Since George Bernard Shaw is one of the playwriting greats - and the only person ever awarded both a Nobel Prize for Literature and an Oscar - you have to assume that his cocktail conversation would either veer toward fascinating or insufferable. Since we have no way of knowing for sure (he's been dead awhile, making a chat over brandy unlikely), check out Candida instead, getting the Cal Shakes treatment this month.
Believe it or not, Shakespeare was writing about real people - and people haven’t changed that much in the last five-hundred years. We still love, we still lose, we still act like unrelenting jerks, we still wonder who we are, we still get back up after falling and do it all over again.
If you were a virginal young woman more willing to use your brain than your boobs to get ahead in the world, how would you feel if you came home from Cambridge to discover that your mother is a notorious madame and the luxury of your childhood was bought via the virtual enslavement of women not so different from yourself?
After my 14-year-old self was scarred by The Red Pony, I could never work up suitable enthusiasm for John Steinbeck. But local playwright Octavio Solis's beautifully-wrought adaption of The Pastures of Heaven has me convinced Steinbeck is as crucial to the American literary canon as everyone claims. (As is Solis to the theater, but that I already knew.)
Warm, deftly poetic, and funny even in tragedy, The Pastures of Heaven follows the lives of farmers and teachers and dreamers as they search for contentment in Steinbeck's lush Salinas Valley. It's the perfect show for Cal Shakes, with rolling hills behind the outdoor ampitheater and stars rising as the evening darkens.