HOLIDAY ANTICS-REVISED

It’s been a tradition through the annals of retails where folks are doing their best to get their shopping done for the season known as “The Holidays”, the period that runs until the end of the calendar year that involves the exchanging of gifts and related items.

Since last summer(!), retailers both as physical outlets as well as those existing in cyberspace have been doing their best (or worst) in getting folks to buy their goods for this season. Some of these outlets have been toting “Black Friday” sales as early as the Labor Day weekend. And this recent Black Friday–the day after Thanksgiving, found some uptick to the traffic that came in and out of the stores. But it wasn’t the mad scramble day that it once was long before shopping online became trendy, if not the norm!

However, there have been some folks that completed their shopping traits for the year. These aspects are not to be confused with the people that completed their shopping from the previous season. This is saluting those that completed their shopping for this time of year!

To give one an example (if one really needed an example), we know of one person who will call “Olif”. Now, Olif asked those on its list on what everyone had a mild interest in getting. Once Olif received a tally from the people it knew, then Olif went shopping online and/or through the stores it visited on a regular basis. Olif would grab the items through these means. Then Olif would label each of the goods with the name(s) of the people that the gift would go to. Those same goods were then stored in a container placed in a secure location where Olif could get access to. As soon as the time arrived, Olif would unpack the goods from the container, wrap them up in some kind of decorative matter using wrapping paper, ribbons, and perhaps a fancy container itself.

And before long, Olif would give those on its list the items with a cherry “Happy Holidays” greeting attached, and that would be done and over with! Olif usually finished its shopping trips around July–August at the very latest. So for the next four or so months, the items would remain until the big gift giving day arrived.

Before this writer continues, you readers may have noticed why I didn’t identify Olif’s gender. This was to protect Olif’s privacy since we did not secure permission from Olif on what it does each year. You may say that for this time, Olif is what’s known as “Non Binary”. Olif could be a he, or could be a she. Whatever the case, Olif as far as we are concerned is best known as an “it”. Granted, this may not be the proper term to call somebody that ain’t a he and/or she. So don’t be offended that we don’t call Olif for what that is. Besides, chances are that you are not on Olif’s gift giving list. If you are, then we apologize. If you are not, then don’t worry about this and just move on!

We are pleased that Olif is on the ball when it comes to things such as getting gifts months before the fact. However, we will state that Olif is a bit compulsive in that it dose compulsive actions throughout its life. Perhaps that is the reason toward the gift giving long before the fact. But we digress.

Perhaps this little episode may influence you the reader in taking a tip from Olif. Then again, you may not even give a hoot in hell! That’s OK though. Olif won’t mind, let alone care! Just as long as the retailers out in shopping center and/or cyberspace land get their sales, what difference does this all make anyway?
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NEWS AND REVIEWS

The Glendale Centre Theatre presents their 54th annual production of Charles Dickens’ beloved classic A CHRISTMAS CAROL, a tale about an old grumpy skinflint who realizes about the magic of the season thanks to the aid of a trio of spirits from the past, present, and those shadows yet to come.

You already know the plot! But for those that seek a brief reminder, here it is. In 1840’s London, accountant Ebenezer Scrooge (as portrayed by Guy Noland), doesn’t care much for the Christmas season. He finds all of the mirth and merriment that’s around him as “humbug”. He would rather ignore the holiday than to embrace it. On Christmas eve, after his sole employee Bob Cratchit (Shea Taylor) begs him to have Christmas Day off, Scrooge is visited by a group of spirits, known as the ghost of Christmas Past (Amanda Greig), the Ghost of Christmas Present (Steve Teague), and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. (Preston Simpkin) This set of specters, the first two rather friendly and warming, show Scrooge a few faint episodes of his life set for the Christmas season, where he embraced the joy that once existed. The third spirit, resembling a grim reaper, gives him a glimpse of what may happen if the old man doesn’t charge his state of heart and attitude.

This GCT production, a seasonal legacy for this theater group, is always a delight to experience. The costuming by Angela Manke sets the tone to the story and era-a specialty stage trait for this theater as they have always presented period pieces that speak for the period. The Dickens tale itself is cleverly adapted for this stage for a theatre-in-the-round space where every seat is a “good” place to view. It boasts a huge ensemble cast (25 players) that perform the various characters that are part of the Dickens repertory. (Space doesn’t allow this reviewer to list ‘em all, but each one places their own personal mark to this time tested tale!)

The mother-daughter duo of Zoe Bright & Tayah Howard directs this show to its fullest extent, bringing out all of that charm and grace that this presentation shows itself to.

