El Paseo Arts Hosts the Camille Playhouse’s Production of Margaret Edson’s Award-Winning Play, Wit

 “(A) brutally human and beautifully layered new play…you feel both enlightened and, in a strange way, enormously comforted.” (New York Times)

On September 15, 2016, El Paseo Arts Foundation is proud and honored to host a performance of the Camille Playhouse’s powerful production of Wit, by Margaret Edson.  Under the direction of the Camille’s new artistic director, Christopher Ikner, Wit has been described by The New York Times as “the kind of theatrical experience of which legends are made”. This powerfully play examines what makes life worth living through Edson’s exploration of one of existence’s unifying experiences―mortality.  It also probes the vital importance of human relationships.

In Wit, Edson delves into timeless questions with no final answers: How should we live our lives knowing that we will die? Is the way we live our lives and interact with others more important than what we achieve materially, professionally, or intellectually? Can science and art help us conquer death, or our fear of it? What will seem most important to each of us about life as that life comes to an end?

Wit follows Vivian Bearing, a brilliant, demanding, and highly articulate poetry professor, as she undergoes experimental treatment for Stage IV ovarian cancer.  During the course of her illness, Vivian is moved from a position of authority to one of dependency.   As she stoically deals with her treatment, she reassesses her life and work in an emotionally powerful, profound, sometimes humorous, and finally inspiring way that transforms her and each of us.

The play swept nearly every drama award given for an off-Broadway play, including the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play, The Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play, two Drama League awards and the Outer Critics’ Circle Award for Outstanding Play. In 1999, Wit was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.  The 2012 Broadway production was nominated for the Tony Award, Best Revival of a Play, and Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play; and the Mike Nichol’s direction of Emma Thompson in the leading role, won the 2001 Emmy Award for Outstanding Made-for-TV Movie.  It is indeed a riveting play.

Wit is, of course, scary – when is cancer not? Everyone’s life has been touched in some way by this terrible disease and this amazing play treads paths that are hard for us to go down because it brings us face to face with our own mortality.  Yet the central story of Wit is not somber but indeed, as the title suggests, witty. There are many moments when it’s also funny – very funny – which is part of its triumph. We understand the pain and the process so much more clearly through the main character’s witty vision.  Ana-Laura Chavez plays Dr. Vivian Bearing, who serves as both the narrator and central character in the play which is set during the final hours of the life of this distinguished professor of English.

Dr. Bearing recounts her story to the audience through a series of monologues and flashbacks, beginning with the initial diagnosis from her oncologist, Dr. Harvey Kelekian, played by Ricky Garza.  Over the eight-month course of her experimental treatment, Dr.  Bearing comes into contact with one of her former students, now a young research fellow, Dr. Jason Posner, played by William Abete. Dr. Posner has a lot to learn about a lot of things, especially human empathy. At the other end of the spectrum is Vivian’s nurse, Susie Monahan (Jacqueline Garza), who provides Vivian’s only touch with humanity and kindness. We also meet Vivian’s college mentor, Dr. E.M. Ashford (Kathy Raines), and completing the cast is a small ensemble of performers (Caty Wantland, Benjamin Melendez, Alex Robles, Margarita Perez), who play Vivian’s students and various hospital technicians and doctors.

“Every once in a while a play comes along that bonds people together in extraordinary ways. The play “isn’t a tearful lecture on how to die; it’s a dry-eyed lesson on how to live–with simplicity and kindness.”  (The Boston Globe) This stunning piece of theatre is not to be missed.

The evening begins at the SPI Convention Center with a cash bar (only), open at 6:30 p.m.  The theatre opens for seating at 7:00 p.m. and the performance begins at 7:30 p.m.  Tickets for Wit are $30 per person, $25 for El Paseo Arts members.  Tickets are available for purchase at Paragraphs Book Store, the Art Gallery in Port Isabel, PadreRitaGrill, and online at www.elpaseoarts.org.

