Thursday, December 17, 1998
When the lights come up on the Unicorn Theater''s small stage on Hoffman Street in New Monterey, Robert Colter is sitting hunched over at his writing desk, a scowl on his Scroogy face--the same position the lights found him in last year, and the year before, all the way back to December 1989, the first year he played the title role in the company''s annual production of Charles Dickens'' A Christmas Carol.
Although he''s played the part more than 150 times, his performance this last weekend seemed entirely fresh. He frowns, he grumbles, he starts in fright at the procession of ghosts in his bedroom, he gambols like a small boy when his heart is turned to gold on Christmas Day--How the heck does he do it, 10 years in a row?
Well, the part helps. "He''s an interesting guy to play," Colter says. "Scrooge goes on an emotional roller coaster ride and comes out the other end. You get the chance to do this incredible range of emotions--not too many roles can give you that."
The rest of the cast has changed over time, but Colter remains. "It''s coming home to something familiar each year," he muses. "But there''s always something new, because you bring the past year''s life experience with you. You use it all--if your love life has gone to hell, you use that. When I look at some of the early videos of the show, I shudder. It worked at the time, and people enjoyed it. But I hope to God it''s getting better."
So how has Colter''s personal life been this past year? "There have been some incredibly joyous times, and it''s been a year of pain," he says. "All of it helps as far as the show is concerned. After 30 years as an actor, you get to the point where your emotions are always available to you. They''re right there on your sleeve. It''s easier to ''get there,'' but it hurts--you''re raw, open."
Although he''s been doing the part for a decade, folks rarely recognize him on the street. The prosthesis he wears on stage to lengthen his nose grotesquely is probably to blame--or thank, he adds. How long can he keep on doing the part? "Until I don''t need makeup," he quips. But seriously, he says, "It would be nice if this is my swan song, to let it go this year and let someone else do it."
Maybe next year, he''d like to put together a one-man show of A Christmas Carol, playing all the parts himself. "There''s probably more of Scrooge in me than at the beginning," he says. That''s not surprising. cw
A Christmas Carol Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8pm; Sunday at 3pm and 7pm. Drama. Unicorn Theater takes on Scrooge and all the ghosts of Christmas in this classic Dickens tale of meanness redeemed. This is Robert Colter''s 10th year as Scrooge, and he is a pleasure to watch as he takes the old sourpuss through a roller coaster emotional ride. Children in particular will enjoy this ensemble production. Hoffman Street Playhouse, Hoffman Street at Lighthouse Avenue, Monterey. 649-0259. $15/general; $8/children; $12/seniors. Through: 12/23.
Goin'' Hollywood Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8pm; Sunday, 2pm. Musical. In a salute to the Golden Age of Hollywood, director Jerry DeBono has penned this tribute to some of the greatest stars of...well, that golden age. Local actors impersonate film greats such as Mae West, Abbott and Costello, Marilyn Monroe, the Marx Brothers, Gerta Garbo, Carmen Miranda, Lauren Bacall, Laurel and Hardy and many more, in song and comic vignettes. A large cast includes Michael Jacobs, Layne Littlefield, Michele Savage, Kerry Hartjen, Rob Foster and Connie Erickson. The show is guaranteed to bring you chuckles and a toe-tapping good time. Main Stage, Monterey Peninsula College, 980 Fremont St., Monterey. 646-4213. $15/general; $7/children; $11/seniors. Through: 12/20.
La Virgen Del Tepeyac Thursday, Friday and Saturday 8pm; Sunday 4pm and 8pm. Pageant. The historic San Juan Bautista Mission explodes in an extravaganza of music, dance and theater every other Christmas in Luis Valdez''s adaptation of the beloved Mexican story of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Working from a 17th-century text, Valdez''s spectacle reenacts the day in 1531 when the Virgin Mary allegedly appeared to the Indian Juan Diego, and told him to command the Bishop of Mexico to build her a church on Tepeyac Hill, the site of indigenous Indian worship for centuries before the arrival of the Conquistadores. The play is performed and sung entirely in Spanish and Aztec, with librettos for English-speaking audience members. It''s a family affair, with staging, music direction, costumes and lighting by Valdez family members. San Juan Bautista Mission basilica, Second and Mariposa streets, San Juan Bautista. 623-2444. $17/general; $8/children; $14/seniors. Through: 12/20.
