Sunday, December 2, 2012

No Turning Back Now -- It's December!

So today is 12-02-12. I believe there is a theory of some sort that says the world will end this month. Mayan prediction, 12-21-12, etc... Never mind the fact that the Mayans are long gone and have no reason to have predicted the end of anything a thousand years after they were gone, and if they were going to predict, wouldn't they have chosen to predict (in order to guard against) the end of their own civilization? Okay, never mind. I don't know anything about any of this and I don't watch disaster movies, so I didn't see 2012, either. But in honor of this eschatological theory (gotta love the word eschatological), I am commemorating your What to Do in December post with the poster from the Roland "King of Crackpot Theories" Emmerich movie that pushed the End of Days '12 idea. As far as I know, no one is showing that movie on 12-21 or any other night, so you'll have to find it yourself for your 12-21-12 Eschatology viewing party.

No 2012 on the schedule, but Champaign's Art Theater is showing a 2011 version of  Wuthering Heights directed by Andrea Arnold and shot on location in Yorkshire, England. That's playing now through December 6, and will be followed by the new version of Anna Karenina with a screenplay by Tom Stoppard. Keira Knightley stars as Anna, with Jude Law as her stuffy husband and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as dashing Count Vronsky, the one she can't stay away from, even though it will ruin her life. Watch out for that train, Анна Каренина!

Also in Champaign-Urbana... The Station Theatre continues its production of Lee Blessing's Independence through December 9 -- you can read more about the play here -- while Parkland College welcomes a Bah Humbug production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever from December 14 to 23.

Community Players' White Christmas, the stage musical version of the classic Bing Crosby film, opened last week and continues through December 16th. Deb Smith directs for Community Players, with a cast that includes Ray Rybarczyk and Jason Strunk as the song-and-dance men who fall for a pair of pretty sisters, played here by Lindsey Kaupp and Larisa McCoy. Click here for ticket info for White Christmas and other upcoming Players shows.

The other White Christmas, the Bing and Danny Kaye film one, starts December 7 at the Normal Theater, with showings on the big screen till December 9. After that, the Normal Theater offers holiday favorites National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story and It's a Wonderful Life to finish up 2012.

Illinois State University's Fall Dance Concert is scheduled for December 6 through 8, with three evening performances and one matinee.This concert promises to be a "celebration of movement, costumes, light, and music, featuring new choreographic works by faculty in the School of Theatre and Dance and invited guest artists." And don't forget to bring canned goods or other non-perishable food items to donate to the Redbird Giving Tree.

Ian Mairs' Our David, a play about sparring neighbors who find common ground over a tacky statue of Michelangelo's David, comes to New Route Theatre at the Bloomington YWCA beginning December 7. This David is directed by Bridgette Richards and stars Nathan Bothorff and Carol Scott as Clyde and Velma, who couldn't be more different and yet turn out to be strangely alike.

You also have a choice of the Holiday Spectacular at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts from December 7 to 9 or a variety of Nutcrackers in different cities at different times.

It's Barbara Stanwyck Month (on Wednesdays, anyway) over on Turner Classic Movies, with two of my favorites, The Lady Eve, from director/screenwriter Preston Sturges, and Ball of Fire, a Howard Hawks' gem, on December 12. Both movies came out in 1941, which may just be the best year ever for Hollywood movies. In The Lady Eve, Stanwyck is a con woman who woos a befuddled Henry Fonda, loses him, and then pretends to be another woman who looks just like the first one to pull the same scam on the same guy, while in Ball of Fire, she's a jazzy mob moll version of Snow White hiding out with seven pointy-headed encyclopedia writers (including Gary Cooper) who function as her Seven Dwarfs. It's adorable. It's screwball. It's fabulous.

Heartland Theatre is still accepting entries in its annual 10-minute play contest. This year's theme is The Parcel, the Package or the Present, and each play must include a package of some sort that fuels the play. All of which means that the holidays are a perfect time to come up with a play, what with all those parcels and packages arriving at your door. What's inside that box? Will it be a dream or will it be a dud? Will it go BOOM? You have a maximum of four characters and ten minutes to tell your Parcel/Package/Present tale.

Failure: A Love Story, a new play by Philip Dawkins, will be part of the Illinois Shakespeare Festival next summer. If you want a sneak peek or to set up a compare/contrast situation when it plays here next year, you can see the play now in its premiere production at Chicago's Victory Gardens Theater. Failure finishes up at Victory Gardens on December 30.

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