‘Waiting for Godot’ speaker attracts crowd, promotes upcoming play

Seth TichenorSeth Tichenor, philosophy instructor at Clatsop Community College, spoke to a group of 74 theatergoers about Existentialism and “Waiting for Godot” at the CCC Performing Arts Center in Astoria Friday, Jan. 22. His talk was timed ahead of the Jan. 29 opening of the play, which will be performed five times at the PAC this month and next. His talk, set on the minimalist stage of director Karen Bain’s production, focused on playwright Samuel Beckett’s twin themes of absurdity and emptiness, touching on such philosophical concepts as “existence precedes essence,” “the primacy of subjectivity” and “the radical nature of freedom.” The play, which features a local cast of actors, is presented by Partners for the PAC. It will be performed 7.p.m. Jan. 29 and 30; 3 p.m. Jan. 31; 7 p.m. Feb. 5 and 6. Tickets are $15 at the door, cash or check.

Existentialism and Godot

In conjunction with the Astoria production of Waiting for Godot, Seth Tichenor, philosophy, religion and politics instructor at Clatsop Community College, will give a free lecture on existentialism, Friday, January 22 at 7 pm at the CCC Performing Arts Center at 16th Street and Franklin Avenue in Astoria.

Admission is free, but donations may be made to support Partners for the PAC, whose member organizations are working to keep the PAC functioning as a year-round performing arts venue. North Coast (and WA South Coast) drama students and their advisors are especially invited to attend.

Tichenor has pursued advanced degrees in philosophy from the University of Hawaii-Manoa and in theology from Boston University. He has been teaching for 19 years, including the University of Hawaii, Oregon State University, Concordia University, Linfield College, and a number of community colleges including Clatsop.

His areas of specialty include the Philosophy of Religion, Classical South Asian Philosophy, Comparative Philosophy and the Philosophy of Education. He is a co-founder of Philosofarian, a project that aims to make philosophical life relevant to everyone everywhere.

Audition Notice for PAC Benefit “Twelve Angry Men”

12-angry-men-poster-artTwelve Angry Men is based on the film by Reginald Rose and adapted for the stage by Sherman L. Sergel. Jury selection….err, um…… auditions will be January 6 and 7 at 6:30pm at the CCC Performing Arts Center, 588 16th St, Astoria (downstairs in the green room). The show calls for 13 men. The role of the guard can also be played by a woman. Auditions will consist of reading prepared sides from the script. Rehearsals will start the first week of February and the performances are March 11, 12, 13, 18 and 19. Any questions can be sent to director Sheila Shaffer.

‘Waiting for Godot’ to be performed at the PAC

Godot artwork“Waiting for Godot” will be performed in Astoria in early 2016. Partners for the PAC will stage the production 7 p.m. Jan. 29 and 30; 3 p.m. Jan. 31; and 7 p.m. Feb. 5 and 6. The show is directed by Karen Bain of Astoria and includes a cast of local actors. Tickets are $15, at the door of the Clatsop Community College Performing Arts Center at 16th Street and Franklin Avenue in Astoria.
The play follows two men as they dally by the side of a road, expecting the imminent arrival of another man. They’ve asked this man for nothing very definite, but eagerly anticipate his appearance. And though they admit that they do not know him — and won’t even recognize him when they see him — they wait for Godot.
Samuel Beckett wrote the play in the aftermath of World War II. It was first performed in Paris in 1953 and stage historians consider it spawned the “theater of the absurd” movement. One of the saddest comedies and funniest tragedies written in the modern era, it was voted the most significant English-language play of the 20th Century in a poll of 800 playwrights, actors, directors and journalists conducted the Royal National Theatre in London. Productions have been staged worldwide during the past 60 years in locations as diverse as prisons, war-torn Sarajevo, New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and in apartheid South Africa. 
Reviewers have called it, “a witty and poetic conundrum” (The Guardian), “humorous and deeply human” (The Press), “entertainment of a high order ” (New York Times) and “something that will securely lodge in a corner of your mind for as long as you live” (The Sunday Times).
The play’s two main characters appear to have lost everything, but they hang on to hope, just as they hang on to each other. As one says, “Right here, in this place, at this time, we are all mankind, whether we like it or not.”

