Weekend Best Bets

Posted: Friday, January 26, 2001

Drummers, dreamers and schemers give us almost more entertainment than we can handle this weekend.

The dreamers and schemers are in the two plays opening Friday night, "Fry Tales" and "The Foreigner." Both shows will be staged plenty of times, so this weekend isn't the only chance to see them. It is the only chance to see SamulNori, the Korean drum group.

Since virtuoso Korean percussionist Kim Duk Soo founded the group in 1978, it has toured all over the world and made 16 recordings. I suspect this show will be a winner. Reviews have been good and this is an unusual opportunity. It's good to grab these chances when they come. I'm not a confirmed aficionado of Korean music, but I rarely regret catching a good live show, especially when the players are top-notch in their fields. It's inspiring.

There are four drummers in the ensemble and the instruments have a broad tonal range. From the reviews I've read, I think the performers will do two sets, the first focusing on music, the second including dance.

SamulNori plays at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Juneau-Douglas High School auditorium. Admission is $18, $14 for students and seniors, $55 for a family pass, and tickets are at Hearthside and Rainy Day books and $2 more at the door.

I noticed on the Web that the presenter in Fairbanks is charging $10 extra for this same concert up there.

There's also going to be a group music lesson with SamulNori, a master class taught by drummer Kim Duk Soo and other virtuoso percussionists, called Ancient Korean drumming techniques. The class is 7 to 8:30 p.m. Monday at the Juneau-Douglas High School dance studio behind the stage in the auditorium. The cost is $15 or $10 for students. Call 586-2787 to register. Bring your own drum.

"Fry Tales" opens at 7 tonight for a 12-show run at Centennial Hall. It features some of the same characters from Perseverance Theatre's "Fry Tales" of last year, but it's an all new show.

"Fry Tales" was my favorite Perseverance show last year. And I'm a grown-up and I don't have kids. It was totally original, hilarious and entertaining. Clown theater, mask theater and physical comedy haven't been used a lot at Perseverance, and director Roblin Davis is masterful in those genres. Davis is at the helm with this show, and once again, he's collaborated with the cast to create the script.

"Fry Tales" is a family show, as it was last year. That doesn't mean it's just for kids. Last year, it delivered plenty to please the younger crowd, but was rich with subtle adult humor as well. It was fun. I expect the same from this show.

"The Foreigner" opens at 8 tonight at the Palace Theater. It promises to be a good comedy - the premise is funny and the cast is proven talent. Keith Aisner (Archy from "Archy and Mehitabel") plays a shy man who, to avoid interaction, pretends he can't speak English. He hears some nefarious schemes at a backwoods fishing lodge and gets drawn into a wild weekend. Bill Hurr (from "Greater Tuna") acts and directs. Shelly Aisner (Susan from "Wild Nights with Emily") Mike Wittig ("The Music Man"), Dottie Davis ("Steel Magnolias") and Shane Walker also perform.

"The Foreigner" runs at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday until Feb. 10, about a dozen shows altogether.

One more thing. Next Wednesday, cellist Evan Drachman and pianist Richard Dowling are performing at 8 p.m. at Northern Light United Church. This is part of the Sitka Summer Music Festival's winter outreach program. This year will be the 30th anniversary of the Sitka Festival, which is held each June.

Drachman is the grandson of the famed Russian cellist Gregor Piatigorsky. Drachman and Dowling have performed in Sitka at the June music festival and are excellent players, and the piano and cello are a nice combination. The program Wednesday includes Chopin, Beethoven, Brahms, Elgar and Piatigorsky.

Tickets are $14, $12 for students and seniors, at Hearthside Books and at the door.

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