, you might wonder, does this have to do with the arts?

I also heard a gentleman explain that Ronald Reagan loved inviting a few friends over for politics-free evenings of swapping stories. He noted that Reagan’s favorite storyteller of all time was his father.

Whatever your reviews for Ronald Reagan, on screen or off, embrace the power of storytelling. Make sure your children know about your own experiences with pivotal moments in history.

Remind them that public service is a noble profession. And work alongside them to create a better future for all Arizona families.

— Lynn

Note: Visitors to the website for the Ronald Reagan Foundation and Library can enjoy an introduction by actor Gary Sinise, who will be attending this month’s 2011 “Sedona International Film Festival

Coming up: A week of firsts


Bollywood & beyond

A young dancer enjoys a class with Kriti Dance (Photo: Daniel Friedman)

I was delighted to hear recently from a dance school that specializes in Bollywood dance, which has its origins in India’s film industry. It seems I’ve been invited to participate in a dance class — just to get a feel for this “contemporary and innovative” dance form.

The website for Kriti Dance readily notes that participants have been known to giggle a bit when first experiencing the unique waist and hip movements used in Bollywood dance — but I suspect that hearty laughter might be more likely with me (and my thickening body parts) in the room.

I’m opting instead to share the happy news that Kriti Dance, which recently performed during a Phoenix Mercury halftime, will begin a new session of classes at Dance Connection 2 in Chandler on Sept 11. It’s a tough day in so many ways — so I’m pleased to share a fun and fit way to dance away part of the day.

Classes for adults and teens start at 10:30am, with classes for 9- to 13-year olds starting at 11:30am and classes for 5- to 8-year-olds starting at 12:30pm. You can visit their website to learn more — and drop me a thank you note later for the decision to leave my hips at home (for now).

Kriti Dance offers fun and fitness for all ages (Photo: Daniel Friedman)

My weekend calendar is already plenty full — driving Lizabeth to and from a community service gig, seeing The Phoenix Symphony and Phoenix Theatre present a semi-staged production of “The Music Man,” and joining Lizabeth at the National Youth Theatre awards being held at Valley Youth Theatre.

Tonight we’ll be attending the first production of the 2010-2011 Southwest Shakespeare Company season at Mesa Arts Center — complete with red carpet flair and a fabulously fun photo contest. We’ll have to miss Sunday’s preview of Childsplay’s “A Year With Frog and Toad” so Lizabeth can see an ASA teacher perform in another show, but that just gives us more to look forward to next weekend.

There’s no lack of arts experiences in the Valley this weekend, so here’s a sampling of your many options to help you plan your family together time…

The Deer Valley Rock Art Center in northwest Phoenix offers half-price admisson to grandparents from 8am-2pm on Sun, Sept 12, in honor of Grandparents Day. Who’s to say that grandma won’t want to enjoy both petroglyphs and Bollywood dance in one weekend? Admit it — Bollywood dance is probably on your “bucket list” too.

Why not celebrate Grandparents Day in Bollywood style? (Photo: Daniel Friedman)

If you’re an artist eager to learn more about using technologies in art making and/or arts promotion, check out the Sept 11 STEWshop from Urban Stew. It’s one of a series of arts and technology workshops they’ll hold each second Saturday of the month between Sept 2010 and Feb 2011.

Children and their adults can enjoy making art together at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix Art Studio — which provides materials for making a special Grandparents Day gift in the studio this weekend.

Head to Chandler Center for the Arts if you love all things musical theater and musical standards. Valley favorites Rusty Ferracane and Christine Drathman will join composer/arranger Craig Bohmler and “top Valley musicians” for “That’s Life…from Sinatra to Sondheim.” (Perhaps we could persuade the trio to add a bit of Bollywood dance to the gig.)

Creative Stage Youth Theatre is eager to show off their new performing space at a free open house Sept 11 from 4-7pm at 19209 N. 83rd Ave (Ste 105) in Peoria — which is a great opportunity to learn more about their upcoming season.

