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2022 October 9

Arms and the Man (Jewel Theatre)

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Last Sunday (2 Oct 2022) my wife and I went to see Shaw’s play Arms and the Man, produced by Jewel Theatre (at the Colligan Theater in Santa Cruz). This production was originally planned for 2019, but was cancelled by the pandemic. Before going to the play, I was pretty sure I had seen a production of it before, and my wife was pretty sure she hadn’t, but neither of us really remembered, and we could have been confusing it with some other play.

After seeing the play, we were both more firmly entrenched in our beliefs about having seen it or not seen it before, so I looked up when Arms and the Man had last been performed in Santa Cruz.  I found that Shakespeare Santa Cruz performed it in the summer of 1999 (directed by Paul Whitworth)—I’m certain that is the previous production that I saw, but it is entirely possible that my wife decided not to attend then, though she remembers the Romeo and Juliet and The Two Gentlemen of Verona that were the other two productions that season. (Our son would have been 3 years old, so there may have been some difficulty getting a baby sitter or she might just not have felt like seeing the play—I really don’t recall.)

I can’t compare the two productions, as my recollections of the previous one are too hazy, but I liked both, and think that the play is a fine one (despite some rather ludicrous caricatures of Bulgarians, Serbs, and Swiss). For an anti-war play first performed in 1894, it holds up surprisingly well in modern times.

Jewel Theatre did a fine job in all respects, from acting and directing to set design and costumes (I always like B. Modern’s costume designs).  All the actors were well cast, but I particularly liked the way that Charles Pasternak played Captain Bluntschli.  I’m glad that Pasternak is becoming a permanent addition to the Santa Cruz theater scene (he’ll be taking over as artistic director for Santa Cruz Shakespeare after the 2023 season).

I won’t bother with a detailed review of the production, as we went to the last performance, so word of mouth will not have any effect on ticket sales.  Still, it bodes well for the season that they started out with such a good production.

2022 October 1

Oregon Shakespeare Festival 2022

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My family (that is, my wife, our son, and I) went to Ashland to see five plays at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival September 21–24. This was my wife’s first trip to Ashland, though I’ve been there three or four times before, and our son at least twice more than me.

This time we were not going with a group, so we flew from SFO to MFR (Medford, Oregon).  Because the flight was midday, and United was warning people to come at least three hours early because of delays in the security line, we got a room at the last minute at a San Bruno motel.  The Hotel Aluxor is well-named, as it is certainly deficient in luxury.  If we do the trip again, we’d take the late afternoon flight and spend the extra night in Ashland instead. We took an Uber from Medford to Ashland, though the bus would have only cost $4 for the 3 of us (two seniors and one adult).

We stayed in the Stratford Inn, about ½ mile from the theaters, where our son and I have both stayed before.  Of the places I’ve stayed in Ashland, it provides the best tradeoff of comfort, convenience, and price, though I’ve only tried three places, so I may well be missing something better.

On the evening of the day we arrived, we saw The Tempest at the Allen Elizabethan Theatre (the outdoor theater). There was a very light rain at times, but we were comfortable enough with our raincoats, the throws we had brought with us, and rented pillows to sit on.  Heavy rain would have made us miserable, though, so we were lucky that the rain held off throughout the performance and the time it took us to walk back to the hotel afterwards. The theater was less than half full, but we attributed this to the day of the week (Wednesday), the rain, and the time of year (after school had started).

The play was a pretty good production of The Tempest—certainly better than the Santa Cruz Shakespeare one we’d seen five weeks earlier, though not as adventurous. The script cut very little of the dialog (leaving in some of the racism and misogyny that is usually cut), but rather surprisingly cut some of Ariel’s most famous songs.  The other major cuts were to the masque, which is almost alway cut heavily.  The projections they used for the masque were ok, but not really great (still better than the “great quotes from other plays” that Santa Cruz Shakespeare substituted). It was not such a bad thing that OSF cut Ariel’s songs, because their Ariel was not very good as an actor—he may have been an ok singer, but the sound engineer really butchered the amplification of the songs.  All in all, it was a decent production with a strong Prospero and only Ariel as noticeably poorly cast.