Event to Honor Veterans

Guest speakers from the US Air Force and US Coast Guard will honor veterans Monday afternoon November 9 at an event at the CCC Performing Arts Center, corner of 16th & Franklin in Astoria.

Mike Phillips, the commander of the American Legion Clatsop Post 12, is scheduled to conduct a ceremony recognizing prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action, according to Cory Pederson, the event organizer.

The Jewell High School wind ensemble will perform patriotic music.

The event starts at 4pm. Doors open at 3:30. Veterans Day is Wednesday.

Visiting Mr. Green

Since its year long run in New York, starring Eli Wallach, Visiting Mr Green, by Jeff Baron, has become one of the world’s most popular plays, with about 500 productions in 23 languages in 46 countries (currently in Italy, Brazil, Kazakhstan, Romania, Israel, Croatia, The Netherlands, Ireland, the Czech Republic and the US), winning numerous awards along the way.

Visiting Mr. Green is the internationally acclaimed story about parents and children, lifelong secrets, and finding friendship in unlikely places. This bittersweet comedy shows that wisdom and folly come at any age, and that sometimes, the unexpected visitors are the ones we need the most.

An elderly widower, Mr. Green, and a young corporate executive, Ross Gardiner, are forced together against their will. What starts off as a comedy about two people who resent being in the same room together develops into drama, as family secrets are revealed and old wounds are opened.

Produced by Susi Brown
Directed by Sheila Shaffer
Actors: Bill Honl and Bill Ham
Tickets: $15 Available at Blue Scorcher, Rusty Cup and 3 Cups Coffeehouse and at the door.
AAUW Astoria Scholarship Fundraiser – all proceeds go to scholarships.
Raffle tickets sold at the event for prizes donated by local businesses.
Intermission: great cookies made by AAUW members and coffee from Columbia River Coffee Roaster.


Cascadia Concert Opera Presents “Don Giovanni,” an Opera by Mozart to Benefit the CCC Performing Arts Center

dongioGood news! You don’t have to wait for the Astoria Music Festival to come to town again to hear opera here. For an evening of fine performances and glorious music, don’t miss the Cascadia Concert Opera production, along with the North Coast Chorale, of  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Don Giovanni on Sunday, September 27, at 4:00 pm at the Clatsop Community College (CCC) Performing Arts Center which is located at 588 16th Street in Astoria. Tickets are $15 at the door.

Appearing as Leoporello (Don Giovanni’s servant who disapproves of his master’s excesses), is Deac Guidi who is a CCC voice faculty member. He’s also appeared regularly at the much-touted Astoria Music Festival for the last several years. In Don Giovanni, he’ll perform his vocal pyrotechnics to piano accompaniment.

Considered a groundbreaking, serio-comic masterpiece, Don Giovanni tells the story of a wealthy, charismatic Lothario – a reckless seducer of women who gets his just if untimely deserts. The work is considered by some to be the height of Mozart’s collaborations with librettist Lorenzo da Ponte. Exploring as it does the duplicitous nature of humanity, the opera has captivated audiences for hundreds of years—it’s every bit as stirring today as it was in the 18th century. It is #10 in the list of operas most performed worldwide.

The pairing of Mozart’s exquisite music and da Ponte’s rather vulgar depiction of the legend of Don Juan—the quintessential rake and roué—has been called “a complex and electrifying opera that exemplifies Mozart’s mastery of the form.” According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, “For Mozart, it was an unusually intense work, and it was not entirely understood in his own time. Within a generation, however, it was recognized as one of the greatest of all operas.”

Currently in its seventh season, Cascadia Concert Opera (CCO) is a non-profit performing arts organization based in Eugene. Its troupe of established and emerging professional singers and pianists afford it a rather unique identity as “a touring ensemble, presenting opera in intimate venues throughout the Pacific Northwest.” At its website, we learn that CCO “is a 501(c)3 non-profit arts organization that engages communities through the vibrant musical storytelling of opera. Each year we present operas in the early fall and tour numerous cities throughout Oregon.”

This remarkable event is sponsored by Partners for the PAC — part of ongoing efforts to raise money for the continued operation of the facility as a venue for affordable public arts and educational offerings.