When in doubt, just dance! (Photo: Daniel Friedman)

Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village in Sedona presents their 37th annual celebration of Mexican Independence Day with flamenco dance, folk music and children’s activities to include face painting and juggling demonstrations. Remind me to drop them a thank you note for the lovely mental image I just got of attempting to juggle while doing my Bollywood thing.

If you share my love of social justice theater, check out the work of Teatro Bravo at a “pay what you can” performance of “Manzi: The Advenures of Young Cesar Chavez” this evening at the Metropolitan Arts Theatre in Phoenix. It’s “a tale for the entire family” about the legendary advocate of farm workers’ rights — and runs through Sept 19.

So there you have it. Bollywoood and flamenco. Art and technology. Sinatra and Sondheim. If that doesn’t make you want to swivel those hips while gyrating that waist, I don’t know what will.


Note: Today marks the opening of the “Opera & Ballet in Cinema Series” presented by Harkins Theatres and Emerging Pictures. You’re in luck if you’re reading this in time to make it to the 11am live broadcast of “Cosi Fan Tutte” at Arrowhead Fountains 18 or Scottsdale 101 14. Visit www.harkinstheatres.com for ticket availability and pricing, and information on upcoming shows in the series. I can tell you from experience that tickets go quickly so don’t delay in deciding which of European operas and ballets presented in Hi-Definition digital projection you’d like to experience.

Coming up: Art and body image, Coupling fine arts and dual language instruction, The shape of social justice

Audition/Call for artists alert! Auditions will be held this weekend for productions of “The Nutcracker” by both Baller Etudes and Ballet Arizona. CONDER/dance is calling for submissions (from choreographers, dance filmmakers and performance artists) for the 4th annual “Breaking Ground” festival to be held Dec 10 & 11 at Tempe Center for the Arts.

Dracula, catwalks and Celtic fusion

Dance meets fashion. Moms with pens meet the podium. Richard III and Dracula meet their fate. Latino art and music meet enthusiastic audiences. It’s all part of another Valley weekend rich in arts and culture.

These are some of your choices for quality grown-up or family-friendly time with the arts…


Chandler-Gilbert Community College Performing Arts Department presents “Student Dance Showcase” Friday, May 7 & 8 at 8pm. Arnette Scott Ward Performing Arts Center in Chandler. 480-732-7343 or www.cgc.edu/arts.

CONDER/dance presents “Dance for Camera: Dance Film Fest” Saturday, May 8 at 8pm. Short dance films created by local and national filmmakers. Tempe Center for the Arts. 480-350-2822 or http://www.tempe.gov/TCA/.

Scorpius Dance Theatre presents “Catwalk” through Sunday, May 9 (times vary). Original contemporary dance production fusing funky local fashions, sexy athleticism, and choreography by Lisa Starry. Phoenix Theatre (staged on a Little Theatre runway). 602-254-2151 or www.scorpiusdance.com.


Chamber Music Sedona presents “Sedona Bluegrass Festival” through Sunday, May 9 (times vary). Creekside at Los Abrigados. 928-204-2415 or www.chambermusicsedona.org.

Hoodlums Music & Movies presents “Hoodstock 2010: Two Days of Rock & Art to Help Kids” Friday, May 7 and Saturday, May 8 (times vary). Hoodlums in Tempe (with participating merchants). 480-775-2722 or www.hoodlumsmusic.com.


Tempe Center for the Arts presents “Border Film Festival” Friday, May 7 and Saturday/Sunday, May 8 & 9 (times vary). Features five of Paul Espinosa’s award-winning documentaries for PBS exploring the history and culture of the Southwestern border region (followed by moderated discussion with Espinosa and humanities scholar). Free admission. 480-350-2822 or www.tempe.gov/tca/calendar.


Chandler Symphony presents “Sound from the Southwest-Music of Hispanic Composers” Friday, May 7 at 7:30pm. Chandler Center for the Arts. 480-899-3447 or www.chandlersymphony.org.

Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts presents “Outdoor Desert Sky Series: Solas & Bearfoot” Saturday, May 8 at 7:30pm. Features Celtic fusion of Irish, folk and country music with “jazzy improvisation and global rhythms.” Scottsdale Civic Center Amphitheater. 480-994-2787 or www.scottsdaleperformingarts.org.

Southwest Symphony presents “From Paris…With Love” Saturday, May 8 at 2:30pm. Mesa Arts Center. 480-644-6500 or www.mesaartscenter.com.


Desert Hills High School Theatre Department presents “Dracula: The Musical?” Through May 8 at 7pm. Mesa Arts Center. 480-644-6500 or www.mesaartscenter.com.

Mesa Arts Center presents “Penn and Teller” Friday, May 7 at 8pm. Features unique combination of magic and comedy. Mesa Arts Center. 480-644-6500 or www.mesaartscenter.com.

Southwest Shakespeare Company presents “Richard III” through Saturday, May 8. Mesa Arts Center. 480-644-6500 or www.mesartscenter.com (Read “Stage Mom” review in tomorrow’s post).

Visual Art

Artlink Phoenix presents “First Friday” May 7 6-10pm. Tour more than 70 galleries, venues and art-related spaces via free shuttles or self-guided map. Tours start at Phoenix Art Museum. 602-256-7539 or www.artlinkphoenix.com.

The City of Phoenix presents “Opening Reception: Arte Latino en la Ciudad” Friday, May 7 from 6-8pm. Phoenix Center for the Arts. 602-262-4627 or www.phoenix.gov.


Mothers Who Write presents the “8th Annual Mother Who Write/Mothers Who Read Mothers Day Weekend Reading” Saturday, May 8 at 2pm. Scottsdale Center for the Arts. Current/former students read their work. Admission free but some material may not be suitable for children. www.motherswhowrite.com.

Additional activities (including several children’s theater productions) are noted on the Raising Arizona Kids online calendar. Please check with presenting venues and companies before attending to confirm event date/time, recommended ages, location and cost.


Note: If you’re excited about an event we didn’t have room to mention here, feel free to comment briefly below to let our readers know.

Coming up: Roald Dahl makes his way to two Valley theater productions

Show & tell (top to bottom): Poster for CGCC Student Dance Showcase, Poster for Hoodlum’s Hoodstock, Photo of Solas (coming to Scottsdale Center for the Arts), Photo of Penn and Teller (coming to Mesa Arts Center) and Painting of Richard III (who no doubt sends his regrets because he’s dead)

What’s in a weekend?

I hardly know where to start…

This is one of those way-beyond-wonderful weekends when just about everything I’ve ever wanted to experience is here in all its splendor—an art gallery opening, a teen poetry competition, an annual dance event, a school musical, a movie ala ‘wonderland,’ a classic piece of social justice theater, a festival featuring all things native.

If I can’t make it to everything, I plan to at least have one heck of a good time trying—all the while saving a bit of energy for the equally exciting week ahead, featuring other fun happenings like the Arizona premiere of “Avenue Q” at ASU Gammage (remember, parents, that this one contains mature content and language).

If you read my ‘weekend wish list’ below and feel I’ve overlooked something, please share your arts-related plans in the comment section below. I’d love to hear how you and your family plan to enjoy the weekend together.

Alice in Wonderland. This 3-D Disney movie—featuring the work of writers Lewis Carroll and Linda Woolverton, director Tim Burton, and actors Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter—opens Friday, March 5th. The film spans three genres—action/adventure, family and science fiction/fantasy—and has a “PG” rating due to “violence involving scary images and situations, and for a smoking caterpillar.” It follows Alice, now 19, as she “embarks on a fantastical journey to find her destiny and end the Red Queen’s reign of terror.” (Check future posts for my review—or let me know what you think if you’re lucky enough to see it before I do.)

