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ART Matters

August 30, 2001|By RANDY CARSON, Imperial County Arts Council

Several years ago local theater groups were hard-pressed to drum up a cast, especially if actors for younger roles were being sought. The community theater scene here was most definitely in a slump.

Today, following the implementation of the Imperial County Community Cultural Plan, things have changed for the better. The plan, which advocated active instruction and acting opportunities for youth, promoted a sense of networking among the directors, primary actors and producers from the three main community theater groups at the time.

Meanwhile, at least four new community theater groups have sprung forth and productions abound.

Be prepared for an active play-going season as the Mostly Theatre Company, the North County Players, the Street Level players, Theatre on the Edge and the Imperial Valley College Players all move toward production.

Call 337-1777 for details on what is being produced and how you, too, can get involved, buy advance tickets or be placed on one our mailing lists.

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Especially exciting is the advance word from James Patterson, drama professor at IVC, on the direction of his latest effort, a classic Latin comedy by Terence.

How, you ask, can a work written in a dead language by a centuries-dead author be especially exciting? The magic is in the process.

Patterson's students will start with a simple, straight-forward translation of the text, one that admittedly reads a bit dull, and they will then tweak the text to reflect the language and situations that a modern audience can appreciate. As the text develops, the actors will also be discovering Terence's gift for slapstick, puns, biting wit and hilarious action, producing an enjoyably modern version of a timeless classic.

Terence wrote some of the original situation comedies and it is heartening to know that these students from our current sitcom television generation will be learning about the roots of theater from the inside out.

Musically, it's time again for another concert at the Old Post Office Pavilion, 230 S. 5th St., in El Centro. This Saturday will feature the alternative sounds of Twenty-One, a new band with a fresh new sound, and all of its members are fine musicians. The concert begins at 7 p.m.

After a long, hot day of dove-hunting, come and cool off as our summer concert series continues at the OPOP.

Looking ahead to the afternoon of Sept. 8, the El Centro Public Library's summer comedy film festival will continue with "Mr. Hulot's Holiday," the classic French comedy starring Jacques Tati. This wildly funny satire of middle-class vacationers on a summer holiday has been a favorite of film buffs worldwide since its debut in 1953.

There is no language barrier here and no need to speak French, or even to endure subtitles. The hilarious blend of colorful characters, sparse dialogue, impeccably timed sight gags and an innovative soundtrack combine to make this one of the best films of all time. It's a classic so timeless that it is funny no matter what language the audience speaks.

Enjoy Mr. Hulot and his exploits on a large-screen television inside the Magee Room at 3 p.m. This event is free and you can find out more by calling 337-4565.

Finally, we at the OPOP would like to welcome the Toastmasters to our building. The group, newly resurrected and beginning to flourish again, meets weekly at noon Tuesdays in the main hall of the OPOP. Drop by if you'd like to learn more about public speaking or about how to become a member of this club.

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