The next day we saw two plays: Confederates by Dominique Morisseau in the Thomas Theatre (the smallest of the three stages) and Revenge Song in the outdoor theater.

Confederates was probably the best of the productions we saw in Ashland this year, with good acting and directing, a well-written script, and a set that did not distract too much from the play.  There were a few times when we thought that they could have used the traps of Thomas stage to do set changes with a little less running around by the stage crew, but the transitions went fairly smoothly.  The contrast and parallels between the Civil-War era slave woman and the modern Black female professor were intelligently done, and the interactions between the professors and the students were realistically portrayed.

Revenge Song was not exactly what we were expecting from their description

Buckle up for a musical story about Julie d’Aubigny—a queer 17th-century rule-breaking, sword fighting, opera-singing transgressor of boundaries. It’ll be loud, it’ll be rowdy, and it’ll be hilarious! Qui Nguyen (OSF’s Vietgone and Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon) sets this irreverent take on French history somewhere between the realms of superheroes and comic books and asks what it means to bust through your prescribed roles into who you truly are.

The description is accurate enough, but we were expecting more operatic music, rather than over-amplified rock that drowned the voices under guitars and drums and made the lyrics incomprehensible. The acting was good, and the fight choreography well done (though I think a number of the fight scenes were being done at ⅔ speed, because we had an understudy for Julie). The story itself was pretty easy to follow (despite the fake French accents) and the costuming marvelously silly. We enjoyed the show well enough, despite the sound engineer making the music painful at times (the description did warn us that it would be loud).  We felt that they would have described the show better if they had claimed it was “like Rocky Horror Picture Show with swords”—they might then have attracted a more appreciative audience.  As it was, the theater was only about a quarter full and a lot of the white-haired audience seemed to be tolerating it rather than enjoying it (though there was a contingent of dedicated fans).

On our third day we saw Once on this Island and King John, both at the Angus Bowmer Theatre.

Once on this Island was certainly the worst of the performances we saw. The sound engineer must have been completely deaf, as the music was amplified so loud that it was distorted and painful to listen to—worse even than the overamplification of Ariel in The Tempest and the instruments in Revenge Song. The story line was trite with an awkward framing story, there was essentially no dialog (just songs strung together, which were nearly incomprehensible due to the bad sound engineering), and the costumes and set looked like a high-school production. About the only good part of the show was the dancing, but that was not enough to rescue the production.

King John with an all-female-or-nonbinary cast was excellent. The play has some of the best speeches for women that Shakespeare wrote, and the cast did a vry good job with them, as well as with the male characters, though I think that the directing or acting for John could have been a bit better—the character did not seem to be consistently portrayed (some of the difficulty there is in the script). The fight scenes were highly stylized, to mixed effect. I rather liked the battle done as repetition of a very simple weaponless combat, with projection of the results on the scrim—it brought out the banality of battle and death rather than glorying in the combat. The greatsword fight with the Bastard was clumsy, though—having the Bastard grab the sword by the blade and use it like a grappling hook or halberd made no sense at all. The checkerboard battle, like the weaponless repeat, was an interesting abstract stylization of a battle scene.

Overall, we thought that Confederates and King John were excellent productions, well worth the trip; The Tempest was a workmanlike, but not exceptional production; Revenge Song was good of its kind, but did not particularly appealing to us; and Once on this Island was not worth listening to. I hope that in future Oregon Shakespeare Festival does fewer musicals (since they clearly can’t produce them well—though maybe hiring different audio engineers who were not deaf would help) and more plays like Confederates and King John.

