Sunday, October 27, 2013

WHAT IS THE CAUSE OF THUNDER beowulf alley oct 2013


Lucille Petty plays Ophelia, Ada's daughter.

There is genuine talent onstage at Beowulf Alley Theatre. The satirical comedy, "What Is the Cause of Thunder?" by Noah Haidle, has had successful productions in other cities.

But this particular Tucson production doesn't quite make it. There are some extenuating circumstances involved, to be sure.

 Hearing the actors is often a problem at Beowulf Alley because the theater itself contains a lot of echo. Big voices work much better here than normal conversational voices.

  Susan Arnold plays Ada, a soap opera actress

But speaking in a loud voice which sounds natural and effortless isn't easy. More rehearsal time would have helped, too.

At last night's opening performance, the many roles played by Lucille Petty -- and the inability of Susan Arnold's character to tell the difference between real life and her fantasy life -- often made all the characters feel blurred.

There are no other actors in the cast. Leslie Miller is directing.

At times it was difficult to keep track of all the twists and turns Haidle has written into his story of Ada's (Arnold) battle with mental illness. Or maybe it isn't mental illness. Maybe it is a projection of dreams continually frustrated by reality.

Petty plays Ophelia, the daughter of Ada, and several other women who have an impact on Ada's unsatisfied life. As well as those on the TV stage set who complicate Ada's make-believe life.

Ada is the perennial soap opera actor who can never get into "real" acting. After 27 years in the daytime version of show business, her career stalled out quite some time ago.

Ophelia wants to be supportive, but she has plenty problems of her own – including a twin sister trapped in an off-again, on-again coma for six years. But that may be two of the characters she plays on the soap opera…I think.

That title comes from a line in "King Lear," and is also the name of the soap opera on which Ada has toiled so loyally for so long.

"What Is The Cause Of Thunder?" continues through Oct. 20 with performances at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2:30 p.m. Sundays, at Beowulf Alley Theatre, 11 S. Sixth Ave. Tickets are $23 general admission, $10 students with ID. For tickets and reservations, 520-882-0555 or

Saturday, October 26, 2013

RUSH movie oct 2013

James Hunt and Niki Lauda love their red Formula One race cars.

Although that title "Rush" doesn't tell us much, it refers directly to the adrenaline rush that fueled the drivers of Formula One cars racing through Europe's twisting road courses in the 1970s – before the annual fatality rate of Formula One drivers finally forced them to face their own suicidal death wish.

Actually, it wasn't a death wish so much as it was a fantasy of invincibility in a world of millionaires willing to spend vast sums of money to build race cars that kept getting lighter and faster. Since ordinary safety equipment adds weight without contributing to speed, it wasn't very high on any car owner's list of requirements.

As for the Formula One drivers themselves, few pursuits in Europe had more cachet. The grounds of Formula Two and Three race tracks were full of bravado and guys willing to risk a fatal crash to win a race.

Two of them were English playboy James Hunt and Austrian gear head Niki Lauda. Both came from extremely wealthy families. Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) was the daredevil with lightning reflexes. Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) was the auto analyst who could squeeze more performance from any machine.

Taken together, their fabled duels for dominance in the mid-1970s personified the classic clash in all of art between impassioned intuition and fabled technique.

Howard's most brilliant film yet captures this magnificent conflict in ultra high definition cinematography on giant screens with beefed  up theater sound systems able to reproduce the chest-pumping roar of those unrestricted engines.

Yes, race fans, the track scenes of actual racing feel absolutely authentic. And there are lots of them. Eschew the special digital effects and artificially pumped up engine screams. Part of the film's mythology is that several days were reserved for getting in the cars, with cameras mounted all around, and going racing.

The film roughly spans 1975-76 when Hunt and Lauda were rising fast through the Formula One ranks as Howard hones his edge to this high octane duel of RPMs at the redline.

What's best is the quality of off-track acting as Hemsworth and Bruhl deepen the driven personalities of these two competitors.  

Hunt's easy charm and world class bank account are only the surface of a man determined to show he is worth something more.

Lauda is equally brutal with recognizing his own lack of social skills as he is sizing up an inferior race car. But Lauda also knows he has some genius qualities in setting up and driving these cars. What he lacks in charisma he is determined to make up in racing success.