Sweeney Todd. This production—the spring musical presented by Verde Valley School in Sedona—is free and open to the public. It’s being performed twice at VVS’s Brady Hall: Saturday, March 6th at 7pm and Sunday, March 7th at 3pm. The original Broadway production of Sweeney Todd opened in 1979 with Sweeney Todd (a bitter barber bent on revenge) played by Len Cariou and Mrs. Lovett (a brazen baker bent on bolstering business) played by Angela Lansbury. If you’re only seen the 2007 film version (rated R for “bloody violence”)—directed by Tim Burton and featuring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter—you really should see a live production. The original Broadway run garnered seven Tony Awards, including best musical book (Hugh Wheeler) and best score (Stephen Sondheim).

Warehouse 1005. This studio and gallery opening—featuring works by artists affiliated with Art Awakenings—takes place Friday, March 5th, between 9am and 4pm. Art Awakenings is a program of PSA behavioral health agency focusing on “empowerment and recovery through creativity.” Established in 1971, Art Awakenings seeks to “enhance and empower the mental health community through creativity, innovation, and diversity.” Their studios and galleries, including the new site at 1005 N. 1st St. in Phoenix, serve more than 800 artists annually. Friday’s events at Warehouse 1005 include a meet and greet from 9-10am, opening ceremonies and reception from 10am to 1pm, and an open house from 1-4pm. From 6-10pm, they’ll participate in the First Friday Art Walk.

Target Day of Music. This event–featuring The Phoenix Symphony–takes place Sunday, March 7th at Phoenix Symphony Hall. The event is free, and designed for “families and music lovers of all ages.” Highlights include “festival activities” (such as an “instrument petting zoo”) starting at 1pm and “a special performance by The Phoenix Symphony” beginning at 3pm.

Pirates of Penzance. This production–the spring musical presented by Chandler-Gilbert Community College–takes place March 4th-6th, 8th and 12th at 7:30pm (plus 2pm show on March 6th) at the CGCC Annette Scott Ward Performing Arts Center in Chandler.  The work, originally a late 19th century opera by Gilbert and Sullivan (libretto by W.S. Gilbert, music by Arthur Sullivan), has been adapted through the years. The 1981 Joseph Papp production on Broadway–featuring Rex Smith, Linda Ronstadt and Kevin Kiline–earned a Tony Award for best revival. The 1983 film version featured the original Broadway cast with one exception: Angela Lansbury (currently in “A Little Night Music”) replaced Estelle Parsons (currently in “August: Osage County”) as Ruth. For tickets (general: $10, student: $7, matinee: $5), call 480-732-7343.

Remember too that there are plenty of other fun things going on this weekend—many of which have been featured in previous posts. Here’s a brief sampling, complete with links to the organizations sponsoring them and our earlier posts with additional details.

ASU Dance Annual. Features the “best works created by the ASU dance department.” March 5th to 7th at the Paul V. Galvin Playhouse on the Tempe campus. Friday: 6:30-8:30pm, Saturday: 7:30-9:30pm and Sunday 2-4pm. $7-$20.
Poetry Out Loud. State finals in the national Poetry Out Loud recitation competition. March 5th from 7-9pm at the Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix. Free.
Indian Fair & Market. Features the works of more than 700 top American Indian artists at the Heard Museum in Phoenix. $15/day includes admission to museum exhibits.
The Laramie Project. A “breathtaking theatrical collage developed from interviews surrounding the Matthew Shepard murder in Laramie, Wyoming.” (Recommended for ages 13 & up.) Presented by QSpeak/Greasepaint Youtheatre March 5th-14th at Stagebrush Theatre in Scottsdale. $12.

For an ongoing list of fun activities for families, visit the Raising Arizona Kids magazine online calendar at www.raisingarizonakids.com.

Have fun out there!


It’s all caught on film

Most folks, whether film buffs or film know-nothings (I’m the latter), have heard of the Cannes International Film Festival in France, the Aspen Filmfest in Colorado and the Sundance Film Festival in Utah (and yes, Sundance fans, there is “an app for that”). But did you know there are quite a few film festivals that take place right here in Arizona?