We felt a little sorry for the cast (and the festival in general) as most of the performances we saw were to very sparse audiences (half-empty theaters or worse).  Only Confederates, in the tiny Thomas Theatre, was close to being a full house.

When going back to the airport at the end of the trip, we did take the bus, and were pleased to see how many locals used the bus for transportation.  The security line at Medford was short but slow, since they were having everyone take off belts and shoes, taking laptops out of sleeves, and generally doing the security theater like it was 2002, rather than 2022. The flight itself was uneventful, and our son got home to Richmond fairly promptly by taking BART from SFO. My wife and I had a somewhat slower trip home (BART, Caltrain, Highway 17 Express), because it was a weekend and Caltrain was running only one of the two tracks while they did repair work on the other, resulting in substantial delays.  We ended up taking 9 hours door-to-door from the Stratford Inn to home, which is not that much faster than taking a bus the whole way (which generally ran 12–13 hours, when we went with a charter group).

2022 August 31

Santa Cruz Shakespeare 2022 season

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I went to all the performances of Santa Cruz Shakespeare this summer and most of their other events also: meet the directors, meet the cast, meet the interns, educational program for Tempest, educational program for Twelfth Night, the announcement of the 2023 season, and both staged readings, but not the memorial for Audrey Stanley.

The staged readings were ok, but nothing special this year.  The two-hander Nasty, Brutish, and Short by Ian McRae was rather predictable and had somewhat clunky dialog.  The motivations for the Black character were unclear—why did he keep letting the white character continue?  The play might be better with some tightening and an additional character (family member for the Black character? breaking the long dialog into separate scenes rather than having it all one long night?).

The 5-woman Simply The Thing She Is by Kate Hawley was a little more polished, but was probably more fun for the actors than for the audience—again, it was very predictable and the jokes fell a bit flat. As works in progress, they were reasonable plays to do staged readings of, but neither is one that I’d want to see the company move into full production (unlike The Formula, which they premiered this year after many people liked the staged reading they did pre-pandemic).

The interns’ play Just Deserts by Carol Lashof (and, yes, the playwright did use that apparent mis-spelling in the title) called for 1 man and 3 women (or non-binary), but there were 4 acting interns: 2 men and 2 women, so one of the men played a female role (somewhat unusual for Santa Cruz Shakespeare, as they do equal-gender casting, but that usually results in women playing roles intended for men, not vice versa). The interns had three weeks less rehearsal time than planned, as the play they started with was not working, and they spent their third week of rehearsal time choosing a new play.  The one they chose is based on Greek literature: in it Orestes is asking permission of the Furies to kill his mother (who killed his father because he had killed Orestes’ sister Iphigenia).  The interns were all good actors, though the lines for Orestes were not great, and the actor was not able to make them very convincing.  The Furies (particularly Tisiphone) had some great lines, though. The first act was great, but the second act lacked the emotional gut punches of the first act—it seemed a bit anticlimactic.  I think the problem here was in the writing, rather than acting or directing.  Overall, I think that this was one of the better intern productions.

The world premiere of The Formula by Kathryn Chetkovich was great, as I expected from having seen the staged reading of it. I actually liked the casting of the staged reading better, but a repertory company has to use the actors it has for the season, and most seemed to have been selected for their roles in other plays. The story is very loosely based on Midsummer Night’s Dream, in that there is love potion that causes people to fall in love with the first person they see, and (of course) the wrong people keep getting seen first. It is almost a door-slamming farce, which made it a little difficult to stage this year, as the minimal set had no doors. I was a little bothered by having all the actors visibly on stage for most of the play—it might have been good to put up some screens at least, so that characters could enter from the wings.

The Twelfth Night production was good—perhaps the best of the season, though not the best Twelfth Night I’ve ever seen (that goes to a Berkeley Rep production over 40 years ago that featured singing by Oak, Ash, and Thorn). Setting the play in the jazz era and using jazz music worked ok, as did having all the nobles be Black actors. Malvolio as a woman worked ok, though I think that the role still works better as a male one. They cut a bit too much (including some of the more famous jokes), but the actors clearly understood the jokes in the script and made them fairly clear to the audience. Both the acting and the directing were good.