In addition to the players as seen on stage, Paul Reid serves as lighting designer, stage manager, and choreographer. Steven Applegate, a GCT regular known for his transcribed musical direction and arrangements, is on helm for a few musical intrudes, forming this show as a mini musical i.e. a “play with music”. These little intervals set the moods within the scenes depicted, rather than songs added that can break up the action as some other musical shows tend to suffer with.

There are a lot of Christmas Carols out there as stage works, either presented as straight dramas, full blown musicals, and even as parodies. (And all are pleasant for what they are!) Nevertheless, leave it to the GCT to present a holiday tradition that will carry long after Scrooge’s ghosts make their annual appearance. Place that in your cup of tom and jerry and savor the wordiness.

A CHRISTMAS CAROL, presented by and performs at The Glendale Centre Theatre, 324 North Orange Street, Glendale, until December 24th. Showtimes are Thursdays December 12th and 19th, Fridays, December 6th, 13th, and 20th, and Saturdays, December 7th, 14th, and 21st at 7:30 PM, Saturday matinees, perform on December 7th, 14th, and 21st at 2:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons, December 8th, 15th, and 22nd at 1:00 PM. Additional performances take place Tuesdays, December 3rd, 10th, and 24th, and Wednesdays, December 4th and 11th at 10:00 AM, Mondays, December 16th and 23rd at 7:30 PM, Thursdays, December 12th and 19th at 7:30 PM, and Sunday, December 22nd at 5:00 PM,

For ticket reservations or for more information, call (818) 244-8481, or visit the web site at http://www.GlendaleCentreTheatre.com
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Performing at the Hudson Backstage Theatre in Hollywood is Shakespeare’s JULIUS CAESAR, a tragedy that speaks of the vicious circle of Brutus as he takes part in a plot led by Cassius to murder the title character in order to prevent him from becoming Rome’s dictator.

Although the original play, first present c.1599 and takes place c.44 BC, the version as appearing on the Hudson Theater stage occurs in an unset time and space, although it could be placed within the era of now in a post modern military based setting.

Leah Zhang appears as Julius Caesar, a military general that was the leader behind the rise of the Roman empire. Nathan Nonhof is Cassius, a senator and general known as a leading motivator in the plot to eliminate Caesar from rule that would occur on March 15th-“the ides of March” that Caesar was warned about. Kaite Brandt is Decius Brutus, one of the leading masterminds of Caesar’s murder plot. Tori Danner performs as Mark Antony, a Triumvar of the Roman Empire and a supporter of Caesar. Julius Hoover appears as Octavius, and Paul Dixon plays Flavius.

Besides the transition of the setting of this classic tragic tale from ancient Rome of the common era of the present, many of the roles are gender reversed. This change of male/female characters do not distract the meaning and mood of the original intentions this work has first brought. In fact, it enhances it out even further, where its characters speak the same lines that The Bard created some 400 plus years before.

Amy Setterlund provides the costuming that consists of many of its leading and secondary characters donning black with a shade of blue that represents those in the Roman political circles, with its senators displayed with a red colored smock-type wear. In its second act as the play develops, the characters are dressed in contemporary military gear in their camouflage fatigues. David Zahcacewski’s set design consists of a set of vertical panels colored a light drab color, along with a few wooden boxes that once held ammo. These floating props and panel settings suggest that there is a military style presence through its visuals.

And speaking of military, many of its performers that appear in this production are actual veterans of the armed forces. Paul Dixon as Flavius served in the Air Force. Christopher Loverro, who appears as Marcus Brutus, fought in the Iraq conflict of recent years. Trevor Helms, one of a trio of performers that are dancers: personas that serve as incidental characters as well as those that appear to introduce a changing scene, was a medic in the Army.

The theater company that is presenting this production, Warriors for Peace, consist of civilian performers working with military veterans that use the arts, especially the works of William Shakespeare, to promote peace, healing, and fosters the principles of global citizenship by bringing veterans of different nations together in the arts–as stated through this theater company’s mission statement.

For those that enjoy a tale of tragic drama only The Bard can conceive, as well as to support those that placed their life on the line in the name of the freedoms of the USA, this production is indeed worth one’s theater presence. It goes to showcase that such dramas only get better through the ages, and the cause of military might is not to harm nor destroy, but to provide a severance of peace, justice, and the not just the American way, but for those that live in a would that respects the for stated points of freedom and justice.

Whatever the circumstance, this stage performance of Julius Caesar is very well executed, and worth its well intended look.

JULIUS CAESAR, presented by Warriors for Peace theatre, and performs at The Hudson Backstage Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd. (at Wilcox), Hollywood, until December 22nd. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 PM.

For ticket reservations and for more details, visit http://www.WFPtheatre.com
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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2019 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!

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