The stage is set, and history has already recorded the result.  If you know who won this competition, keep it to yourself. Screen writer Peter Morgan ("The Queen," "Frost/Nixon," "The Last King of Scotland) does an excellent job putting in enough racing terminology to keep the most unaware audience member up on the importance of this competition.

In the pantheon of sports movies, "Rush" easily secures its place among the front-runners.


Friday, October 25, 2013

WHEN COMEDY WENT TO SCHOOL loft documentary oct 2013

Sure, this lovable doc could include more jokes. Blame the early days of black-and-white television for my love of vaudeville humor.

But the heartfelt documentary "When Comedy Went To School," now playing at the Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd., can still fluff up a lot of fondness for those standup comedians who plied their trade in upstate New York's Catskill mountain resorts after World War II.

We learn Grossinger's, for example, was originally a forgotten farmhouse with a lot of rooms, purchased during the early 1900s by Asher Selig Grossinger, who offered guests a kosher kitchen.

And talk about an odd couple, Buddy Hackett and Lenny Bruce were once Catskill busboys who roomed together.

Jewish American culture sank deep roots into such mountain hotel giants as Grossinger's, the Flagler, the Concord and the Pines. Colonies of rental cabins added their own unique flavor of camping out under the trees.

But even though the established places put a lot of emphasis on their endless food service and energetic social directors, we are here to celebrate the comedians, especially the Jewish ones.

Before Woody Allen and Jerry Seinfeld there was Sid Caesar and that noisy kid Jerry Lewis. Mort Sahl was there, too, followed after a time by Joan Rivers and Rodney Dangerfield.

These performers and lots more are represented in this 70-minute film. But they aren't telling jokes so much as they are talking about the atmosphere and attitudes of "working in the Catskills" where established comedians could safely experiment with new routines before taking them out in public – and the young guys could learn from the masters.

For anyone who has any connection at all to that scene, the manners and the jokes, "When Comedy Went To School" is like thumbing through the high school yearbook, laughing at the clothes as well as the humor while still feeling the comfort of sharing old times again.



"+1" loft movie oct 2013

"+1" MULTIPLIES THE ODDSEven frightened teens have metaphorical lives in "+1".

The oddly titled "+1" is sort of a "Ground Hog Day" for teens combined with a touch of aliens invading from beyond. Lovers of philosophical metaphor, however, can have some deeper fun with this off-kilter pic now playing at the Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd.

There is the repetition of daily life in every high school, the daily skirmishes between the cool ones who constantly need to prove themselves, and the uncool ones who can't stop striving to prove they are good at something…anything.

And most fascinating of all, in every one of these hallway conflicts, is the wish of all teens that they could go back and start over, skip that blood-curdling awkward moment, that tongue-tied response to the one person who's been the object of their every fancy since forever.

What kid hasn't dreamed of a parallel universe where it was just the other people who got caught doing dumb stuff?

Actually, to tell you the truth, every student who wants to be a filmmaker one day should see "+1." There are the germs of so many terrific ideas planted here like germs cultivating in a petri dish, this movie deserves a special award for idea germination.

 Rhys Wakefield from Australia plays David, the cute boy everything happens to. Logan Miller is Teddy, the somewhat dufus sidekick of David. Natalie Hall is the hot girl with no name and Jill (Ashley Hinshaw) is David's bitchy girlfriend.

A little more metaphor arrives in the setting, a wild party full of strangers in a strange house where anything can happen (as well as a couple of curious product mentions for Home Depot).

You remember how, when you party with people who don't know you, it is easier to show off a little more, flirt a little more, maybe do other things…. And invariably stumble into a room where you shouldn't be.

All sorts of things like that happen, as the idea of what every 15-year-old guy thinks goes on at college fraternity parties, is portrayed in full excess.

So OK, then we get to the sci-fi "Ground Hog Day" part which is, admittedly, somewhat confusing. Our four central characters establish themselves then begin to notice there is a certain repetition going on, like they are caught in a time loop.

They also notice, after awhile, that this party contains another person who looks exactly like each one of them. Is it a parallel party in a parallel world?

But interestingly, these doubles don't have the same memory bank of new experiences as their "originals." So the originals can share information which the doubles don't know because it hasn't happened to them yet.

