Wednesday, August 19, 2009

partial review: improv comedy at Blue Door Theater

Basing an improv comedy show on the “I Saw You’s” demonstrates that normal people are even weirder than comedians

So I walk into a storefront on Garland the other night, and some robot’s worried about spiders crawling into his circuitry, and three dweebs are arguing about gender roles, and then a couple shopping for a new mattress gets attacked by a Demon Hound From Hell.
Watching improv comedy is like wandering into someone else’s dream. It’s uncanny-confusing until it turns comical-weird, and then it’s like playing in a strange sandbox with another kid’s toys.
At least it’s been that way ever since the Blue Door Theater hit upon the idea of using The Inlander’s “I Saw You” ads as toys for use in their own sandbox of improvised comedy. (Their idea entirely — we’re just reporting the facts here, ma’am.) But of course we had to go see if the Blue Door comedians could outdo some of the oddballs who convey their better-left-private emotions in a public format like “Cheers and Jeers.”

... Sure, sometimes improvised scenes don’t develop, go nowhere, aren’t funny. But you forgive the lapses, because improv is so immersive: When the actors are clearly flailing, even then you’re calculating how you could’ve introduced some other bit of business. You could’ve sent that skit careening off into another, funnier direction. (At least you think you could.) In improv, even the flops are fruitful: They keep spectators speculating.
And then along comes one of those comedic gems that make you laugh and marvel, all at the same time. Brett Hendricks came up with one when Will Gilman, playing a doofus elementary school kid, bugged his teacher with one of those unanswerable “Why is the sky there?” questions. “If the sky weren’t there ...,” Hendricks began, and you could see the wheels turning as his teacher/comedian devised an answer. “...If the sky weren’t there, we’d have no stars, and no sun, and no moon. We’d just have dirt, all the way up.”

The comedians of the Blue Door Theater, 815 W. Garland Ave., continue riffing on The Inlander’s “I Saw You” ads on Fridays, Aug. 21 and Aug. 28, at 8 pm. Shows every week on Fridays at 8 pm and Saturdays at 9 pm. Tickets: $7-$9. Visit or call 747-7045.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"Oh, Lady, Be Good" at Circle Moon, Aug. 21-29

Laura Sable presents "A Tribute to the Great Ladies of Song" on Fridays-Saturdays, Aug. 21-22 and Aug. 28-29
at the Circle Moon Theater near Sacheen Lake (40 miles north of downtown Spokane; take Newport Highway to Hwy. 211).
Dinner and show for $20.

Sable was born in CdA and grew up in Newport. She has performed at the Civic, CdA Summer Theater, Lake City Playhouse, in New York and for the Delta Queen Steamboat Company.
An evening of music, magic and romance with Laura Sable and her husband of three weeks, Bill Wiemuth.

Call (208) 448-1294 or (509) 995-8406.

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*Poor Again ... Dagnabbit!* at Lincoln Center, Oct. 1-3

Tim Behrens will star in the fifth comedy written for him by Patrick McManus, at the Lincoln Center, 1316 N. Lincoln St.,
on Thursday, Oct. 1, at 8 pm and on Saturday, Oct. 3, at 8 pm.

Little Pat grew up during the Depression, it seems, with wolves at the door and maggots out in the barnyard. He had to learn how to make blood sausage, head cheese and turkey gravy — and once again, Old Ed will try to stay awake and say something intelligent. (He's 100, you see.)

Call 993-7121 or 327-8000. Tickets: $21.
On Oct. 1, for $26 more, you get a wild-game feast. McManus will also be signing copies that night of his new mystery novel, *The Double Jack Murders.*

On Oct. 3, for $85 total, you get a meet 'n' greet with McManus himself, a three-course meal, the show itself and a signed poster.
Visit and

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

McDonagh in March

Martin McDonagh's *A Behanding in Spokane* will premiere on Broadway in March: two con men, a hotel clerk, and a man who's searching for his lost hand.  [ photo: Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh; McDonagh accepting his 2006 Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film, "Six Shooter" ]

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CdA: two of four for 2010

CdA Summer Theatre has announced two of its four musicals for next summer: 
Hairspray and Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella

cast list for *The Pirates of Penzance*

Sept. 25-Oct. 25 at the Civic

Directed by Yvonne A.K. Johnson
Music Direction by Trudy Harris
Choreographed by Troy Nickerson and Jillian Wylie
Modern Major General ... Doug Dawson
Mabel....Andrea Dawson
Pirate King ...Michael J. Muzatko
Frederic ....Russell Seaton
Ruth .... Darnelle Preston
Samuel....Todd Kehne
Sargeant of Police.... Christopher Lamb
-- and nearly 20 more actors as Wards, Pirates and Policemen

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partial review: *Miss Saigon*

at CdA Summer Theatre through Aug. 22

... None of this kvetching, however, should deter viewers from taking in Mia Yoshida's transcendent performance in the title role. (She's even better than she was last year at Lewis and Clark High.) In addition, the Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre production (through Aug. 22) features Kirk Mouser's directing skill along with some powerful singing voices and strong design elements.
Mouser directs a sleazy-decadent opening scene, set in a Saigon strip joint with plenty of hip thrusts and cigarette smoke. He wisely isolates Yvonne Same in a spotlight, caught amid all the strip club hubbub, for a simply delivered “The Movie in My Mind.” The other Saigon prostitutes and the Engineer — all they want is to escape to America, to the promised land where their idealized "Movie” keeps playing over and over. Kim is the only one who insists on escaping with honor and dignity.
Yoshida shows great acting range in the role: virginal shyness in the opening scenes, followed by dawning passion and maternal protectiveness later on. She wants a better life, but only on her own terms. In the "Sun and Moon" love duet, her voice is tender and yearning. Both in movement and in song, Yoshida portrays Kim’s anguish, wonder and determination. We’re always pulling for her — which, of course, only makes the final tragedy even more somber. (As Chris, Kim’s American lover, Dane Stokinger expressed his character’s tragic dilemma well in the climactic hotel-room confrontation. But Stokinger’s Chris seemed self-focused: less attached to Kim than worried about his own problems.)

Mouser opens Act Two with a simple staging of “Bui-Doi,” the humanitarian plea on behalf of all those Vietnamese children abandoned by American soldiers; the contrast to Chris’s compassion is subtly hinted at. The action scenes bustle with energy; the satiric set-pieces, full of over-the-top glitz, are both amusing and a bit sad. In a heart-tugging show, Mouser’s direction showed restraint in the right places. Still — and despite those ugly American tourists in Bermuda shorts and knee socks — he didn’t tease out all of the show’s humor. ...

... In the thankless role of Ellen, Chris’s American wife, Jessica Skerritt handles extreme emotions with subtlety. Statuesque but not remote, she transformed the hand-wringing of “Now That I’ve Seen Her” into a genuine dilemma.

(For the full review, pick up a copy of the Aug. 16 Inlander.)
(Photos by Young Kwak; second photo: Dane Stokinger as Chris and Mia Yoshida as Kim)

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Saturday, August 01, 2009

Bobo on vacation

Squabble among yourselves.