Boxtales Theatre Company is unique in a number of ways. First, they perform only original works based on mythology and folk stories. Second, their physical approach combines mime, acrobatics, juggling, dance, Brazilian capoeira, and live music. Next are the masks and puppetry, strange and wonderful artifacts constructed especially for the troupe. Finally, their pared-down approach balances the spectacle of theater with the intimacy of storytelling. Although based in Santa Barbara, Boxtales is in fact a touring professional company, serving surrounding cities, the Bay Area and even Olympia, Washington.
In celebration of their 20th anniversary, Boxtales will return to the Lobero Theatre to stage four newly upgraded shows from their repertory this weekend: Prince Rama and the Monkey King, The Odyssey, Leyendas De Duende: Magical Tales from Latin America, and B’Rer Rabbit and Other Trickster Tales. I recently caught up with Andrews, and company principals Matthew Tavianini and Marie Ponce to discuss the big milestone.
Larry Rachleff seems to be the go-to man for whipping an orchestra into shape in short order. Patrons of the Music Academy of the West eagerly anticipate the Academy Festival Orchestra performances that, year after year, hit a high note while only a few short paces away from the Festival starting block. This year Maestro Rachleff, long-time director of the Rhode Island Philharmonic and director of Rice University’s Shepherd School orchestras, did double-duty with Academy Festival Orchestra performances capping both weeks one and two. On the first night of summer an orchestral subset played the newly renovated Lobero Theatre in a program of Richard Strauss for brass, and early symphonies by Prokofiev and Beethoven. A week later on June 28 at the Granada Theatre, Rachleff stood before full orchestral forces for—more Strauss for brass, and symphonies again by Prokofiev and Beethoven—this time the heroic Nos. 5 for each. Simply put, as one patron called to another on the street afterwards, “Wasn’t THAT energetic?!” Continue reading →