Worth A Look


'Harold and Maude' on stage

The Los Altos Stage Company is currently staging a production of "Harold and Maude," based on the 1971 dark romantic comedy about a young, death-obsessed man, and the wild and fun-loving 79-year-old women he befriends, becomes romantically involved with and who teaches him to celebrate life.

The play, which began last week and runs through early May, features Belmont resident Warren Wernick as Harold and Lillian Bogovich of San Jose as Maude.

Dan Wilson, associate artistic director of Los Altos Stage Company, is directing the show, which he said has required some creative fixes in order to work on the theater company's small stage. Originally written for Broadway, the script takes place in seven separate locations, which Wilson needed to convey without relying on physical set changes, so he turned to his friend and videographer, Christopher Peoples, of Allegory Productions in San Jose.

Peoples created a variety of still and video projections that help establish location, and Wilson said he is pleased with the outcome. "He did a great job in helping me to realize my vision."

For those unfamiliar with the story, the production deals with dark and some mature themes, such as death and romance. Wilson said the play is likely suitable for children 12 years of age and older.

"Harold and Maude" runs Wednesday to Sunday, at 8 p.m., through May 2, at the Los Altos Stage Company, located at 97 Hillview Ave. in Los Altos. Tickets are $32. For more information visit losaltosstage.org or call 650-941-0551.

Speaking through music

People learn to speak their native tongue in a much different way than they tend to learn second languages. Children pick up language by absorbing and imitating what they hear in the world around them, seldom thinking about how they are conjugating their verbs or which tense they need to use. Later, however, when learning a second or third language, things get tricky.

Oran Etkin says the same thing is true with teaching music. If you can get a child to understand complex musical concepts intuitively at a young age, chances are they'll be much more fluent in music when they get older. This is the principle behind Etkin's teaching method, which he calls "Timbalooloo."

With the Timbalooloo method, Etkin said children are able to learn complex Cuban and African rhythms. He teaches them to think of instruments as animated individuals, with personalities and emotions. Trumpets, guitars, pianos and more -- they all have the capacity to "speak," "laugh" and "cry," he said.

Explaining music to the children this way helps them wrap their heads around the art form intuitively, rather than intellectually, so that in the future "it will just feel natural," he said. "It empowers them (the children) to create music."

The Grammy-award winning composer, who also makes music for adult audiences, will bring his children's show, "Wake Up, Clarinet!," to Stanford University this weekend, as the third and final installment in the Bing Nursery School Performance Series.

Etkin will perform his interactive children's concert, "Wake Up, Clarinet!," on Saturday, April 19, from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Dinkelspiel Auditorium, located at 471 Lagunita Drive, on the Stanford campus. Tickets are $8 for Bing Nursery School families and $10 for everyone else. For tickets and information go to ticket.stanford.edu or call 650-725-2787.

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