The Orinda Village Starlight Players has given new meaning to the old adage "The show must go on."
First, the troupe had to postpone the opening of its season by a week when nearby construction necessitated PG&E doing an electrical rerouting to the Orinda Community Center Park, where the group performs. Although the new electrical connections were still not in place for the June 7 opening, Starlight Director Geotty Chapple decided to open anyway, using heavy-duty extension cords from nearby buildings and reducing the show's lighting to the bare minimum. Adding to the company's woes, Chapple became ill and missed many rehearsals right before opening.
Needless to say, reviewing the show I saw on opening night would be unfair to the cast and crew who have worked so hard to bring "Love from a Stranger" to life. Several members of the cast had their characters and lines down pat while others continued to struggle with both.
With Chapple now back at the helm, the show hopefully will attain the pacing necessary to make Frank Vosper's adaptation of an Agatha Christie mystery more entertaining. Given that there is very little suspense during the first three-quarters of the play, a fast pace is essential.
While a good 40 minutes needs to be shaved off the play, either through pacing or cutting of lines, Vosper's surprise ending is a nice touch.
With or without lights, the Orinda Community Center Park offers a nice setting for a picnic before the performances with Starlight providing seat cushions and blankets. The show runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8:30 p.m., with an 8 p.m. Thursday show June 27 and a closing Sunday matinee at 4 p.m. on June 30. For tickets, call 925-528-9225 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Butterfield 8 opens its new works series with Michaela Goldhaber's "The Lady Scribblers -- a Historical Comedy."
Taking place in 1690s London, the story follows a group of women playwrights who join forces with rebel actors to found a new theater. Done in Restoration comic style, according to Goldhaber, "the show is peppered with actual history and salted with rhyming couplets."
For tickets, call 800-838-3006 or go to www.b8company.com.
A one-day performance of Dustin Lance Black's "8" takes place this Saturday night at 2:30 and 7 p.m. at Clayton Valley Presbyterian Church, 1578 Kirker Pass Road, in Clayton.
In Black's work, discrimination goes on trial as a gay and a lesbian couple fight for their right to be married. This real-life story takes aim at Proposition 8, a 2008 law that took away the right for LGBT couples to marry in California. Tickets can be purchased in advance through http://8theplayconcord.eventbrite.com.
Enjoy a good old-fashioned melodrama and help Danville's Role Players Ensemble all at the same time. The company presents "Perils and Passions on the Farm," with three plays that benefit both the San Ramon Historic Foundation and the Role Players.
The shows take place on June 22 at 5 p.m. and June 23 at 1 p.m., both at Forest Home Farms Historic Park, 19953 San Ramon Valley Blvd. in San Ramon. Call 925-820-1278 or email SanRamonhf@gmail.com.
Festival Opera presents one of Giuseppe Verdi's most stirring operas, "Otello," June 28 at 8 p.m. and June 30 at 2 p.m. Presented in coproduction with Palo Alto's West Bay Opera, the show celebrates Verdi's 200th anniversary. Call 926-943-SHOW or go to www. lesherartscenter.org.
Center Rep's gregarious marketing director, Gabe Marin, opens in the Aurora Theatre's "This is How it Goes" on June 20 with previews June 14-19.
Marin, who recently performed in Center Rep's "Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World," upsets the fragile balance of his former girlfriend's interracial marriage when he returns to their Midwest town and rents the apartment above the couple's garage. For more information on Neil LaBute's dark, edgy comedy, call 510-843-4822 or go to www.auroratheatre.org.
Contact Sally Hogarty at email@example.com