Donald’s list: Weekend choices (Sept. 29)

Here’s a roundup of promising cultural/arts picks for the weekend:

‘The Tempest’

Think you’ve already seen “The Tempest”? Probably not with an all-women cast. An enthusiastic band of actresses take on the challenge of Shakespeare’s island-adventure comedy in a production that opens Friday, Sept. 29, at the Fresno Soap Co.

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An all-women “Tempest”: Bridget Paul (Ferdinand), Casey Ballard (Prospero), and Paige Tucker (Miranda). Photo / provided

The performers bring to life all the characters in the play: men, women and all those famous other-worldly characters. (Plus, there’s one inanimate object making a debut: Stephano’s companion, Trinculo, is a hand-puppet.)

The cast includes Bridget Paul (Ferdinand), Casey Ballard (Prospero), Paige Tucker (Miranda), Patricia Fretwell (Alonso), Sara Smith (Antonio), Kayla Weber (Caliban), Tania Haigounian (Stephano with Trinculo) and Kathie Mollica (Gonzalo).


To remind you of the plot:

The play is set on a remote island, where the sorcerer Prospero, rightful Duke of Milan, plots to restore his daughter Miranda to her rightful place using illusion and skillful manipulation. He conjures up a storm, the eponymous tempest, to cause his usurping brother Antonio and the complicit King Alonso of Naples to believe they are shipwrecked and marooned on the island.

Renee Newlove, a veteran of Woodward Shakespeare Festival, directs.

Details: “The Tempest,” opens 8 pm. Friday, Sept. 29, Fresno Soap Co., 1470 N. Van Ness Ave., Fresno. Runs through Oct. 15. Tickets: $15 at door, $12 online, $10 students and teachers with I.D.

Jolente De Maeyer and Nikolaas Kende

Chamber music: Pianist Nikolaas Kende and violinist Jolente De Maeyer. Photo / Keyboard Concerts

Keyboard Concerts

While the Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concerts series at Fresno State usually focuses on solo pianists, it also presents several “special events” concert a season. You’ll have the chance this weekend to hear a chamber music event featuring violinist Jolente De Maeyer and pianist Nikolaas Kende.

“This exceptional duo from Belgium is rapidly gaining recognition on the international chamber music scene,” says Andreas Werz, artistic director of the series.

De Maeyer and Kende are winners of several European competitions. From the Keyboard press release:

Nikolaas Kende, a “sensitive musician, poetic, visionary, gifted with flawless technique, always in service of the music” (La Libre Belgique), and Jolente De Maeyer, “completely spellbinding not just in technical matters but in stylistic sensibility and musical characterisation as well” (Gramophone Magazine), are lauded for their “hand in glove” precision and sensitive dialogue.

The concert is co-sponsored with the Bonner Family Foundation. The artists are completing a three-day-residency at Fresno State during which they will be coaching string and piano students.

Details: 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 1, Fresno State Concert Hall. Tickets: $25, $18 seniors, $5 students.

Visalia Players


If you’re in the mood for a small-scale, cabaret-type show, consider the new Visalia Players show “Sidekicks and Scoundrels.” It’s written and directed by Kimberley and Nicole McAvoy. Here’s the pitch:

Come enjoy the songs of the buddies we love, and the villains we love to hate as we celebrate the unsung heroes of the stage, shifting the spotlight from the leading ladies and main men to those in the wings waiting for their 15 minutes of fame.

Details: Opens 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29, Ice House Theatre, 410 E. Race Ave., Visalia. Runs through Oct. 8. Tickets: $13.

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Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

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