El Paseo Arts Foundation to Offer Free Acting Workshops

As part of its 12th Season of Performing Arts Events, El Paseo Arts Foundation is offering two, free acting workshops in September and October, 2016.  If you were in a play or two in high school or college and think you might like to do it again; if you are a current student who is interested in theatre; if you have attended plays and think it might be fun to try it, but are a little intimidated at the thought of auditioning; or if you have done some acting and would like to improve your skills, these workshops are a great opportunity for you to learn and/or hone some of the essential skills of stage performance.

Mr. Ray Stewart, who has over 50 years of experience as as a professional actor, director and teacher, is the instructor for the workshops. He has a lot of knowledge and insight to share with people who would like to experience the thrill and joy of theatrical performance. One doesn’t have to be a highly trained actor to be effective on stage. A few essential techniques can be learned and, with a little practice, one can become “stage-worthy”, or able to deliver an affective performance.

Each workshop consists of five sessions, one session per week. Workshop 1 is scheduled on Thursdays:   September 15, 22 and 29, and October 6 and 13, 2016.  Workshop session 2 is scheduled on Mondays: September 26, and October 3, 10, 17 and 24, 2016.  All the workshop sessions will be held at the SPI Community Center, 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.  Both workshops are open to persons 15 and older, and are free to attend.  Participants are requested to commit to attending all five sessions of the workshop for which they register.

Registration is simple.  Visit www.elpaseoarts.org.  On the home page click on Tickets in the menu bar.  Page down and pick the session you would like to attend or just click the buy button on the session you prefer in the Events listing to the right. This will take you to a FREE registration form.  Fill out the form and submit it.  A registration receipt will automatically be e-mailed to you or you can print one out.  Sign-up sheets are also available at the Laguna Madre Art Gallery in PI and Paragraphs Book Store.  Enrollment is limited to 16 persons per Workshop, so be sure to register as soon as possible. 

El Paseo Arts Foundation’s local productions this season will offer plenty of opportunities for aspiring performers to practice their skills.  We hope that you will take advantage of the workshops and then take time to audition for a show.  It’s a mind expanding experience to play a character different from yourself; to walk in someone else’s shoes, so to speak. You can feel and express emotions that are usually unavailable or inexpressible in your daily life. It’s freeing and enriching and it can improve your communication skills and self-expression. The bonus is that it’s Fun! We hope you will join in the games.

(View the complete press release under SEASON in the menu.)

 

The Bold, The Young, and The Murdered

If you are a fan of soap operas or murder mysteries and you enjoy a comedy that makes you laugh out loud, then El Paseo Arts Foundation’s April production of “The Bold, the Young and The Murdered” is a play that you won’t want to miss. The mystery comedy is scheduled for performance on April 23rd, 24th and 25th at the South Padre Island Convention Center.

If you are a fan of soap operas or murder mysteries and you enjoy a comedy that makes you laugh out loud, then El Paseo Arts Foundation’s April production of “The Bold, the Young and The Murdered” is a play that you won’t want to miss. The mystery comedy is scheduled for performance on April 23rd, 24th and 25th at the South Padre Island Convention Center.

Written by Don Zolidis, “The Bold, the Young and the Murdered” is a comedy/mystery that pokes fun at soap operas and the actors on TV soaps. It is also both a murder mystery with an ending that will surprise even the best mystery sleuths and a play within a play as the actors interact with one another on camera and off.Bold young and murdered ad copy

Continue reading “The Bold, The Young, and The Murdered”

“A Touch of Classical”

Get ready for an evening of fabulous classical music, performed by two extraordinary musical talents who are the personification of excellence. Dr. Cynthia Cripps and Dr. Shoko Kinsella are the at the top of their professions individually. However, something magical occurs when these two join forces and the auditory world becomes the personification of classical music in perfect harmony that captivates the soul.

Over the years, the El Paseo Arts Foundation has sponsored a variety of musical concerts and entertainers. We have enjoyed a tenor from Mexico; duets, trios, four-five piece combos, brass, strings, piano and harps. When we decided to once again, enrich our Season 11 with some quality classical music—an event we called, “A Touch of Classical”, we decided to look in our own backyard so to speak. What we found is a treasure trove of musical talent right here in our very own Rio Grande Valley.

