The 30th Annual Christmas Revels: A Venetian Masque

Monday, November 16, 2015

It is the end of 1620 when a troupe of ragged Commedia Dell'Arte players arrive in Venice. They are fleeing a less-than-successful European tour and are hoping for an upturn in their fortunes. The Doge, Antonio Priuli, is preparing an elaborate festival to celebrate the new year. It is to feature the finest of elegant Renaissance music and courtly masque drama as well as guest performers invited from around the Mediterranean. There is no place in the Doge's plans for the low comedy of the players.

Relying on their wit and ingenuity, the Commedians manage to infiltrate the festivities, and before long the Most Serene Republic of Venice is reduced to comic chaos.

The show brings together high and low art with vibrant costuming, multiple masks and even a gondola race as audience and performers join together in an uproarious Revels celebration of the turning of the year.

Featured performers include Jeff Raz and Robert Sicular, last seen in the 2013 "Ghosts of Haddon Hall" Christmas Revels; last year's female lead, Tristan Cunningham; newcomer Slater Penney; and Revels regulars Shira Kammen, James Galileo and Brass West.

Performances are December 11-13 and 18-20 at the Scottish Rite Theater, 1547 Lakeside Drive.

Tickets are on sale now. Order at californiarevels.org or call 510/452-9334.

Parking for all 10 performances is available at ALCO Park Garage, 1220 Jackson Street, Oakland, three blocks from the theater, at a flat rate of $5.

About The California Revels: Since 1986, California Revels has brought their unique theatrical, participatory art form to Bay Area audiences. The Revels blends traditional music, dance, ritual and folk plays from many different cultures, presented by a volunteer community chorus of children and adults (some from Rockridge) accompanied by highly talented professional actors, musicians, artists, and directors.