The Tempest production was a bit disappointing. I did not have any inherent problem with Prospero being Miranda’s mother, rather than her father, but they mangled a lot of the lines to make them more PC.  I don’t accept Ariel as a student of Prospero—Ariel was clearly an indentured servant. Ariel seems to have been cast for her voice (a reasonable criterion), but her body language was more that of an earth elemental than an air elemental. Casting Caliban with an older actor seemed a bit strange also—Caliban is supposed to be about the same age as Miranda. Removing the masque from The Tempest is probably sensible (few modern audiences would get anything from it, and it is a bit tedious), but replacing it with catering staff delivering Shakespeare’s fortune cookies (inappropriate quotes yanked from other plays) was worse than leaving the masque in. Most of the acting was good, as were the lighting and special effects, but the cutting and rewording of the play marred an otherwise good effort.

Because of difficulty getting stage carpenters at the beginning of the season, the set was really minimal this year, consisting of 4 circular areas (raised 0, 1, 2, and 3 steps). For three of the plays, this minimal set worked well, but The Formula really needed a more conventional set with doors. The relatively new sound system (all actors were miked) worked well—I did not need my hearing aids for any of the shows, but the voices seemed to be associated with the actors, not coming from random other locations.

We saw the 4 plays in four successive nights, walking to the Grove (about 3.7 miles) each evening up the Audrey Stanley Grove Trail and coming home via Uber. We clustered the plays so that our son could make one trip home from his house in Richmond and see them all.

Next year’s season will consist of King Lear, The Taming of the Shrew, and Lauren Gunderson’s The Book of Will. The only Gunderson play I’ve seen (I think) is Silent Sky at the Jewel Theatre—I was not particularly impressed by the writing, which seemed heavy-handed and “sincere” (which is not a compliment). Some of her comedies look promising, but the historical and science dramas all sound overly sincere.  I suspect that next year’s season will not be one of their best, as The Taming of the Shrew is very difficult to perform for a modern audience (the humor is inherently misogynistic), and the Gunderson play looks like it will be more fun for the actors than for the audience (the two leads will be the artistic directors Mike Ryan and Charles Pasternak, both good actors). The Lear should be good, if they play it fairly traditionally.

2022 July 17

No secret walk in Santa Cruz this week

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My wife and I did not do a “secret walk” in Santa Cruz this week, but I did get in a fair amount of walking this week:

  • On Wednesday, my wife and walked down to the downtown Farmer’s Market.
  • On Thursday, a friend and I did the Lighthouse-Whale Museum walk. I did not take any photos on this walk (so see the old post if you want pictures), but we had lunch together at Linda’s Seabreeze Cafe, which was pleasant.
  • On Saturday, my wife and I went up to El Cerrito, to see a play our son was in: Fortinbras, put on by Actors Ensemble of Berkeley.  We took the Capitol Corridor from San Jose to Richmond, then BART back to El Cerrito Plaza, because we were worried about delays on BART between Sanjose and El Cerrito (both from the bus bridge between Union City and South Hayward and BART alerts about other delays further north).  The Capitol Corridor is much more expensive, but we thought it would be a little more likely to run on time this weekend.
    My watch recorded about 23.5k steps on Saturday (so about 10 miles).  A little of that was walking to the bus station in Santa Cruz, but the strenuous part was from El Cerrito Plaza BART to our AirBnB, then from there up through Sunset View Cemetery and up Sunset Drive and Arlington to the Kensington Community Center, where the play took place.  We got a lift to the Kensington Circus Pub with some friends, where our family had dinner, then walked to our son’s house from there (about 3 miles).  Finally, we took a bus back to El Cerrito Plaza BART and walked back to our AirBnB.
  • On Sunday, my wife and I walked over to the Kensington Farmers’ Market for breakfast, then to our son’s house in Richmond.  We took bus/BART/bus bridge/BART/bus/bus/walk home from our son’s house—taking about 4 hours and 40 minutes.  Our walking on Sunday came to about 18k steps (~8 miles).

