30 Plays in 60 Seconds
Short Attention Span Theatre
7:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 12
Live Theatre Workshop 5317 E. Speedway Blvd.
ETCETERA—the late-night branch of the Live Theatre Workshop—is unveiling the Short Attention Span Theatre, a show that is to theater what concentrate is to orange juice. In just 60 minutes, the audience will see 30 original plays: and no two shows will be the same.
"The shows are gonna be numbered 1 through 30, and then picked out randomly by audience members. So it's gonna be in a different order each night," said Keyanna Khatiblou, project director, collaborating writer and SAST performer. And new material will be added to each subsequent performance.
Based on a show by the Neo-Futurists ensemble called Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, SAST was crafted at the University of Arizona in 2011, and has been revived for a second go.
According to Khatiblou, the show was born from a combination of improvisational sketches and writing exercises at the UA, giving the show a naturally fluid structure.
SAST touches on comedy, drama, monologues and "as many different types of theater as we could fit into one performance," Khatiblou said. Expect sketch comedy, satire on popular culture and current events, fiction, nonfiction, spoken word, abstract works, and movement-based theater.
The ultimate purpose of SAST is to challenge what can be accomplished in two minutes in the theatrical world. The question at hand is: Can you fit 30 bits of high-quality theater into 60 short minutes? To find out, get down to the Live Theatre Workshop. Tickets are $10 at the door.—I.G.
If You Dare for a Scare ...
Haunted Magic Show in 'The Room'
7 and 10 p.m. every Thursday in October, including Halloween
Hotel Congress311 E. Congress St.
In 1934, Hotel Congress was ravaged by a fire that burned through the third floor. Yet, somehow one room remained unscathed—room 328.
For nearly 80 years, no guests have been allowed to use that room ... until now. Every Thursday evening in October, the month where the realms between living and the dead are blurred, Hotel Congress will open the room to the public for a presentation of The Haunted Magic Show in The Room.
"I used to work at (Hotel) Congress years ago and had always felt a connection to that room," says Kenneth Stewart, one of the pair of magicians who make up The Brothers Macabre. Along with illusionist Dr. Jonathon Arcane, the Brothers Macabre will be hosting the spook-filled night in The Room.
"When someone passes on, they don't just flicker out entirely. People emit energies. It can be a feeling, or an echo of something that has occurred." says Stewart. "We are just trying to channel the energies of the room itself."
And the energies left in The Room maybe dark ones.
It is believed that the infamous 1930s bank robber John Dillinger used this room before he was arrested in a Tucson neighborhood shortly after the fire.
The performers will draw upon auras they say were left by Dillinger to reenact an interrogation of him that's focused on his many crimes.
That's only a taste of the spooks that will be conjured by Stewart and his fellow necromancers. The 90-minute-long act blends the scare factor with alluring entertainment and is punctuated by audience interaction and an intermission with champagne and hors d'oeuvres.
"It's a performance piece down the rabbit hole, a haunted, inspired show," says Stewart. Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the door.
Postcards from Paradise
Polynesian Paradise Dancers
3 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 13
Red Barn Theater948 N. Main Ave.
In 1959, the Hawaiian Islands were granted statehood and island fever exploded on the mainland.
Thanks to enticing images of exotic beaches—and tiki bars and hula dancers—the Hawaiian vacation became most Americans' dream. But for many, the Great Recession and the slow economic recovery has crushed that dream.
"In this economy, not everyone can afford a Hawaiian vacation anymore," says Akemi Welsh, director and dancer for the Polynesian Paradise Dancers. "We are trying to bring Hawaii to those who might not get that chance."
The international touring company, made up of traditional Hawaiian hula dancers, is bringing its exotic and interactive performance to the Red Barn Theater.
"We are doing the dances that were popular during the 1960s and re-creating the timeless Hawaiian experience," says Welsh.
Audience members are welcomed onto an imaginary Pan Am flight that will whisk them directly to a Hawaiian beach.
"They are taken to a luau; the whole auditorium feels like they are in a tiki bar," says Welsh.
The performance is designed to be an educational experience as well.
"Our mission is to conserve our island culture," says Welsh. "All of the dances tell a story. Nowadays it's mostly used for entertainment. However it was originally used as an educational tool."
Welsh says the dances teach valuable lessons.
The Paradise dancers aim to preserve such teaching and pass them on through their performance. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for children younger than 12.
Sit Down, Shut Up, Be Happy
Happiness Lecture Series
6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 16
Fox Theatre 17 W. Congress St.
What we have here is professional advice on how to be happy, and it's cheaper than a shrink. The University of Arizona College of Social and Behavioral Sciences kicks off its Happiness Lecture Series on Wednesday with "Pursuing and Finding Happiness," by Celestino Fernández. The lecture will focus on modern society and the social factors that influence happiness in the world today. Fernández seeks answers to the question "Are we happier today than, say, 100 years ago?" He will also look into the roles that factors such as education, income, age, religiosity, marital status and location play in influencing our happiness.
The goal of the series is to create "a lecture series on a subject that was important to people's everyday lives," said Lori Harwood, director of external relations for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. "It just seems like lately there's been a lot of popularity on the subject of happiness. It feels (like) there's a lot of people interested in leading happier lives. We have people (speaking) that can approach it from sociology, to ancient philosophy's perspective on it."
Fernández's lecture is the first of five in the series. In upcoming months, topics will include "Compassion Training as a Path to Genuine Happiness" by Charles Raison, "How Our Surroundings Influence Happiness and Health" by Esther Sternberg, "The Evolutionary Links Between Exercise and Happiness," by David Raichlen and "Happiness—A Feeling or a Future?" by Daniel C. Russell. All of the lectures are free, but tickets are on a first-come-first-served basis. Check the website for more info.