A Night with Dave Drury & Friends

Featuring Dave Drury on guitar and his popular duo, Basin Street NW, with Todd Pederson on bass, and guest vocalist Aleesha Nedd. Also playing is Dave’s trio, Equinox, with Todd Pederson and Shelley Loring on flute. Don’t miss the wondrous musical machinations of Dave Drury & friends as they serve up oh-so generous portions of jazz-flavored fare for your listening pleasure. Saturday, July 25, 7 pm at the PAC. Tickets are $10 at the door. Check out the Astoria Society of Artists 5th Annual Studio Tour on July 25 and 26. It’s free!

Partners for the PAC present a concert of Pergolesi’s “Stabat Mater”

Rebecca & Jocelyn sang in the Cascadia Opera production of Beethoven’s Fidelio that was performed as a PAC benefit this past fall. They were inspired to do more to help maintain the PAC  and offered to sing the Pergolesi work as a benefit. They will both be part of the 2015 Astoria Music Festival.

Jocelyn Claire Thomas, a versatile soprano praised for her haunting sound and musical intelligence, is a frequent performer in opera, concert, and recital. She is a two time winner of the district level of the Classical Singer Competition, and also recently won the National Association of Teachers of Singing Advanced Artist Competition district level. She is a two time recipient of the George Woodhead Prize in Voice (2009/2011) for excellence in Oratorio and sacred music. Ms. Thomas holds a Bachelors of Music in Voice from the Oberlin Conservatory, a Masters Degree in Voice from the Peabody Conservatory, and a Graduate Performance Diploma also from the Peabody Conservatory. Upcoming engagements include Soprano Soloist in Mendelssohn’s Elijah, “Marzelline” and “Erste Dame” with the Astoria Music Festival, “Susanna” in Le Nozze di Figaro with FAVA Salzburg, and “Adele” with Opera Bend. Jocelyn currently resides in Portland, Oregon where she teaches voice, piano, flute, and yoga. She studies with Ruth Dobson.

Mezzo soprano Rebecca Sacks is known for her dynamic stage presence, smart musicality,  and stylistic versatility. Ms. Sacks has performed with Stanford University’s Chamber Chorale under Stephen Sano and University Singers under Robert Huw Morgan as well as with Sospiro Vocal Ensemble, Lyric Theatre of San Jose, Cascadia Concert Opera, and the University of Oregon Opera Ensemble. She recently was chosen as a Promising Young Artist of the 21st Century and travelled with a group of singers to Costa Rica where they gave several concerts throughout the country. Recently, Ms. Sacks won first place in the Northwest Region of the NATS competition and an encouragement award at the Oregon District of the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions. Ms. Sacks is a four year recipient of a performance scholarship at Stanford University and a member of the University of Oregon ensemble that won second place in the National Opera Association’s collegiate scenes competition.  She received her Bachelor’s degree in Music with departmental honors in Vocal Performance from Stanford University in 2010 and completed post-baccalaureate work at the University of Oregon in 2013. Rebecca is a member of the Portland Opera Chorus and currently studies with Ruth Dobson.

Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710-1736) was one of the most important early composers of comic opera. He also wrote sacred music; it is his Stabat Mater (1736)  which is his best-known sacred work. It was commissioned by a fraternal group who presented an annual Good Friday meditation  in honor of the Virgin Mary. Pergolesi’s work replaced one composed by Alessandro Scarlatti only nine years before, but which was already perceived as “old-fashioned,” so rapidly had public tastes changed.

Pergolesi’s music can heard in the following films: Farinelli, Jésus de Montréal, Smilla’s Sense of Snow, Amadeus, and The Mirror.

Partners for the PAC Hosts a “Girls Night Out”

Lookout ladies, it’s Partners for the PAC’s “Girls Night Out.” On Thursday, March 19, you’ll want to get your sweet selves over to the Performing Arts Center at 16th and Franklin in Astoria for an entertaining evening designed expressly with you in mind! A night of fashion and fun may be yours–just what’s needed with the kids home from school for spring break soon—for the price of a ticket ($10 at the door). Doors open at 7:00.

First, there’ll be a showing of the 1963 film classic, “Charade.” Then, you’ll sip bubbly and eat chocolate during intermission!  Be sure and get glamorous before you arrive too, as there’ll be prizes for “best ensemble” in the audience. So, dust off those tiaras, get out the evening gloves.  This will be your night to shine.