This becomes a key ingredient as the story evolves, but don't worry too much about it. Making sense is not the objective here.

Anything that gets you in more of a party mood would be appropriate, though, before buying that ticket and settling down in the theater.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

SISTER ACT bwy in tucson oct 2013


These nuns get the church rockin' to the Seventies in "Sister Act."

If you loved the movie starring Whoopi Goldberg, or just love the idea of poking some gentle fun at Catholic nuns who still haunt your memory, you will love the "Sister Act" production Broadway in Tucson has brought to Centennial Hall at the University of Arizona.

Full of energetic performers and vibrant stage sets, this show has the feel of a genuine New York production. The church where much of the second act action takes place wins kudos for its towering Madonna figure and faux stained glass window treatments.

All the original songs have echoes of the "Philadelphia Freedom" era, with pumped up disco, jumpsuits and bell bottoms…and a mirror ball, for those who remember the Seventies. My personal favorite touch was Monsignor O'Hara (Richard Pruitt) speaking from the pulpit with a sexy Barry White voice.

Ta'Rea Campbell has the Goldberg role of Deloris, singing in a Supremes-type trio on Christmas Eve in Philadelphia, with her show business career as big a dream as getting a nice gift from Santa Claus.

Campbell has a strong voice and packs a lot spunky sass into her role. She isn't a comic performer so much as she is an enthusiastic one, which is plenty good enough.

At times she is nearly upstaged by Hollis Resnik as the staunchly conservative Mother Superior. Resnik with her older, more mature presence gives her musical moments a more resonant touch that just feels deeper than the others.

The story, of course, sets up Delores as a gangster's moll who accidentally witnesses a murder. For her own protection, Delores is sent by police to hide in local convent.  

The reserved personalities of all the sisters in their drab black robes get a good shaking up when Delores starts to roll. As she turns the staid chorus into a joyful celebration of life, everybody feels lots better.

All the secondary cast members pitch in on their numbers to keep the energy building. A trio of gangsters sings like the Bee Gees, several of the nuns have engaging turns as they come to life under Delores' influence.

"Sister Act" is a feel-good musical for all the family, flaunting its innocence about life and making you love it. Performances continue evenings at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 6:30 p.m. Sunday, matinees are 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday, at Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd., on the University of Arizona campus.

Tickets are $29-$75 through Broadway in Tucson. Details and reservations,, or in person at the Centennial Hall box office.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Tucson Meet Yourself, 2nd Saturday, Pride & Much More!



From: Downtown Tucson Partnership [] On Behalf Of Downtown Tucson Partnership
Sent: Thursday, October 10, 2013 1:31 PM
Subject: Tucson Meet Yourself, 2nd Saturday, Pride & Much More!



What's Up Downtown
A few selections of upcoming events are below,

find out more about everything happening here.

Friday, October 11th
40th Annual Tucson Meet Yourself at El Presidio Park

Disney on Ice at Tucson Convention Center
Art 21 on the Plaza at MoCA
Tucson Gay Freedom Day Parade near St. Augustine Cathedral

Yo Gotti at Rialto Theatre

An Evening of Pink Floyd at Fox Tucson Theatre
La Cerca, Sleep Like Trees at Club Congress

Saturday, October 12th
Tucson Meet Yourself at El Presidio Park
2nd Saturdays Downtown at Scott Avenue Stage

"How to Kill a Marvin Gaye Song" David Sayre Artist Talk at MoCA
Seeing the Santa Ritas at The Drawing Studio
Evening of Play at Children's Museum Tucson
The Bike-tography Show at Borderlands Brewery

Disney on Ice at Tucson Convention Center
Monothon 2013 at The Drawing Studio
World Blues with Taj Mahal at Fox Tucson Theatre
Steve Earle at Rialto Theatre

Pure Bathing Culture at Solar Culture
Art in Thunder Canyon at Thunder Canyon Brewery Downtown
Tucson PRIDE After Party at Club Congress

Sunday, October 13th
25th Annual AIDSWALK Tucson at Jacome Plaza

Tucson Meet Yourself at El Presidio Park
Procession of Little Angels Costume Workshop at Maker House
Jimmie Van Zant at Rialto Theatre

All Souls Lantern and Mask Making Workshop at Steinfeld Warehouse
Trash to Treasure: Plastic Bags with Adam Bucholz at Maker House

See a full list of Downtown events here.

