A culturally provocative misunderstanding occurred over the weekend during a preview performance of Josh Chamber's "re-envisioned" Tartuffe, opening on Saturday at Theatre @ Boston Court. I'd arranged for a group of university students from Cal State, where I teach a world theater course, to attend the previews. I wasn't there for the Sunday matinee performance during which three of my students left during Act 1. The theater is a monument to graciousness and hospitality, and a theater rep ever so gently mentioned the disruption to me in an email. The students didn't leave during intermission, but during the performance itself - in a theater that holds only 100 people.
When the class met yesterday, I read them the riot act about etiquette in the theater. After class, a embarrassed man waited until everybody else had left the room before confiding that he was one of three who had left. They were trio of exchange students from Saudi, Arabia
The student explained that the exit was not a demonstration of boredom or any intended disrespect. Evidently, there is some brief nudity in the production; he said that for him to sit through such an exhibition puts him in conflict with the tenets of his faith. "I respect the actors" he said. "They are excellent and so is the production . . . But I also respect my religion."
If you give a moment's thought to the themes of Tartuffe, you might see ironies doubling back on themselves.
Ghost Road Theater Company presents a workshop production of its Orestia update that's slated to open officially at [Inside] the Ford this summer. $7. Feb. 20-21, 8 p.m.; Feb. 21-22, 3 p.m. Call (310) 440-7300 or visit http://getty.edu.
JAMES ERIC MEMORIAL
At 2 p.m. on February 28, Greenway Arts Alliance will hold a celebration of the life of its beloved Artist In Residence, James Eric, who died of multiple organ failure after a protracted illness on Christmas Day, 2008, at age 72. Greenway Court Theatre, 544 N. Fairfax Ave. http://greenwayartsalliance.org
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ZJU'S DRIVE-BY FEST
Zombie Joe's Underground presents its 8th annual 50-Hour Drive By Theatre Festival - a "hot n' tasty evening of new musicals and plays, written, directed and performed in a speedy 2 days." Feb. 21-23, Sat. & Mon., 8:30 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m. (818) 202-4120.