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Saturday, September 8, 2007

another rave review for Twelfth Night

This from the September 7th edition of the Pacific Sun, which I would not reproduce here if I had a modest bone in my body. (Here's the pdf link--the review is on print page 33.)
...Bay Area theater veteran Worsley is superb as the deluded and delusional Malvolio...

Director Mary Beth Cavanaugh succeeds with some bold chances in this modern-dress production. On a wide empty stage—the only props are some gold-painted chairs and a few swords—she combines contemporary dance, pop music, slapstick comedy and Shakespearean dialogue to delightful effect. The show moves along briskly, with a great performance by Karrick as the perpetually intoxicated Sir Toby. The athletic Hernandez is his perfect counterpart as the volatile, hip-hop attired Sir Andrew. The ephemeral Kalli Jonnson does a marvelous interpretation of Feste, the wandering jester who manages to always be in the right place at the right time to propel the plot, tweaking the curiosity of the main characters with entertaining riddles and extracting fees for doing so.

In many ways the most astounding performer of all is Paul Festa, in the minor roles of Curio and the Priest. At key moments in the production, the multi-talented Festa (essayist, novelist, filmmaker, actor, musician) strolls about onstage with his violin, playing either unaccompanied or with recordings. It’s a brilliant, evocative bit of theater that helps lift this show to an unusually high artistic level.

North Bay Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night is a funny, entertaining and artistically adventurous production. It heralds a bright future for the company, Hamilton Amphitheater Park and the Marin County theater community.

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Paul Festa’s first film, Apparition of the Eternal Church (2006, 51 min), captures the responses of 31 artists to the apocalyptic music of Olivier Messiaen (with Justin Bond, John Cameron Mitchell, Harold Bloom; screenings: Grace Cathedral, Barbican Centre, Library of Congress; “Remarkable”The New Yorker; “Stunning”Chicago Sun-Times; “Sublime”Globe & Mail; numerous awards). Festa performs the Tchaikovsky violin concerto, opposite members of the San Francisco Ballet and The Cockettes, in his award-winning second film, The Glitter Emergency (2010, 20 min), a silent-film drag ballet comedy (“Enormous visual and musical inventiveness…full of pleasure and joy...Festa gives a bravura performance."—Film Threat). He produced, wrote and edited, with director Austin Forbord, and was chief archivist, for the Emmy-nominated documentary Stage Left: A Story of Theater in San Francisco (2010, 80 min: with Robin Williams, Bill Irwin, Peter Coyote; screenings: Geary Theater, KQED; “Intriguing...entertaining...a valuable record”—Variety). Performances as violinist and actor: ODC Theater, Center for Performance Research, Kunst-Stoff, TheatreFIRST, North Bay Shakespeare, Albert Fuller's Helicon Ensemble (Merkin Hall, Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall). US, Boston, NYC, SF, LA and DC (Coolidge Auditorium at the Library of Congress on the “Betts” Stradivarius) premieres of Messiaen’s Fantaisie for violin and piano. He is the author of OH MY GOD: Messiaen in the Ear of the Unbeliever, based on Apparition of the Eternal Church, and several anthologized essays, and has written for The Daily Beast, Salon, Nerve, and The New York Times Book Review. Current projects include a novel and Tie It Into My Hand (2014, ca. 80 min), a documentary feature that has screened as a work in progress at the Cannes film market and at ODC Theater in San Francisco (with Alan Cumming, Gary Graffman, Peter Coyote, Mink Stole, Robert Pinsky; "A fascinating exploration of the artistic life, as rollickingly entertaining as it is insightful and stirring."San Francisco Bay Guardian). Education: Yale (B.A.; prizes, honors, distinction), Juilliard (Cert., Adv. Cert., scholarships). Residencies: Yaddo, MacDowell, ODC Theater, Centre des R├ęcollets.