Downtown parking is plentiful with more than 15,000 spaces.

Event Street Closures

Even with many of the great events this weekend requiring street closures, Downtown remains incredibly accessible. Other than Stone Avenue for an hour or so on Friday evening (from around 6 to 7 p.m.), access into Downtown Tucson is available via Stone Avenue from the north, 22nd Street and Sixth Avenue from the south, St. Mary's Road from the west and Sixth Street and Broadway from the east.

Tucson Meet Yourself – Beginning Thursday at 6 p.m. until Sunday at midnight, Church Avenue from Alameda Street to Congress Street will be closed to all vehicular traffic to accommodate exhibits and heavy pedestrian traffic attending the Tucson Meet Yourself event. Festival hours are Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 11a.m. to 6 p.m.

Tucson MY street closure

Tucson Gay Freedom Day Parade – Beginning Friday at 6 p.m. Stone Avenue will be closed between Ochoa and Alameda Streets. Alameda Street will also be closed from Stone Avenue through Main Avenue. These streets are expected to be open by 7 p.m.

Tucson Gay Freedom Parade
2nd Saturdays – Beginning at noon Saturday until midnight, Scott Avenue between Broadway and Congress Street will be closed for 2nd Saturdays activities. 

2nd Saturday Oct 2013 Closures

AIDSWALK Tucson – In conjunction with Tucson Meet Yourself, the 25th annual AIDSWALK Tucson will take place beginning Sunday at 8 a.m. at the Joel Valdez Main Library/Jacome Plaza. The walk will take place on the west side of Downtown and will not have any street closures associated with the event.

Streetcar Construction Update


The first streetcar has arrived and is undergoing testing along the route. Click here for a full list of projected testing times and activities. During this week, the traveling public may see Sun Link streetcar 101 on the rails for daytime and nighttime testing. Typically the streetcar occupies the same travel lane as vehicles, except for specific 'switch' locations. During testing, please be aware that police officers may be present, streetcar personnel may be walking with the streetcar to monitor tests, motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists are moving in a new transit environment, and new directional signs and pavement markings are in place.

During the week of October 7 through October 11, 2013, eastbound Toole Avenue, between 5th Avenue and Congress Street, will be closed. Traffic will be detoured to southbound 5th Avenue. Access to businesses and parking will be maintained. The contractor will continue with utility adjustments through October 11, 2013, along Broadway, Congress Street and Granada Avenue. Motorists should prepare for lane restrictions in the area of work. At least one travel lane will be maintained at all times.
The contractor is continuing with adjustments of the overhead contact wire in the downtown area. Motorists should expect temporary lane restrictions in the area. Officers will be on site to direct traffic during this work.
The contractor will continue installing sidewalks, curbs and access ramps in the downtown area. Traffic may be shifted to accommodate work in the area. Temporary turn restrictions at intersections may be in place during these activities.


This information is provided by the Tucson Modern Streetcar weekly newsletter, also found online at Schedules are subject to change due to weather conditions and/or equipment failure.

The Downtown Tucson Partnership is a public-private partnership formed to keep our Downtown safe and clean; promote and market Downtown; advocate for Downtown; and provide economic development support for Downtown businesses and businesses that would like to come Downtown.

Visit for news, events & street closures.

If your downtown event is not listed on the calendar, please click here to submit it.

BLUE CAPRICE loft movie oct 2013

Isaiah Washington (L) and Tequan Richmond play the cold-blooded serial killers.

"Blue Caprice" is the description of the car John Allen Muhammed (Isaiah Washington) and 17-year-old Lee Malvo (Tequan Richmond) prepared and used for the Washington DC-area attacks committed by the Beltway Sniper.

"Blue Caprice," now playing at the Loft Cinema, 3233 E. speedway Blvd., is also the film precisely directed by first time French director Alexandre Moors, based in New York City, using a very deliberate script by R.F.I.Porto.

Lifting this true-crime narrative to the level of a meditation on the nature of pure evil, Moors and Porto vigorously avoid any hint of melodrama.

Sometimes that pace seems more relentless than it feels inspiring, but after 93-minutes one feels oneself in the presence of truth.