Little Angels Rest and Angels in Flight Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8pm; Sunday at 2:30pm. Drama. The Staff Players Repertory Company joins Children''s Experimental Theater in their 10th annual holiday production, two plays written by founder and artistic director Marcia Gambrell Hovick. The stage is set in the dark underside of Victorian England, a world of desperately poor children combing the streets for food and shelter, whose misery is alleviated by a vision of hope and wonder. Magical dolls, time travel and a cast of SPRC regulars bring Hovick''s plays to life. Recommended for all ages. Indoor Forest Theater, Mountain View and Santa Rita streets, Carmel. 624-1531. $12/general; $9/children; $9/seniors. Through: 12/20.
Annual Olio Revue Friday and Saturday, 8pm. Musical Revue. The First Theater''s Troupers of the Gold Coast celebrate the holiday season with their annual olio revue, an evening of their favorite, silliest vaudeville-style sketches and comic songs from the turn-of-the century to today. One locally written number by Dee Olivetti updates the lyrics from a well-known olio routine to fit Peninsula cities. Audiences will "laugh a lot," the First Theater folks promise. Come on down with the whole family to boo the villains and cheer the maidens in California''s oldest continually running theater. California''s First Theater, Scott and Pacific streets, Monterey. 375-4916. $10/general; $5/children; $8/seniors. Through: 1/31.
Student Film Thursday, 9-11am and 5-7pm; and Saturday, 1-4pm. B&W 16mm film. New Visions Productions seeks actors for a CSUMB student film, to be submitted to film festivals and shown in local schools. Needed are 1 tall man, age 20-40, a shorter mother and father, a girlfriend age 15-25 (all either Latino or Mediterranean in appearance), a policeman and many extras. No pay. Meals and possible gas allowance. Auditions today (12/17) at CSUMB, Teledramatic Arts and Technology Institute, Bldg. 27 (off 6th Street). Call CSUMB for directions (582-3330). For more info on auditions call Claudia Avina at 883-9168.
Gray''s Art Gallery "Accent on Angels." Group exhibit. $1 admission for reception. 1104 Broadway Ave., Suite K, Seaside. 899-1069. Reception: 12/19, 4pm. Through: 1/3/99.
Karthia Studio "Open House/Holiday Sale." Fine art, jewelry and paintings by Elizabeth Houghton and Michel Tsouris. 8071A Moss Landing Rd., Moss Landing. 633-3622, 626-6818. Reception: 12/20, 12pm. Through: 12/20.
Lay Studio "Lay." Original paintings and sculptures by Linda Lay that "explore personal experiences through spirited and unusual self portraits." Open house/tea party: 12/19-20, 9am-4pm. 821 Smith Rd., Watsonville. 763-2000. Through: 12/20.
Ansel Adams Gallery "Ansel Adams: Retrospective Exhibition." "This retrospective exhibition aims to show the diversity as well as evolution in style" that made Adams an important photographer. The Inn at Spanish Bay, 2700 17 Mile Dr., Pebble Beach. 375-7215. Through: 1/31/99.
Back Porch Fabrics "Wearable Art." Garments made by members of the Monterey Bay Chapter of the American Sewing Guild. 157 Grand Ave., Pacific Grove. 375-4453. Through: 1/14/99.
Buena Vista Branch Library "Guiding With Courage: Personal Heroes." Photographs by Kira Carillo Corser illustrate essays by MoCo children about their personal heroes. 1852 Lara Dr., Salinas. 459-9699. Through: 12/31.
Carmel Art Association "Happiness Is:" Works by local professional artists. Dolores Street, between 5th and 6th avenues, Carmel. 624-6176. Through: 1/7/99.
Carmel Valley Manor "Museum Posters." Posters from the collection of Jules Trattner. 8545 Carmel Valley Road, Carmel Valley. 626-4711. Through: 12/31.
Grove Homescapes "Du Temps Perdu." Hand-colored black-and-white photographs of Paris by Meredith Mullins. 472 Lighthouse Ave., Pacific Grove. 647-1719. Through: 1/31/99.
Henry Miller Library "Winter Art Show." The sixth annual "Winter Art Show" features the works of more than 40 Big Sur artists. Highway 1, Big Sur. 667-2574. Through: 1/31/99.
Monterey College of Law An exhibit of photography and printmaking by Lesley Anne Spowart. 404 W. Franklin St, Monterey. 373-3301. Through: 12/30.