So, although my wife and I didn’t do a “secret walk in Santa Cruz” this week, we did get in a fair amount of walking—some of it fairly strenuous, as the climb from El Cerrito up to the Kensington Community center has 600′ of climb with an average slope of almost 7%.

The play Fortinbras was very funny and quite well acted—especially for theater that charges nothing for tickets (you can get a reserved seat for $20, but there is no real need—other than to support the under-funded theater group—we both got reserved seats). They’ve got one more weekend to go (July 23 and 24), and I strongly urge any of my blog readers who happen to be in the East Bay next weekend to take a couple of hours (3–5 p.m.) Saturday or Sunday to see the play. You won’t regret it!  (But if you don’t have a car, expect a long walk or use a ride-sharing service—Kensington has no bus service on weekends.)

The play starts with the final scene of Hamlet, in which all the major characters are dead and Fortinbras of Norway comes in to take over.  The characters in the play are almost all characters from Hamlet—either minor characters that weren’t killed or the ghosts of major characters.  The play is funnier if you are familiar with Hamlet, but they provide a brief pantomime summary of Hamlet at the beginning, which is all you really need to follow the farce.

2021 August 9

Entertainment and exercise week

Our son visited us from Berkeley from Friday July 30 to Sunday August 8, so we crammed in an entire summer’s worth of entertainment in just over a week.  We also got a lot of exercise (though not a full summer’s worth).  The steps log from Project Baseline is rather useless for estimating how much we walked, because it does not let me see more than 7 days—then it chunks arbitrarily into weeks.  I can see that we had two big days lately (about 22,000 steps on Tuesday Aug 3 and Saturday Aug 8) and a couple of medium days (about 9,000 steps on Thursday Aug 5 and 11,000 Sunday Aug 8), but I can’t tell how many steps there were on July 31 and Aug 1 (though I’d guess around 10,000 each, based on what I remember of mileage).  I think that the Secret Walks that my wife and I have been doing have increased my walking substantially, as July had about 215,000 steps and no previous month (since last September, as far back as the crippled Project Baseline steps log will show me) had more than 125,000.

Santa Cruz Shakespeare: RII Saturday July 31 8 p.m.–10 p.m.

On Saturday, we walked the 3.7 miles to the Audrey Stanley Grove carrying our picnic dinner in backpacks in order to see RII, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Richard II performed by 3 actors.  M.L. Roberts performed as King Richard II, and Mike Ryan and Paige Lindsey White performed all the other roles.  I don’t remember ever seeing a performance of Richard II, and the only speech from it I recognized was the tell-sad-stories-of-the-death-of-kings monolog, which my son memorized once for a Shakespeare conservatory.  This reduced-cast version was surprisingly understandable, with the costuming by B. Modern really helping the audience keep track of who the actors were playing (good acting was also essential, to make the body language of the different characters distinct). The set was rather minimal and consisted mainly of banners hiding what was clearly a set for the other play and a few grates to remind the viewers that Richard is in prison and having flashbacks (part of the adaptation of the play).

We all felt that the play was highly successful, and the audience gave the performers a standing ovation.  Some of the appreciation might have just been for having live theater again, but we joined the ovation (something we don’t always do—only when we feel that the performance really has been outstanding).

I had forgotten to pack my hearing aids (which I only noticed about a mile from our house—too far to go back and fetch them), but the new sound system that they installed this year seems to work well, and I had no trouble hearing and understanding any of the actors.

