December 6, 2004
Last chance to see Shakespeare Santa Cruzs
hit holiday production The Princess and the Pea
By Scott Rappaport
Shakespeare Santa Cruz (SSC) has been garnering rave reviews
for its latest holiday show The Princess and the Pea,
a fresh adaptation of the childrens fairy tale.
Elise Youssef plays the Princess of Balonio. Photo: Steve DiBartolomeo
Combining clever song, dance, and comedy with audience participation
and inspired storytelling, the creative team of playwright Kate
Hawley and director Paul Whitworth has put together another
successful panto at UCSC to celebrate the holidays.
Panto is the English theatrical form that takes a fairy tale
and twists it, mixing musical theater with vaudeville and melodrama.
Pantos have been filling British theaters during winter
holiday seasons since Victorian times, Hawley noted. If
they are good, they create a taste for live theater that lasts
a lifetime. The particular thrill of a good panto is that it
is unashamedly theatrical, highly farcial, and at the same time,
curiously moving, she added.
This marks the third holiday collaboration for Hawley and
Whitworth who also joined forces for Cinderella in 1999
and 2000 and Gretel & Hansel in 2001 and 2002. The
2004 show stars a number of the festivals favorite participants,
including Joseph Ribeiro (the stepmother in Cinderella
and Carmen Monoxide in Gretel & Hansel), Suzanne
Schragg, Michele Farr (the Queen in Cinderella), and
Mike Ryan (Buttons in Cinderella and Tom Cat in Gretel
"Having been introduced to live theater (like most English
children) by going to the pantomime at Christmas time, I'm particularly
thrilled to continue the tradition in Santa Cruz with our own
home-grown variety, said Whitworth, SSCs artistic
director who recently returned to UCSC after a two-year sabbatical.
Kate Hawley's pantos are a wonderfully funny, smart, and
moving combination of the American musical and the traditional
English pantomime--an endearingly eccentric blend of fairy tale
and theatrical exuberance that has nothing whatsoever to do
with mime," he added.
Only one week is left in the holiday run, but due to popular
demand, a new December 8 performance has been added. Show times
are at 7 p.m. on December 8, 9, and 10; and at 1 p.m. and 6
p.m. on December 11 and 12. For ticket information, call the
UCSC Ticket Office at (831) 459-2159 or visit www.shakespearesantacruz.org.
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