The Film
At 7:30 sharp, Charade will cast its spell on the big screen in sumptuous living color. “Charade is a classic cat-and-mouse, “Hitchcockian” romantic comedy and enigmatic thriller all-in-one from director Stanley Donen, known more for his musicals (Singing in the Rain, On The Town, etc.). The plot twisting, witty and suspenseful film is a sophisticated, yet off-balanced combination of thrills and comedy,” gushes one on-line writer at Filmsite.org.

A sixties gem—an early example of the spoofs and caper movies so popular during the decade—Charade stars the effervescent Audrey Hepburn. As widow Regina Lampert, Hepburn spends most of the movie looking for money her character’s late husband filched and romancing Cary Grant who, as Peter Joshua, is a distinctly suspicious character however devastatingly handsome he might be.

You’ll relish the delightful repartee in store—the sort of banter you’ve come to expect with this genre (think Hitchcock’s “The 39 Steps”). Hepburn’s character is clearly attracted to Grant’s mysterious hero but that doesn’t stop her from mocking him–for his gray hair, failing eyesight, and his famous chin cleft. “How do you shave in there,” she asks. About his general untrustworthiness, she sasses, “You won’t be able to lie on your back for a while,” she quips. “But then you can lie from any position can’t you?”  (Dissolve.com)

A cadre of miscreants remains on their trail throughout—looking for the money as well–played by popular actors George Kennedy (Cool Hand Luke and Airport), James Coburn (In Like Flint and The Magnificent Seven) and other familiar faces from the sixties. The redoubtable Walter Matthieu (The Odd Couple, Bad News Bears and Charley Varrick) has a small, but key role as a private investigator.
While not exactly fluffy, Charade is not to be taken too seriously plot wise. Instead, we’re meant to thrill to a star-driven, international adventure. The action moves from one gorgeous location to another—from a ski lodge in the Alps in Haute-Savoie France and the glittering streets of Paris at night, to an outdoor Punch and Judy puppet show in the Jardin’s des Champs Elysees and many other famous locations in the legendary City of Light. Sigh.

With all it had going for it, it’s no surprise then that Charade was a huge hit and a defining (role) for Hepburn, establishing her as the ideal heroine for high-spirited movies combining romance, comedy and suspense and, lest we forget, beautiful clothes.

Hepburn’s onscreen persona
It’s interesting that Grant (who was 59 at the time he made Charade) had concerns about the age difference with Hepburn (34) which made the required romantic interplay uncomfortable for him. The filmmakers simply reworked the screenplay so that she was the one pursuing him. Over her career, Hepburn was regularly paired with “older” co-stars. The lineup included Humphrey Bogart, Gary Cooper, Gregory Peck, Henry Fonda, William Holden, Burt Lancaster and Fred Astaire, reflecting how “the studio” saw and “marketed” her.
While she may have played the innocent or “ princess type” who looks to a paternalistic figure to save her from herself, Hepburn had her own ideas about her career, how she dressed and what style and class meant. She was the quintessential 1950s “gamine,” a French term for a slim, often boyish, elegant, wide-eyed young woman who is, or is perceived to be, mischievous, teasing or sexually appealing. (Wikipedia).

The Look
“Audrey was always more about fashion than movies or acting,” said Donen (and not as an insult). Her elfin features and waif-like figure inspired renown fashion designer Givenchy who’s credited with creating her style.” Hepburn readily acknowledged as much, “Givenchy gave me a look, a kind, a silhouette. He has always been the best and he stayed the best. Because he kept the spare style that I love. What is more beautiful than a simple sheath made an extraordinary way (with) a special fabric and just two earrings.”

Givenchy created Hepburn’s outfits for several of her films, remaining her friend and ambassador (and she his muse) throughout her life.  Experts affirmed that her longevity as a style-icon results from her sticking with a look that suited her: “clean lines, simple yet bold accessories, minimalist palette. At home, she preferred casual and comfortable clothes, though! Who’d have thought it?

In conclusion
Don’t miss this movie, if only for the clothes; the two leads and strong supporting cast; the locations; and, of course, the memorable music of composer Henry Mancini (words by Johnny Mercer) who took home the movie’s only Oscar for his wonderfully evocative score and haunting title song, “Charade”).  Besides, it’s all for a good cause. This event is at the PAC for the PAC, which means it’s being sponsored by Partners for the PAC to raise money for the continued operation of the facility as a venue for affordable public arts and educational offerings.  Talk about a win/win.