Casts were kept small this season to avoid the possibility of a Covid-19 outbreak among the cast and to keep within budget—there was no season last year to provide the forward funding for this year, and ticket sales were limited because social distancing kept the capacity to about 1/3 of normal.  They are, for the first time, streaming the shows so that people can watch at home (for $25/stream).  I don’t know whether they will continue that option in future years, but it is good for this year, when seating capacity is reduced and many potential audience members are still nervous about even socially distanced groups of people.

After the play, we did our usual routine of catching Lyft home, since we don’t like walking either the Audrey Stanley Grove Trail or Upper Park Road in the dark.  We had to wait a little, as there were few drivers available, but it worked about as well as in previous years.

Cabrillo College Pirates of Penzance Sunday Aug 1 2 p.m.–4 p.m.

On Sunday afternoon, we took a bus out to Cabrillo College to see Pirates of Penzance, performed outdoors in the little amphitheater, which I don’t think Cabrillo has used for a production for over a decade before this year. Cabrillo also had socially distanced seating (which in the small amphitheater meant a very small audience), but they had a full cast and a moderate size pit orchestra.  I don’t know what precautions they took to avoid an outbreak during rehearsals, but the performances were all in only one weekend, so they did not have to worry about maintaining a Covid-free cast for very long.

I quite enjoyed the performance (though I’ve seen Pirates many times, including by D’Oyley Carte Opera Compnay when I was child).  This performance had a lot of energy and ok costuming, even if the set was really minimal and the stage a bit too small for the size of the cast.  The sound engineer was not sufficiently rehearsed during tech week, as he drowned out part of the Major General’s song by misbalancing the orchestra and the singer in the first act, and left off Mabel’s mic at the beginning of one song in the second act.  There were also a couple of songs added to the second act (one from Ruddigore and one from H.M.S Pinafore)—I’m not sure exactly why they were added, as the performance did not really need to be lengthened.

My wife, who is an opera fan, said that the singers were quite good for a local production, and that Mabel hit all the high notes.

After the performance, we had to wait quite a while for the bus back to Santa Cruz: the 71 buses are an hour apart on Sunday afternoons.

Arboretum walk Tuesday Aug 3

On Tuesday, we did a long walk in our Secret Walks series, which I covered in a separate post.  After the walk, no one felt much like cooking or going out to dinner, so I just got takeout from Sabieng Thai, which is just a 2-block walk from our house.

The Green Knight Thursday Aug 5 1:15 p.m.–3:30 p.m.

On Thursday, we did something none of us has done since before the pandemic—we went to a movie theater!  We deliberately picked the first matinee of a movie that we were interested in, but which was unlikely to have a large audience.  Indeed, there were only three other people in the audience.

I had a little trouble with the sound in the movie—it was certainly loud enough that I did not need my hearing aids, but a lot of the actors were whispering their lines and the background music was badly balanced, so that big chunks of the dialog were unintelligible in places.  The film was mostly an ok telling of Gawain and the Green Knight, though the addition of a CGI fox to the story seemed completely pointless, and pushing Gawain’s mother into the story was not really necessary (though it certainly worked better than the stupid fox). They also mangled the end of the story, to try to make it more ambiguous and relatable to modern audiences—I don’t think that worked very well either.

Overall, I’m glad that we saw the film, but I have no desire to see it again and I would not recommend it to anyone who was not already familiar with the story. It would be better to read a decent retelling than to get the story from the movie.

Bicycle ride in Wilder Ranch (Cowboy Loop Trail) Friday Aug 6 6–8 p.m.

On Friday, my son borrowed an ancient mountain bike from the garage (no suspension), and he and I took a ride out to Wilder Ranch, to do the short Cowboy Loop Trail.  We planned to do the loop clockwise, but we could not find the second entrance to the loop and went a ways up Engelman’s Loop before we decided that we must have missed it. Engelman’s Loop had very loose sand and gravel, which did not work well with the slick road tires that I have on my recumbent—I had to walk some of the steep parts, because my rear tire kept losing traction.  We came back down and did the Cowboy Loop Trail in the clockwise direction.