One of these festivals, the Arizona Student Film Festival, is right around the corner. I’ve never been to a film festival, but I’d like to make this my first. You’ve got to admire youth who can create works in one of the three featured categories—30 second public service announcement (on water conservation), microshort (1-5 minutes) and short (5-12 minutes). It would take me that long to figure out how to turn on the video camera.

The festival comes to Harkins Valley Art Theatre on Mill Ave. in Tempe Saturday, Jan. 16th. I adore this theater venue—as does my youngest daughter Lizabeth—because it leaves me feeling transported to any earlier time when movie theaters felt at once both more quaint and more spectacular. The movies they show, one at a time because there’s just a single screen, are always edgy and endearing. I expect nothing less from the young filmmakers whose works will be shown during the festival.

The 16th Annual Sedona International Film Festival takes place Feb. 21st-28th and features “independent film programming in all genres” as well as various series or tracks including family, classics and green/sustainable. While it’s too late to submit work for consideration for this year’s event, the call for submissions for the 2011 festival will open this May.

Submissions are also closed for the 2010 Phoenix Film Festival, the event’s 10th anniversary, taking place April 8th to 15th at Harkins Scottsdale 101 Theatre. The festival will feature “independent films from around the world, celebrities, filmmaking seminars, student filmmaking seminars and parties all week long.” (I wonder whether a clever filmmaker might film the weeklong parties for consideration at the 2011 festival.)

There’s still time to submit works—“in the categories of narrative and documentary features, documentary, dramatic, comedy, experimental and animation shorts”—for the 2010 Arizona International Film Festival’s THEREEL FRON TIER Film & Video Competition. The AIFF’s “19th edition” of showcasing films takes place April 15th to 25th. They’ve issued a special call for works by young filmmakers (18 and under) for their Indie Youth program. Submissions will be accepted through Feb. 12th “in the categories of dramatic, comedy, documentary, experimental and animation shorts.”

The deadline is also fast approaching for submissions to the Annual Short Film and Video Festival presented by the ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts in Tempe. The festival “is open to all film and video makers worldwide” and reviews entries submitted by students of all ages. Projects should be “no longer than ten minutes in length” and must be submitted by Feb. 5th. The festival takes place in April.

The Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival takes place Feb. 20th to March 24th at the Harkins Scottsdale Camelview Theatre and the Harkins Chandler Crossroads Theatre. The festival “brings a terrific slate of new feature films to the Valley.” Organizers note that “you definitely don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy!”

Later this year, you can enjoy the 10th Annual Scottsdale International Film Festival, scheduled for Oct. 1st to 5th at the Harkins Camelview 5 Theatre (another venue that routinely shows movies you won’t find elsewhere but really ought not to miss).

If your New Year’s resolutions include trying new experiences, meeting new people or upping your C.Q. (culture quotient), film festivals may well be the way to go. Life’s too short to live on reruns and beer commercials.


Update: Get the scoop on another Arizona film festival in the comment section below. You’ll find further details at http://www.thea3f.net/

Note: Local, national and international creators of experimental and adventurous live theater are invited to submit work for consideration to the Phoenix Fringe Festival. Deadline is Tuesday, Jan. 5th. Festival is scheduled for April 2nd to 11th. Visit www.phxfringe.org for details.

Fun with “forsooth”—and other Shakespearean shenanigans

I learned long ago that wagging my finger has little effect when I want my children to know I disapprove of something they’ve done. For our family, at least, humor seems so much more effective than hand gestures. Hence my use of the expression “Forsooth!”

My son hears it when he asks me for yet another serving at supper. My daughter hears it when she decides television might be more exciting than homework. My husband never hears it because, come to think of it, he’s pretty much always on his best behavior.

