Essence of Arthur MillerThe Price
7 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 11
Live Theatre Workshop
5317 E. Speedway Blvd.
Theater is primarily about character-building and storytelling. But directors, producers and actors have to worry about memorization, elaborate costumes, props and a stage set--not to mention commercial success--making things a lot more complicated. If you're putting on a play, why not pare it down and focus on the important part--the dialogue?
That's the main idea behind Live Theatre Workshop's Reader's Theatre, led by local director Bruce Bieszki. This group rehearses only four times before going in front of an audience, and the actors perform with scripts in hand. Sometimes, they use a few props or appear in costume, but the plays always revolve around the actors themselves.
For the next Reader's Theatre production, there will just be a stage, some lighting, four actors and four stools. That's all Bieszki figured was needed to perform Arthur Miller's The Price, a tragicomedy about two formerly wealthy brothers whose family fortune is obliterated by the stock market crash of 1929. We meet the brothers, Victor and Walter Franz, 16 years after Black Tuesday in the attic of their late father's apartment, where they sit deciding how to divide and dispose of his belongings. Trying to "help" them do this are an ancient used-furniture dealer and Victor's long-suffering wife, Esther. Other than that, there's not much of a plot to the play at all--instead of storyline, it's the characters' interactions and ideas that absorb the audience.
"It's a play that deals with the price of things," explains Bieszki. "Not necessarily the price of physical things, but the price people pay for decisions they make in their life--the price they pay for deluding themselves. ... This piece is about conversation and not about actions." In other words, The Price was made for the Reader's Theatre.
The play is free, but seating is limited, so you might want to make reservations. --A.M.
Saturn's Tilting RingsPublic Saturn Viewing
7 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays, Feb. 9, 10, 16 and 17, weather permitting
UA Mall in front of the Flandrau Science Center
1601 E. University Blvd.
"It's mind-boggling to me to see the many treasures and jewels in the Tucson area," says Michael Terenzoni of the UA's Flandrau Science Center.
What are these jewels that Terenzoni is touting? He's referring to what can be seen by stargazers in Southern Arizona.
Currently, Saturn is as close to Earth as it's been in years--and its rings are at its greatest tilt angle. Terenzoni says this tilt is indeed a great thing, because it forms from Saturn's orbit of Earth and changes its aesthetic appeal.
Not too savvy at locating stars and planets yourself? The Flandrau Science Center will be offering an opportunity to view Saturn and other heavenly bodies through 16-inch telescopes and giant binoculars on the UA mall. These events are free and open to the public.
"You live in one of the best areas for stargazing in the world," says Terenzoni, adding that attendees will have a chance to receive tips from amateur astronomers on how to locate stars. Of course, these special viewings depend on the weather; Terenzoni predicts a 75 percent chance of stargazers being able to see Saturn.
The Flandrau Science Center is also offering a special talk about Saturn from UA planetary scientist Adam Showman. The talk will be held on Friday, Feb. 9, at 6:30 p.m.
Can't get enough of Saturn? The Flandrau Planetarium will also be showing NASA's Ring World, a captivating presentation of the current exploration of Saturn by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. Dr. Showman's talk and the Ring World show cost $2.50 each. --K.H.
Animal Allies"Gathering Animal Guardians" Shamanic Journey Workshop
10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 10
388 S. Stone Ave.
Have you ever wondered what animals would say to you if they could talk? According to Quynn Elizabeth of the Institute for the Shamanic Arts, they can talk ... and they can give some really great advice. All you need to do is learn how to listen.
The idea is that animals have existed since before human time, so we have a long enough history with them that each of us has a connection to at least one kind of creature. We can find out what that animal is, and what it has to offer us, by taking a trip deep inside ourselves called a shamanic journey, in which the animal can appear to us and offer us guidance for our lives. If this sounds a little improbable, don't worry: Elizabeth says she knows exactly how to do it and has been leading workshops about the shamanic experience for eight years. In her upcoming workshop, she'll play the drums as participants close their eyes, imagine themselves in a place in nature and ask for an animal ally to come to them.
"It's like a dream when you're awake," she says. "You focus inward, like in meditation, and things just come into your head. I help people go with those things and discover what they mean to them. It can be as strong as a full-on vision."
This weekend's workshop will consist of three journeys, as well as a lot of talking about the concept of the shamanic journey and tricks that make it easier. After each journey, participants will share with each other what they've experienced, which helps them understand what they've seen.
The event will be offered by donation, and anyone can attend--as long as they're truly interested in shamanism. As Elizabeth says: "Some people will be intrigued. Others will think, 'What the heck is this stuff?!' This workshop is not for them." --A.M.
Israel and LaughsActor/Comedian Larry Miller
7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 13
Congregation Anshei Israel
5550 E. Fifth St.
When asked in a recent Mosaic magazine interview who he would invite to a dinner party, living or dead, Larry Miller responded: "Hitler. And one of us wouldn't be leaving."
You've probably seen comedic actor Larry Miller in just about everything from Pretty Woman and Seinfeld to Best in Show. But you probably didn't know that he's also a political know-it-all and a diehard Israel enthusiast.
As a thank you to contributors, the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona is hosting their Israel Chai event, which will feature Miller himself, along with entertainment by local band Molehill Orkestrah--and free dessert!
Noah Cohen, of the Jewish Federation, says that more than $1 million has already been donated to the 2007 Federation/UJA Campaign and the Israel Emergency Campaign in a relatively short amount of time. Cohen says that admission to the event is free to anyone who's donated, and donations at the door are greatly appreciated.
"I think it's going to be his basic standup act," says Cohen, "maybe a little more Jewish-themed than usual." Some people are already looking forward to seeing Miller speak shamelessly about his passion for Israel and his knowledge of politics.
Donations made to the Israel Emergency Campaign go toward evacuating children from dangerous areas, moving new immigrants to safer locations and providing emergency services to Israel.
If you're a fan of Larry Miller, or if you're just looking to enjoy a slew of good laughs and Israel mania, make your way over to Congregation Anshei Israel on Feb. 13. Please register for the event by calling 577-9393 --K.H.