No, we aren't any closer to understanding what creates pure evil, that's what makes this film so powerful. Anybody on any street could be the next killer spilling for no reason whatsoever.

Tucson has been so poignantly touched by this random terror. Evidence points to Muhammed and Malvo having claimed one their earliest victims in Tucson, as well, but that incident is not included in the film.

Instead, Moors spends more than half his screen time developing the father and son relationship between these two, first in sunny Antigua, then in rainy Tacoma.

Both males felt isolated from society and success, having no place to turn for relief from their anger. In desperation they discover the joy of firing firearms when they meet a friend of Muhammed with small artillery of hand guns and high powered rifles in his basement.

Malvo also discovers his natural talent for marksmanship as Moors develops Malvo's need to continue pleasing Muhammed. But even after making Muhammed the burning center of this three-week rampage around the nation's capitol, a kind of free-floating need for revenge is his only motivation.

If the traumatic case of the Beltway Sniper has always held your fascination, "Blue Caprice" will suit you perfectly.

Sunday, October 6, 2013


                       --photo by Tim Fuller--
A spot of tea and a lot of deception between Algernon (Matt Leisy), left, and Jack (Loren Dunn) make for both laughs and insight in "The Importance of Being Earnest." .

Was the pretense of propriety during Victorian times in England any more artificial than the pretense in America today that there is no more racism?

It is a matter worth considering, and there would be no better time than while watching the Arizona Theatre Company's lively production of "The Importance of Being Earnest."

No less a wily commentator on contemporary cultural matters than Oscar Wilde provides the puncturing of homophobic England's upper crust superiority in 1895 when he wrote this modern classic.

ATC's own Stephen Wrentmore, who grew up in London, directs this production with the stated aim of making Wilde's observations relevant to right now.

Wilde's own flamboyant lifestyle stretched "acceptable behavior" beyond the breaking point, sending him to prison for two years on charges of being homosexual and, in the experience, effectively destroying his life. In real time Wilde lived out his love/hate relationship with Victorian fashions both moral and material.

Deceit is at the "light-hearted" center of this comedy of manners which Wilde described as treating serious things with triviality and trivial things with the utmost importance.

Tall and stately Jack Worthing (Loren Dunn) lives the responsible life of a landowner in pastoral Hertfordshire and is also guardian to 18-year-old Cecily Cardew (Heather Marie Cox).

But Jack also has a secret life as Ernest the scandalous pleasure seeker in London. Frequently Jack excuses himself from his straight life in the country to return to London where he must rescue his "brother" Ernest, who is always in trouble.

Of course, while Jack is in London he is living the extreme life he attributes to Ernest. In fact, he is Ernest.

Jack the Victorian stuffed-shirt is also in love with city girl Gwendolen Fairfax (Anneliese van der Pol), the cousin of his best friend Algernon Moncrieff (Matt Leisy).

But the thing is, cosmopolitan Algernon in London is best friends with playboy Ernest. Algernon doesn't know about Jack the proper property owner who lives in Hertsfordshire.

But that's not so bad because Algernon has created his own double life pretending he must get away to the country now and then to look after an invalid friend named Bunbury. There is no real Bunbury. That is only Algernon's excuse to escape any unpleasant appointments that come up in the city.

Wrentmore nicely accommodates this comparison to modern times by giving Algernon a fey manner which contrasts nicely with the more dashing Ernest/Jack.

The twist gets an added turn when Jack discovers Gwendolyn is convinced the name Ernest describes manly men of tremendous confidence. An echo of this fascination is tossed into Algernon's relationship with Cecily, who also finds the name Ernest appealing.

The interest is compounded when both Algernon and Jack decide to get their names officially changed to Ernest.  Oh my…

And we still have elaborate comedy scenes to enjoy with Cecily's mother Lady Bracknell (Allyce Beasley), Rev. Chasuble (Mike Lawler) and Miss Prism (Jodie Lynne McClintock). Scenes that contain the most biting sarcasm of Lady Bracknell's classism and hypocrisy.

The casting is remarkably even, with each actor contributing the appropriate demeanor and accent.

Sound in the theater was a problem, however, as much of the dialogue got lost in the seats toward the back of the theater under the balcony. Everything seemed rather muffled there.