Monterey Marriott An auction of fine art (including prints, etchings and paintings by old and modern masters) benefits the Children''s Miracle Network. 350 Calle Principal, Monterey. (800) 521-9654.
Monterey Museum of Art "Winterfest: A Multicultural Celebration." Works that "focus on the artistry of a Victoran Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and Pueblo Indian and Mexican celebrations." Demonstrations of holiday rituals are presented 12/19, 1-3:30pm. Also, "Artists'' Miniatures 1998," works by more than 100 local artists. On 1/4, works will be raffled off to art lovers who buy $3 tickets "Storybook Illustrations," works by Laura Regan. 599 Pacific St., Monterey. 372-5477. Through: 1/3/99.
Monterey Museum of Art--La Mirada "Face to Face: The Paintings of Mabel Alvarez." 720 Via Mirada, Monterey. 372-3689, 372-5477. Through: 3/7/99.
Monterey Peninsula Airport "Altered States: Transforming the Spirit of Castoff Materials." Works by local artists who have created unusual works from everyday objects. Also, "Angels of Tradition," Santa Catalina Lower School students present their version of Monterey''s Christmas angels. 200 Fred Kane Dr., Monterey. 624-7910. Through: 3/31/99.
Monterey Regional Waste District Office "Recycled Art Festival." Award-winning projects made from recycled materials, ranging from sculpture to art pieces by Michael Duffy, Steve Gaily, Dick Iverson, Ed Leiper, Paola Berthoin, and others. 14201 Del Monte Blvd., Marina. 384-5313. Through: 12/20.
Morgans'' Coffee & Tea "Endangered Species." Color portrait photography by Pomyol Arce of the Sahara Desert nomads. 498 Washington St., Monterey.
Mudzimu Gallery Sculptures by Gedion Nyanhongo, from Zimbabwe. 6th Avenue, between Lincoln and Dolores streets, Carmel. 626-2946. Through: 12/20.
National Steinbeck Center "El Arte De Mexico: Tres Aspectos de Tradicion." Paintings by Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros and Jose Clemente Orozco related to The Virgin of Guadalupe. 1 Main St., Salinas. 753-6411. Through: 1/10/99.
Nico Restaurant Oil paintings by Gabriel Murray whose paintings "convey striking images of post-modern society." San Carlos Street, between Ocean and 7th avenues, Carmel. 659-5159. Through: 12/21.
Pacific Grove Art Center Works by Julie Smith''s art students; paintings by Manel Santana; ceramics by Dianna Holubec; jewelry by Ling Yen-Jones; "Christmas Stocking Event." 568 Lighthouse Ave., Pacific Grove. 375-2208. Through: 1/8/99.
Searle Art Supplies Paintings by students of Robynn Smith''s MPC class; holiday ceramics from MPC''s Mud People. 639 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey. 373-0126. Through: 12/31.
Seaside City Hall Works by Alison Cloran, Betty Rees and the Carmel Crafts Guild. 440 Harcourt Ave., Seaside. 899-6270. Through: 12/31.
Shallcross Gallery "Works on Paper." A variety of works on paper by California artists Carolyn Berry, Mira Kamada, Antonella Brughera, Gloria Shaw and Marjorie Faris. Visitors enter to win a lithograph by Mira Kamada. 499 Calle Principal, Monterey. 655-0642. Through: 12/30.
Spa on the Plaza "Big Sur Florals." Watercolors by Big Sur artist Helen Jerene Morton. 201 Alvarado St., Monterey. 647-9000. Through: 2/1/99.
Venture Gallery "Holiday Miniature Show." Miniature works in many media by local artists. 260 Alvarado Mall, at the Doubletree Hotel, Monterey. 372-6279. Through: 1/4/99.
Weston Gallery "Devotion." New works by local artist Jeffrey Becom. Lincoln Street and 6th Avenue, Carmel. 624-4453. Through: 12/23.
White Oak Grill "Day''s End." Color photography of sunset images by David J. Gubernick. 19 E. Carmel Valley Road, Carmel Valley. 659-7632. Through: 12/31.
A Woman''s Wellspring Rhythmic and boldly colored acrylic paintings by Danielle Dufayet. 575 Calle Principal, Monterey. 649-2320. Through: 1/30/99.