Rutting Around at the Chance

A mega-huge theatrical event takes place during the month of October: The Fullerton Shadows Festival, a month-long theater, music and film festival that will see 120 events at eight venues scattered around the city.

The kick-off to the event happens next Thursday: a screening of Mel Brooks' film Young Frankenstein, on the exterior of the walls of the venerable Fox Fullerton. (An interesting side note: this weekend is the last chance to see the musical version of the film, at the Orange County Performing Arts Center).

But the Fullerton Shadows Festival is a week away, so what's happening now on local stages?

Well, not a whole lot, at least on the storefront theater level.The Hunger Artists, the Maverick Theater and Stages all open new shows Oct. 1, to coincide with the aforementioned Fullerton Shadows. The Monkey Wrench Collective wraps up its latest Clownzilla offering, and Theatre Out concludes its festival of short plays.

Fortunately for those afraid to go one weekend without seeing something new in local theater, the Chance Theater opens one of the weirdest-titled plays in recent memory, Edward Albee's The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? The 2002 play, which won the Tony that year for best play, and earned a Pulitzer Prize nomination, is a typically bizarre tale spun from the frenetic mind of Albee, and deals with lots of juicy sexual peccadiloes,most notably bestiality.

No, really: As the play begins, life seems perfect for our lead character, Martin. As his 50th birthday approaches, he basks in the glow of an apparently happy marriage and awards celebrating his architectural accomplishment. But trouble is never too far away: His 18-year-old son is about to step out of the closet and Martin has been having an affair for six months.

With a goat named Sylvia.

Though the subject matter is uncomfortable, at best, this is actually a very funny comedy. Which sounds weird in the context of Albee, whose wit is usually delivered with a great deal of menace and brutality. But it's all a metaphor for his examination of moral hypocrisy, and this is the first time any OC theater has mounted it.

The show, not a goat.

The Chance's production doesn't boast the star power of the original Broadway cast--duh--which featured Bill Pullman and Mercedes Ruehl. But the four-person cast does include Mike Martin, who earned OC Weekly Best Of honors last year for his rousing turn in Reefer Madness. And the other three actors are probably pretty good, as well.

Did I mention that Martin is fucking a goat? No, not Mike Martin. But the Martin in the play (played by Jonathon Lamer)?

Also opening this weekend is maybe the best musical ever: Damn Yankees, courtesy of One More Productions. Why is it the best musical ever? Because it's about baseball and the devil plays a pretty big role in the proceedings. And Lola is always sexy...

The Goat, or Who is Sylvia, at the Chance Theater, 5552 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim, (714) 777-3033. Opens Fri. Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m. Some Thursdays. Thru Oct. 24.

Damn Yankees at the Gem Theater, 12852 Main St., Garden Grove, (714) 741-9950. Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m. Thru Oct. 24.




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