VOL. 23 - NO. 24
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TRAVEL & ENTERTAINMENT: Bay Area’s Christmas Revels Salute the Season with “A Scottish Celebration of the Solstice”

Dec 16, 2017
by Lisa Zarri
For its 32nd year, the Bay Area’s beloved Christmas Revels salutes the holiday season, this year taking audiences to Scotland for “A Scottish Celebration of the Solstice,” currently performing through December 17 at the Scottish Rite Auditorium (1547 Lakeside Drive), Oakland, CA.

In the past few years, the production has taken audiences from America to Venice, and, last year, to Wales. This year Scotland takes center stage. With the skirling of pipes and the swirling of kilts, the 2017 Christmas Revels celebrates the turning of the year in Scottish style with song, dance, and spirited folk tales. As is the Scottish tradition, this is an opportunity to be there for haggis and Hogmanay, first-footing, wool-waulking, mouth music, and even the Scottish custom of Guising – going house-to-house disguised in fancy dress.

Expect plaids a-plenty, as Scots of all ages gather the clans to observe the return of the sun in the Bay Area’s most treasured holiday tradition. This tuneful excitement comes studded with Revels touchstones including The Abbots Bromley Antler Dance, Sussex Mummers’ Carol, and The Lord of the Dance, which will cast its mysterious spell. Be prepared to sing and dance along, if you so desire.

Featured performers in “A Scottish Celebration of the Solstice” are Revels stalwarts singer Susan Rode-Morris, singer and fiddler Anne Goess, dancer Jeri Reed, and Shira Kammen, an expert performer on a variety of medieval musical instruments. Another Revels highlight is the poetic recitation of Robbie Bruns’ poem “Tam O Shanter,” a tale that is believed to be the source of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” Expect surprise guests, too!

The setting is village-based with a blend of singing, instrumental music, storytelling, and folk drama. In other words, it offers a bit of something for everyone.

Apart from entertaining, Revels seeks to build community through its unique theater production, connecting audiences with the cast and with one another. Since 1986, California Revels has brought their unique theatrical, participatory arts form to audiences in the Bay Area. Founded by singer, author and music educator John Langstaff in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1971, The Christmas Revels crosses religious and ethnic boundaries and appeals to young and old alike. The Christmas Revels blends traditional music, dance, ritual and folk plays from many different cultures, presented by a large volunteer chorus of children and adults drawn from the community, accompanied by highly talented professional actors, musicians, artists, directors, and “bearers of tradition.”

On the most basic of levels, Revels affords a sense of optimism that is an essential part of the holiday formula. The Revels is a true landmark in its celebration that the holidays will bring to everyone. They are the essence of the holiday spirit.

For tickets or more information please visit www.californiarevels.org or phone the box office at (510) 452-9334.


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