Five Actors, 80 Days

Actors Theatre gambles on stripped-down version of Jules Verne classic

December 13-19, 2006

Less is more. In the current climate of American theater, where shows with large casts are becoming a thing of the past due to escalating production costs, we will be seeing more and more shows like I Am My Own Wife and Stones in His Pockets, plays written for one or two actors who play dozens of characters single-handedly. One new example is Mark Brown’s creative comic-adventure adaptation of Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days, opening Dec. 15 at the Sixth Street Playhouse. The production, by Santa Rosa’s award-winning Actors Theatre and directed by artistic director Argo Thompson, features five actors taking on 39 roles as they fly through Verne’s epic globe-trotting adventure in a stripped-down adaptation that heightens the humor and excitement while downplaying all of the you-were-there travelogue details of the novel.

The great cast features Paul Huberty as the big-dreaming gambler Phineas Fogg and the shockingly animated Tim Guigni of Napa’s Il Teatro Calamari. If the show turns out to be as good as its advance buzz, we’ll likely be seeing many more shows like it, smartly reduced entertainments that focus on talent and cleverness, doing a whole lot with a whole lot of little.

Around the World in 80 Days opens on Friday, Dec. 15, and runs Thursday-Sunday through Jan. 20. Thursday-Saturday at 8pm; Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2pm (no matinee Dec. 16). Sixth Street Playhouse, 52 W. Sixth St., Santa Rosa. $12-$25. 707.523.4185.

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