It seems that the Cowboy Loop is more popular with equestrians than bicyclists—we saw no wheel tracks but our own.  The trail is a narrow single track, with tall grass growing up on either side—on my recumbent my hands occasionally brushed the thistles and blackberries encroaching on the trail.  Luckily the large stands of poison oak did not encroach so much.  My son walked some of the twisty downhill parts and found the tall grass on either side of the trail a bit claustrophobic.

There were some nice vistas from parts of the trail, and the creek actually had water in it where we crossed near the end of the trail (in the counter-clockwise direction).

When we finished the loop, we found why we had not been able to find the upper turnoff to the trail—both the park map posted at the entrance and Google maps have the trail mapped incorrectly.  The creek crossing has been moved, and the trail now ends where it begins, not further up Engelman’s Loop as the maps have it.  I’ve given feedback to Google maps.

Santa Cruz Shakespeare The Agitators Saturday Aug 7 8–10 p.m.

On Saturday, we again made the 3.7-mile trek to the Audrey Stanley Glen, but we tried a slightly different route, going through the Church of Christ parking lot to Pacheco, rather than going up Elk.  Next year, we might try going all the way to Park Way, rather than using Old Vineyard Trail, though we’d miss seeing the remnants of the old zoo on Old Vineyard Trail with the entrance off Pacheco.

The Agitators is a two-hander, with Patty Gallagher playing Susan B. Anthony and Allen Gilmore playing Frederick Douglas.  These are two of my favorite actors from Santa Cruz Shakespeare, and they provided excellent performances.  One problem with the play is that it spans almost 50 years, from when they first met until after Frederick Douglas’s death.  That puts a heavy burden on the actors to convincingly play all the different ages (and on the wigs and costumes).  Patty did an excellent job of all but the youngest, and Allen of all but the oldest.

The play is very timely, despite being set entirely in the 19th century, as many of the issues of racial and gender equality have still not been resolved, 125 years later.  The play is thoughtful and inspiring, rather than being heavy-handed propaganda, and the dialogue humanizes the characters while still portraying them as heroes of their times. Some sections seem to have been taken from their speeches or writings, but a lot seems to have come entirely from the playwright’s imagination.

The audience was once again impressed with the performance, and we again joined in the standing ovation.

After the show, we tried to get a Lyft, but no vehicles were available—same for Uber.  We also tried two taxi companies—one offered a ride with at least a 45-minute wait and the other didn’t even answer their phone. We decided not to wait, but walked home taking Upper Park Road out, because Audrey Stanley Glen Trail is too risky in the dark.  The distance is only slightly longer (3.8 miles instead of 3.7 miles), but the road is quite narrow in places, so it is not a walk we would take when there was a chance of two-way traffic.  We got home a little later than we planned (around midnight), with a little more exercise than we’d planned.

Santa Cruz Antique Faire Sunday Aug 8

On Sunday morning, we walked our son down to the bus station to catch the Highway 17 Express bus to the Capitol Corridor train to Berkeley (he has enough Amtrak reward points to redeem that Amtrak is cheaper than BART, and the walk home for him from the Amtrak station is about the same as from BART).

After his bus left, my wife and I went to the Antique Faire downtown—the first in over a year (last one was March 2020).  My wife noticed that a couple of vendors were missing, but the fair was almost the usual number of vendors.  My wife did not buy anything, but I got a couple more Hawaiian shirts (I’m retired now—I have to dress the part!).

After browsing the fair, we had lunch outdoors at Cafe Campesino—our first time eating there.  My wife liked her gordita (cactus and green sauce), but I had mixed feelings about the mole plate.  The sauce worked well with the corn tortillas, but not so well with just the chicken—I was not able to include the tortillas in every bite.  Next time I eat there, I think I’ll try the tinga plate instead.

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