Which made the formal set designs and detailed costumes by Yoon Bae more welcomed in sorting through these witty misadventures which Oscar Wilde constructed to frame his observations of trivial importance in Victorian times as well as those important trivialities.

"The Importance of Being Earnest" continues through Oct. 5 at the Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave., with performances at various times Tuesdays through Sundays. Tickets are $36-$77. For details and reservations, 622-2823, and

Friday, October 4, 2013

THE LETTERS invisible theatre sept 2013

Anna (Lori Hunt) keeps up her guard talking to The Director (Roberto Guajardo) in "The Letters"

The most fascinating aspect of Invisible Theatre's production of "The Letters," directed by Susan Claassen, is how two actors – Roberto Guajardo and Lori Hunt – can create such electrical tension on stage using only their words and their body language.

Without question, "The Letters" is the first must-see event of the new season. It is powerful the way sheer drama is powerful, drawing truth from taut conflicts between willful personalities.

Instead of threatening weaponry, massive explosives hooked up to a ticking timer, agitated suicide bombers or other such special effects, there is a desk and two chairs.

And talent…there is a lot of talent. Guajardo is The Director and we are in his office, with his title painted on the door. Hunt is simply called Anna, a subordinate. She seems to be a featureless cog in the bureaucratic Soviet machine of some equally faceless Russian city in 1931.

It doesn't take a historian to know the communist party officials of that time kept tightening their hold on the country. Execution was an unspoken threat hovering over every conversation. Each day brought a new struggle against unknown enemies.

Yet, even in these conditions people still had to live, still had families to care for, still needed to find compelling reasons to keep going. No one was really far enough up the political ladder to feel absolutely safe.

The Director had to stay ahead of others competing for his job. Anna may have had an inferior position, but she wasn't about to cave in.

All of this combative backstory is efficiently set up in the opening conversations between the two. Anna has been called into The Director's office, but isn't sure why. She looks for hidden agendas in The Director's every word.

The Director, determined to defend himself from any threat in any direction, needs to find out everything he can from Anna without revealing any more than he must.

It is the shading of nuance as Guarjardo and Hunt tap dance around this Russian bear of uncaring menace that gives the performance its breath-squeezing grip.

Nothing quite like it has been seen on a Tucson stage in many years. In the real world, with a new revelation coming out every day that our own government has been secretly spying on all of us for years, "The Letters" is a reminder that absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Performances continue through Sept. 22, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays-Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays (additional matinee 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept, 21) at Invisible Theatre, 1400 N. First Ave.

Tickets are $28 general admission, discounts available. For details and reservations, 520-882-9721, or visit  

PATIENCE STONE loft film sept 2013

Golshifteh Farahani confesses all to her comatose husband.

Symbolism runs deep in the modern Afghan film, "The Patience Stone," directed and co-written by Atiq Rahimi, who also wrote the successful novel on which it is based. The performance of Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani is one of the most startling you will ever see.

Though her emotions are largely internalized, we can feel every shiver of helplessness and hopelessness in her deep, dark eyes and tightened jaw.

The film's setting is a desolate and shattered dirt road village, presumably in Afghanistan though it is never identified. War's ravages have taken their toll, with bombed out buildings and only a few villagers scuttling about in the background whenever Farahani (she is only called "the woman") runs between her threadbare apartment and her aunt's better furnished home down the street.

Her aunt, we learn later, runs a charming brothel which takes pride in keeping all the soldiers content.

"Men who don't make love, make war," is the aunt's cynical motto.

But what Rahimi and French co-writer Jean-Claude Carrière really have in mind is dramatizing the injustice, particularly against women, that fills Islamist fundamentalism. Foolish pride takes a beating, too.

At the very literal heart of the film is Farahani's dilemma. A mother with two small children, she has been deserted by her family and her husband's family. Her husband lies paralyzed and comatose on a pallet, unable to move or speak.

But his injury wasn't from the war, though he was once a fierce soldier. During the calm between battles, he got in a bar fight because someone insulted his dignity. A bullet went into his neck. Now he is helpless.

But Farahani feels it is her responsibility to care for him, even though we learn that he has always been cruel to her.

The story is the wife's own mental struggle in isolation as she begins talking to her husband about daily subjects, but soon finds her talking gathers momentum as she describes her personal struggles at his uncaring hands.

