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A shameless plug for the Mad Hot Mambo, and Booth concludes its run

by Mark Burger

The 12 th annual RiverRun International Film Festival is in full swing, with screenings and special events galore, and your favorite, awardwinning alternative weekly (the one you’re reading right now) is again a part of it.

The Mad Hot Mambo, a celebration of the festival and the festival’s salute this year to the history of Mexican Cinema, will be rockin’ and rollin’ this Saturday at the Millennium Center (101 W. 5 th St., Winston- Salem). Presented by Stella Artois (the official beer of this year’s RiverRun festival) and YES! Weekly, the party promises to be mad and hot — but in good ways.

So if you happen to be in downtown Winston-Salem, perhaps after a RiverRun film (the screening of Werner Herzog’s My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done at the Stevens Center gets out just beforehand), drop by and enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. The party begins at 9 p.m. Admission is $8. For a complete schedule of RiverRun events, visit the official website: www.riverrunfilm.com.

 

These are busy days indeed at the UNC School of the Arts. While the School of Filmmaking hosts RiverRun, the School of Drama is presenting Austin Pendleton’s theatrical drama Booth, as performed by the Studio IV students (the senior class), which will run through Saturday in the Catawba Theatre, located in Performance Place on the UNC School of the Arts campus (1533. S. Main St., Winston-Salem).

A combination of historical fact and theatrical speculation, the show focuses on the life of Junius Booth (played here by Alex Hoeffler), one of the great Shakespearean actors of his time. Determined to be the acting pioneer to bring Shakespeare across the ocean to the United States, he left England in 1821 and established himself once again. During this time, he also fathered several illegitimate children with his mistress — among them sons Edwin and John Wilkes Booth, the latter of whom would of course earn his place in historical notoriety as the assassin of President Abraham Lincoln in 1865 (in a theater, no less).

Junius’ career was eventually compromised by alcoholism and emotional instability, the story dramatizes the mounting conflict that is developing between Junius and son Edwin (played by Brandon Harris), whose career is skyrocketing — to the point where he could well overtake the legacy of his own father. Edwin has developed his own ideas about the act of acting, some of which clash with those of his father’s.

Ultimately, history would bear out Edwin’s greatness, as he became the architect of American stage acting, moving from a formalist style to a more naturalist style.

Although perhaps best known as an actor (his many film and TV credits include What’s Up, Doc?, Catch-22, The Front Page, Simon, the Oscar-winning A Beautiful Mind and Otto Preminger’s infamous Skidoo), Pendleton has extensive experience as a teacher, playwright and director, having earned a Tony nomination for directing the 1981 revival of Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes. In addition to Booth, his other plays Uncle Bob and Orson’s Shadow have been presented off-Broadway. Pendleton currently teaches acting at the HB Studio and directing at the New School in Greenwich Village.

This production is being directed by Gerald Freedman, dean of the School of Drama and a long-time friend of Pendleton’s, having met him when Freedman was assistant director to Jerome Robbins for the black comedy Oh Dad, Poor Dad… at the Phoenix Theatre in New York City more than 45 years ago. Pendleton is scheduled to visit the school this week and attend a performance of the production.

Showtimes are 8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $12, $10 for students and senior citizens. Reservations are suggested. For more information, call 336.721.1945 or see www. uncsa.edu/performances.

wanna go?

BOOTH — 8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday — 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday.

Tickets are $12, $10 for students and senior citizens. Reservations are suggested. For more information, call 336.721.1945 or see www.uncsa.edu/performances

RIVERRUN For a complete schedule of RiverRun events, visit the official website: www.riverrunfilm.com.

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