Screen Play 

Shaking it up at Town Hall

5/20-6/20

Very often, the good art imitates life. Consider the popular Lafayette Town Hall Theatre Company (3535 School Street at Moraga Road, Lafayette), founded in 1944, which has won close to forty Shellie Awards for "outstanding achievement in the performing arts in the Central Contra Costa/Diablo Valley region." But just because the Town Hall is the oldest continuously active theater in Contra Costa County doesn't mean it can't shake things up. According to theater manager Lori Erokan, the company was planning to do the usual cabaret-type showcase typically run at the end the season, until a last-minute change in director persuaded the company to ditch the familiar in favor of a Rock Hudson-meets-Doris Day kind of fabulous. "I wanted to do something unique and different and use the collaborative talents of many members of the musical theatre community," says Bay Area writer and director Kevin Morales. "I built the framework, and between inspirations, ad-libs, and the creative talents of the cast and crew, we really have something special." That "something special" is Let's Go to the Movies, an original musical farce -- running through June 20 -- that centers on the creative process of Darin Snyder, an ambitious director and playwright brought in to help a small community theater company make the leap to the big time. (The show's title, slightly unusual for a theater production, is drawn from the nearly forty toe-tapping tunes from classic Hollywood films shuffled into a semiautobiographical plot.) In the midst of Darin's efforts to create a musical phenomenon in only a few weeks, personal agendas collide, romance bubbles, and pressure mounts. Will Darin lose his job, his friendships, his integrity, his sanity? To find out, see Let's Go to the Movies, Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 and 7 p.m. General admission is $20 Thursdays and Sundays, $23 Fridays and $25 Saturdays; Tickets for seniors and youth (18 and under) are $18 Thursdays and Sundays, $21 Fridays, $23 Saturdays. Info: 925-283-1557 or THTC.org -- Joy White

5/22-5/23

Talk to Us

Gather Round

Gladys Coggswell was inspired by her Missouri grandmother's stories. Tim Tingle from Canyon Lake, Texas, tells tales of the Choctaw Nation. Michael Parent relates the New England Franco-American experience in English and French. Milbre Burch explores the dark side of folk legends. Clara Yen spices her folk and fairy stories with Mandarin phrases. Tim Ereneta does a solo performance of Grimm's fairy tales. Vicki Juditz riffs on the urban milieu of Los Angeles. Enjoy these spoken word artists and more at this weekend's Bay Area Storytelling Festival Saturday and Sunday at the open-air theater at Kennedy Grove Regional Recreation Area in El Sobrante. For more information, visit BayAreaStorytelling.org or call 510-869-4946. -- Kelly Vance

THU 5/20

Mary-Kate and ... ?!

Poet Alix Olson is equally adroit at the personal, the political, and the downright hysterical. Case in point: Olson's "Armpit Hair." "Well, I hear that the Senate is planning a convention/to pass an amendment/On body hair prevention. I'm planning on attending/I'll be sitting in the front row/I'll have chains on my pits screaming/'Hell no, it won't go!'/I'm like Inspector Gadget, when I unfurl my curls/I lasso all the bad guys, then I rope in all the girls." Olson appears with Pamela Means at the Oakland Box (1928 Telegraph Ave.) at 7 p.m., right before the Oakland Poetry Slam. $10, 510-451-1932. -- Stefanie Kalem

SAT 5/22

Laugh Jobbers

Mystery theaters are big these days. The wacky performers of Delta City Improv know this well, and so they've devised Improvised Mystery Theatre , in which Deltoids Kenn Adams and Kimberly MacLean take audience suggestions and make up a whodunit on the spot. Then the audience has to solve the mystery. Delta's motto: "No Scripts, No Second Chances, No Two Shows Are Ever the Same!" Delta has also planned ahead enough to answer its most FAQ with the title of the show, This Is Our Day Job! Catch the unpredictability at 8 p.m. Saturday at Cue Productions Live!, 1835 Colfax St., Concord. Tix: $10 at 510-384-8848. -- Kelly Vance

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