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The Arts
05.19.10

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Phaedra

Second to None

'Pastiche!' re-imagines the filthy gorgeous world of the carnival

By Christina Julian


Coinciding with the start of summer, the Theater Arts Revival (TAR) is stepping onstage to jumpstart Napa Valley's performing arts scene. In collaboration with the Tucker Farm Center and the Napa Valley Mustard Festival, TAR has banded together for the collective mission of bringing theater and arts programs back to the community without busting the bank.

The group was formed by several board members of the former Napa Valley Community Theater company—including Reece Baswell, Judith Thomas and Bonnie Zimmermann—responsible for such sideshow kickers as Planet Vega$, Cabaret Comique and Many Pearls Opry. Never ones to rest on commonplace theater laurels, they've made it their business to shack up on the obscure side of the fence for the company's inaugural show Pastiche!, a musical comedy of the absurd. "The show is a joint fundraiser for Tucker and TAR," explains Zimmermann, who is also the executive producer. "Monies raised will be used for subsequent productions and community theatrical projects."

This show promises to offer a glimpse into all things good and evil in the wacky world of carnies. The Carnival Pastiche is a small time second-rate freak show that's seen better days. A fake Hungarian countess, who may have spawned the "cougar" craze back in the day, sits at the helm of this posse of misfits and miscreants comprising sideshow attractions, singers, dancers, Gypsies, dreamers and even an Elvis impersonator. When Pastiche's glossier, alter-ego competitor, Pablo Fanque's Faire, accidentally burns down (foul play anyone?), the more accomplished Fanque players threaten to replace Pastiche for good.

"The show is loosely based on characters from the John Lennon song 'Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite,'" Zimmermann says, "which was written about a real carnival and its performers from the turn of the century." Be prepare to be razzle-dazzled as you sing your way through loosely recognizable Broadway show tunes done differently than you've ever seen in these parts.

Pastiche! runs Friday–Sunday, May 28–30, at the Tucker Farm Center, 1201 Tucker Road (just past Bothe Napa State Park), Calistoga. Friday–Saturday at 8pm; Sunday at 3pm. A silent auction precedes the May 29 performance. $10–$15. 707.965.2538.


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