Get ready for an evening of fabulous classical music, performed by two extraordinary musical talents who are the personification of excellence. Dr. Cynthia Cripps and Dr. Shoko Kinsella are the at the top of their professions individually. However, something magical occurs when these two join forces and the auditory world becomes the personification of classical music in perfect harmony that captivates the soul. Continue reading ““A Touch of Classical””

Auditions for “The Bold, The Young, and The Murdered”

If you enjoy soap operas, murder mysteries or comedies, auditions for “The Bold, the Young and The Murdered” are perfect for you. March 9 & 10 at Padre Sunset SPI.

If you enjoy soap operas, murder mysteries or comedies, auditions for “The Bold, the Young and The Murdered” are perfect for you. Auditions for the April 23rd – 25th show will be held on Wednesday March 9th and 10th at 6:30 p.m., at the Padre Sunset Club. An afternoon audition will be held on Thursday, March 10th at 2:30 p.m., at the Padre Sunset Club. With a cast of thirteen, five men and eight women, this show has parts for all age groups and personality types. Continue reading “Auditions for “The Bold, The Young, and The Murdered””

“The Tom Franek Show”

Get ready for an evening of fabulous music of all styles, humor, astounding agility as El Paseo proudly presents The Princess Cruise Line top performer, Tom Franek.

image02Get ready for an evening of fabulous music of all styles, humor, astounding agility as El Paseo proudly presents The Princess Cruise Line top performer, Tom Franek.

 

  • “Personality & Talent of a Star.”
  • Minnesota News, 2014

 

Recent Testimonial:

Dale Dodge Mathews Tom–Cannot express in words how much we LOVED your performances aboard the Star Princess. Your talent is beyond incredible. We were so impressed. Standing ovations are rare and you got them at both of the shows we watched. I was the woman that got you a seat next to me at the early show for your friend’s comedy show. I am sure we will be seeing you a lot as you rise to your destined stardom. Hope to see you again.” Continue reading ““The Tom Franek Show””

The El Paseo Arts Foundation pompously presents “The Case of the Malted Falcon”

Get ready for an evening of fatal fun as El Paseo unveils a mystery theater show that spoofs TV chefs, old-time detectives, art lovers, and chocoholics!

Get ready for an evening of fatal fun as El Paseo unveils a mystery theater show that spoofs TV chefs, old-time detectives, art lovers, and chocoholics!

Penned by Tony Schwartz and Marylou Ambrose, the show, Sam Club Private Eye in The Case of the Malted Falcon, takes place at the Gallery of Amazingly Great Art (GAGA) in New York City. Sam Club was hired to guard the priceless chocolate sculpture, The Malted Falcon, during the train ride from Austin, TX to New York City. But on the way, someone hits him over the head and steals the sculpture. Now Sam must find the thief and save the sculpture and his reputation as a private eye. Continue reading “The El Paseo Arts Foundation pompously presents “The Case of the Malted Falcon””

“Driving Miss Daisy” sold out

All tickets for El Paseo Arts’ special presentation of Camille Playhouse’s “Driving Miss Daisy” have been sold, including at the door sales for the night of the event. We apologize for any inconvenience, and hope that ticket-holders will enjoy the show!

All tickets for El Paseo Arts’ special presentation of Camille Playhouse’s “Driving Miss Daisy” have been sold, including at the door sales for the night of the event. We apologize for any inconvenience, and hope that ticket-holders will enjoy the show!

Driving Miss Daisy

Driving Miss Daisy sets the evolving relationship of this odd couple of an elderly white widow and her black chauffeur across 25 years in America and funnels society’s large changes into a personal and poignant story. It is well worth driving over to see Daisy.

El Paseo Arts Foundation Hosts Camille Playhouse’s Production of Driving Miss Daisy

“A heartwarming tale about the manner in which two people of goodwill cross the deep ravines of cultural borders and come to an understanding and respect for each other.” – The New York Times

On Thursday, February 4th, El Paseo Arts Foundation plays host to the Camille Playhouse’s production of Driving Miss Daisy at the South Padre Island Convention Center.

Continue reading “Driving Miss Daisy”