I’ve twisted the meaning a bit, I’ll bet. I use it to mean something akin to “how shocking.” My limited study of Shakespeare, which consists of arm crunches with Lizabeth’s “complete works” volume and a tad bit of time with professor Google, tells me it means something closer to “how true” or “indeed.” But I don’t guess there’s much Shakespeare can do about that now.

I might be better off using one of my favorite Broadway lines: “Shocking, shocking, shocking!” I roared with laughter the first time I heard it—I think it was during a production at Stagebrush Theatre in Scottsdale—but I’ll be darned if I can remember which show. It appears I’d rather mangle Shakespeare than use a source without proper attribution. Occupational hazard, I suppose.

Fortunately, the Valley is full of people who know a great deal more about Shakespeare than do I. One of them is Robyn McBurney, a theatre arts major at Arizona School for the Arts in Phoenix, who also has a soft spot for humor. In her own words: “I love the classical texts. I adore more subtle humor and, I don’t know, I think some people associate Shakespeare with slapstick-like comedy, but all of his plays are full of little tiny double entendres and puns.”

I dare say that Lizabeth didn’t feel anything of the sort the first time she saw a Shakespeare work performed. She was in elementary school and I had grand visions of a trip to see Shakespeare performed in Sedona. We made the trip, but Lizabeth was less than impressed. The play was recast in a relatively modern-day setting, and I suspect she was expecting something more extravagent. Remember, this is the child who begged me to take her to see the opera Rigoletto at about that same time.

She’s always been a gracious kid. So I didn’t know until just the other day how she really felt about that performance. Here’s what Lizabeth told a fellow cast member from Oliver!: “I hated it!” Thankfully Shakespeare outfoxed me on this one. After seeing Ballet Arizona perform Romeo and Juliet, taking “Shakespeare Collision” workshops with Childsplay and studying Shakespeare in both arts and academic classes at ASA, she’s grown quite fond of him.

Isn’t it nice to know that our kids bounce back even when we blow it? Last year Lizabeth enjoyed attending the Utah Shakespeare Festival with fellow theatre arts students, accompanied by the incomparable (forsooth!) Maren Mascarelli, actress and theatre arts teacher extraordinaire. (You might think I’m biased here, but McBurney shares my opinion, so I’m quite certain it is entirely objective and true.)

Lizabeth missed the trip this year, but celebrated the return of her classmates when she learned several of them had placed well in the festival’s student competition. McBurney was among those who made ASA proud (again). But why on earth would a bunch of high school students take a shine to Shakespeare?

McBurney says it best: “Almost all of Shakespeare’s works look at the human creature, their loves and losses and revenge and happiness.” And frankly (my opinion here), who’s more human than a high school student? (Relax, young readers—it’s a compliment!) I hope to share more of McBurney’s reflections, and those of other Shakespeare fans, in future blogs. But seeing Shakespeare performed may be the only real way to do him justice.

You’ll have a chance this week because the Southwest Shakespeare Company is presenting “The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged)” through December 19th.

I don’t know everyone in the cast, but the folks I do know are rip-roaring funny. I mean rolling in the aisles, chuckling like a warthog funny. And there’s no reason to believe they’d settle for acting with anyone who didn’t share these credentials.

Performances take place at the Mesa Arts Center, a lovely-sized and beautifully-appointed venue that may indeed have aisles big enough to roll around in. (Of course, they may charge extra for that.)

The last time I saw a show there, the audience was as magnificent as the musicians on stage. This is important, given that theater is a communal experience.

I can’t tell you whether or not to take your kids. I haven’t seen this production, and I clearly missed the mark last time I tried to predict which Shakespeare play my own daughter might enjoy.

The company notes that “this show contains mature language and situations.” They also note that the production sold out the last time they did it, so you’d be wise to get tickets sooner rather than later if this appeals to your senses.

Let me know what you think, and whether anything fun like “forsooth” creeps into your vocabulary after you’ve seen it.

And to all you fellow aisle-rollers: Be careful out there…


Coming soon: The art at the heart of Cardon Children’s Medical Center