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Wilde doings at UNCSA’s School of Drama and Millennium madness

by Mark Burger

The UNC School of the Arts School of Drama and School of Design & Production will present the Oscar Wilde classic The Importance of Being Earnest, which will open Thursday in Patrons Theatre at Performance Place, located on the UNCSA campus, 1533 S. Main St., Winston-Salem. Perhaps Wilde’s best-known play (and also his last), this satire of Victorian Era hypocrisy is rife with romance, humor and mistaken identities. It has been adapted several times for the large and small screen (including a 2002 version with Rupert Everett and Colin Firth heading an allstar cast) and is constantly revived for the stage. This production, featuring students from the Studio IV (senior class) level, is directed by Gerald Freedman, the dean of the School of Drama, whose list of directorial credits is far too long (and staggering) to list here. One of them is the original New York production of Hair, and he also directed the 1964 and 1980 revivals of West Side Story. The show’s run coincides with the 11 th annual RiverRun International Film Festival, with many films being screened only a few yards away in the School of Filmmaking’s ACE Cinematheque Complex. That should make parking even more fun… so consider leaving a few minutes early, whether it’s to see the show or to see a movie. Hey, if you time it right, you can see a movie before or after the show! The Importance of Being Earnest will run through May 2. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, April 29-30 and May 1-2; and 2 p.m. April 26 and May 2. Tickets are $12 (general admission) and $10 (senior citizens and students). Group rates are also available, and reservations may not be a bad idea given how busy it is at UNCSA these days. For more information, call 336.721.1945 or see www. uncsa.edu/performances (And, by the way, the Studio III production of William Saroyan’s The Time of Your Life is right around the corner!)

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Speaking of the RiverRun International Film Festival — which should just about be kicking into gear as you read this — don’t forget about the amazingly varied selection of films (over 100 this year) and especially the Friday Night Speakeasy at the Millennium Center (101 W. 5 th St., Winston-Salem), beginning at 9 p.m. this

Friday. It’s this year’s Centerpiece Party and, fittingly, it is sponsored by YES! Weekly. (Dozens of people just started marking it down on their calendars now.) There will be music, merriment and plenty of movie talk. The theme of the party, for those who like themes, is the 1930s. Charles Dickens, who didn’t quite make it to the 1930s, once wrote about “the best of times and the worst of times,” and that decade certainly fit the bill. I could make a joke about comparing the economy of the Great Depression with the current economy today, but of course this is a party and such issues are to be swept aside. Revelry, ribaldry and raucousness are the order of the evening. What’s more, many of the filmmakers will be on hand to talk up their films and the festival — and there will be plenty to talk about. In addition, many of your favorite scribes of YES! Weekly will be on hand to lend their inestimable presences to the party — including yours truly. (Dozens of people just started crossing it off their calendars now.) Admission is only $5, or free with three cans of food to be donated to Second Harvest Food Bank. There will be drink specials, giveaways and undoubtedly a surprise or two. A good cause and a good time, what more could anyone ask? Yes, this is what’s known as “shameless self-promotion,” and I’m proud to be a part of it. For further information about the festival events and/or screenings, see www.riverrunfilm.com or call 336.724.1502.

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And, finally, a few words about the unexpected passing last week of legendary sports broadcaster Harry Kalas (1936- 2009). For more than 35 years, and through a number of seasons that might best be classified as “lamentable,” Kalas called ’em like he saw ’em for the Philadelphia Phillies, the professional baseball team that he and I call our own. His familiar, oft-imitated voice was also familiar to viewers of “NFL Today” and in various television commercials — as well as calling play-by-play for Animal Planet’s annual “Puppy Bowl.” (Hey, who better than Harry?) As a Phillies fan, the soothing voice of “Harry the K” (or “HK,” as many of my friends referred to him) lent the perfect accoutrement to the game being played, even if it wasn’t going the Phillies’ way. Enthusiastic and knowledgeable, but not smug, it was quintessential easy listening. He called a game like no one before. Or ever will again. Goodbye, friend Harry.

To comment on this story, e-mail Mark Burger at marksburger@yahoo.com.

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