The Absurdist Noël 

Music in the columbarium

MON 6/21

It has become an annual tradition of the nontraditional. This Monday evening from 5 to 8 p.m., New Music Bay Area and Oakland's Chapel of the Chimes usher in the summer solstice with a truly extraordinary Walk-Through Concert. Unexpectedly positioned throughout Julia Morgan's gothic marvel of a mausoleum, visitors will happen upon a good thirty performances of acoustic and electronic music, including installations and interactive events. The acoustics are to die for. One might expect as much from a columbarium. Less anticipated is the life that flourishes everywhere. Indoor gardens, fountains, stained-glass skylights, and reflective pools abound in this maze, where fresh sounds will soon encircle the remains of those who have passed over. Artists include such well-known composers as Paul Dresher, Maggi Payne, Ellen Fullman, Dean Santomieri, and John Bischoff. In addition, the event features the William Winant Percussion Group, the Natto Quartet, the Cornelius Cardew Choir, the Lines Ensemble, and the Mills College Didgeridoo Ensemble. Pianist Sarah Cahill, koto player Miya Masaoka, and percussionist Gino Robair join other musicians playing viola da gamba, glass trombone, whistle, musical saw, and violin. Chapel of the Chimes is at 4499 Piedmont Ave., next to Mountain View Cemetery. The unique event with its low $10 admission draws over 1,000. No reservations. 415-563-6355, ext. 3, or www.gardenofmemory.com -- Jason Victor Serinus

MON 6/21

Lil' Shakes

Home yer ham at Mills

Got a drama queen (or king) in the house? Give your kids the tools they need to properly prepare their ham at the Cal Shakes Summer Theater LAB. Starting this Monday, thespians age ten to eighteen can spend the summer on Oakland's Mills College campus, learning acting, Shakespeare, improvisation, stage combat, classical performance, movement, voice, dialects, and playwriting, all taught by seasoned and respected performers and instructors. There will be special acting workshops with Cal Shakes associate artists Ron Campbell and Andy Murray, and the six-week intensive program culminates in student-produced, professionally directed Shakespeare plays. There's also a two-week performance project, wherein students age thirteen-eighteen will work with theater professionals to create a Shakespearean work, receiving training in character development, stage movement, and creative exploration. $500 for the two-week course, $1,400 for the six-week intensive. Visit CalShakes.org/02/v2/learn/theaterlab.html for more info. -- Stefanie Kalem

6/18-7/7

Cinderelly, Cinderelly

Have you heard the one about Cinderella and Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater? Well, it's not really fit for print, nor is it what the Pinole Community Players had in mind when they decided to stage Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella . Tammara Planers directs the musical at the Pinole Community Playhouse, 601 Tennet Ave., playing Friday and Saturdays at 8 p.m. -- with selected 2 p.m. Sunday matinees -- through July 17. $12-$15. 510-724-3669 or PinolePlayers.org -- Stefanie Kalem

6/16-6/20

A Russian fantasy at Cal

A puppet, a talking car, flying scenery, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and an emotional Christmas Eve are just a few of the highlights of Forbidden Christmas or the Doctor and the Patient, a new work written, designed, and directed by Georgian artist Rezo Gabriadze. The absurdist drama/fantastic allegory is, at its heart, a classic tale of betrayal, wherein a soldier returns from war to find his beloved newly wed to his best friend. Forbidden Christmas has its West Coast premiere this Wednesday at Zellerbach Playhouse, playing through Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets are $65 from 510-642-9988 or CalPerfs.berkeley.edu -- Stefanie Kalem

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