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Show: "Han Solo and Gretel"

This morning we saw the Occidental Children's Theater do this summer's show, "Han Solo and Gretel." It was great fun.

Han Solo and Gretel

In case you don't know, and I've somehow never told you, here's how the Occidental Children's Theater works: each show consists of 4 stories. The first 3 are folk tales from around the world. The 4th is an original tale, developed through improvisation beginning with just the title, which always combines a well-known story with some very different story or genre.

The stories are performed by a cast of 6 actors in an open outdoor area, with audience seated on all sides. There are no costumes or sets, and the only props are six staffs and six scarves. Using only these, the actors create buffalo, birds, frogs, exploding frogs, cottages, castles, thrones, gates, waterfalls, trees, sacks, entire forests, rice fields, and so on, all through creative physical movement. The best part is, while the cast leaves no question what it is they are creating for you, this style requires that the audience engage their imagination. This is no summer-blockbuster-popcorn experience (not that there's anything wrong with that, either).

I'm biased; I was part of the Occidental Children's Theater for three summers, about a hundred years ago. Still directed by Oxy Theater professor Jamie Angell, the OCT is going strong.

Show: "The Drowsy Chaperone"

We went out last night to see "The Drowsy Chaperone" at the Ahmanson here in LA. We missed it when it was in LA originally, and never saw it in New York, so this was our first time. I really liked it. Fun, funny, well written, and all that. Never moves you to tears or anything, though near the end it does suddenly become poignant.

Anyway, it's not playing in New York anymore, but it is on tour. If you haven't seen it, and get the chance, I do recommend it.