Flashbacks to her arranged marriage (when he wasn't even present, he was off fighting somewhere), and other customs that seem so arbitrary to our minds, fill in the details of a harsh life for women in this culture.

The resolution of her bleak circumstances is also handled symbolically, though in an artistically satisfying way.

In real life, Farahani is an Iranian exile with a history of running afoul of the Islamic Republic through her art. She fled the country in 2008 and has since settled in Paris. Her film career includes a sizeable role in the Ridley Scott thriller, also about Middle East terrorists, "Body of Lies."

Director and writer Rahimi fled his native Afghanistan years earlier, during the Russian occupation.

In Persian, with subtitles.

MISTAKE OF THE GODDESS rogue play sept 2013


From left, Devadatta (Ryan Parker Knox), Padmini (Marissa Garcia) and Kapila (Matt Bowdren).

--all photos by Tim Fuller--

If you like to believe in the magic of life and the mythology of love, absolutely see The Rogue Theatre's production of "Mistake of the Goddess (Hayavadana)" adapted from an 11th century collection of Sanskrit tales by the modern playwright Girish Karnad. It is said this is one of India's most celebrated modern plays.
              David Greenwood as Hayavadana

Metaphor reins as the poets of those times so many centuries ago sought ways to portray the complicated psychology of the human heart. Or is it the human head? And what about the human body with its passionate demands for food and love?

Such mysteries confound understanding as defiantly today as they did a thousand years ago in the equally mystical land we know as India. From time to time gentle recognition of this very timelessness bubbles from the contemporary humor that springs out of the script so naturally.

A love triangle is at the center of this philosophical adventure, but a love triangle of a different sort. Thomas Mann based his 1940 novella "The Transported Heads" on this same story. He felt the head must rule the body.

 In Karnad's hands, we learn Devadatta (Ryan Parker Knox) and Kapila (Matt Bowdren) have been best pals forever. Devadatta is the smart, sensitive one. Kapila is the bold and athletic one. Taken together, these qualities create one remarkable man.

Patty Gallagher (front) and David Morden team  up to portray the goddess Kali.

So, in a way it isn't unusual that both of them should fall in love with the same woman, Padmini (Marissa Garcia), who couldn't be happier.

Complications ensue when Padmini marries Devadatta (after all, a somewhat predictable man with prospects for a successful future is a much better bet than the spontaneous guy who is really sexy) which crushes Kapila's spirit.

But Padmini can't really give up Kapila. Anguished, Devadatta goes to the temple of Kali and cuts off his own head. Distraught, Kapila goes to the temple and cuts off his own head.

Now Padmini is the anguished one. Enter the goddess Kali (Patty Gallagher) an animated spirit who brings both men back to life. But alas, the heads get mixed up in the process so Devadatta the intellectual returns with Kapila's head, and Kapila the stunning athlete now has Devadatta's head.

There is a subtle implication that Padmini does this on purpose because she wants to enjoy the intelligence of Devadatta as well as the vigorous strength of Kapila.

All of this happens before intermission, setting up the question both men have about exactly which one is Padmini's legal husband.

A wise man in the region pronounces the head to be the dominant part of the body, Devadatta with the strong body of Kapila returns home with a very joyful Padmini.

These re-arranged heads and bodies of Devadatta and Kapila are clearly presented using formal face masks covering all but the actor's mouths and jaws. The masks are exchanged to represent the dueling personalities – for as the second act progresses, they do become rivals.

There is considerable humor in this mismatch of body parts, as well. Clever staging, colorful costume design and westernized forms of Indian music played by a quartet onstage, led by Paul Amiel, enrich the story's atmosphere.

This folk art exploration of identity is framed by another story in which Hayavadana (David Greenwood), a name translated as "the one with the horse's head," begins the play as a man with a horse's head. His mother, it seems, was on intimate terms with a handsome stallion.

Heyavadana is very unhappy about this. At the end of the story of Devadatta and Kapila, we see the gods have stepped into Hayavadana's life as well, again deciding that the head determines all.

"Mistake of the Goddess (Hayavadana)" continues through Sept. 29 at The Rogue Theatre, 300 E. University Blvd., with performances at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, plus a Saturday matinee Sept. 28.

Tickets are S32. For details and reservations, 520-551-2053, or visit