Good morning! Today, as you surely know, is both Veteran’s Day and 11/11/11. This weekend is going to be magical.
The Soldier’s Tale
Pairing Igor Stravinsky’s visionary score and a French libretto by C. F. Ramuz, The Soldier’s Tale is traditionally performed with a seven-piece chamber orchestra, three actors, and a dancer, or in recital. But since the work’s 1918 premiere, artists from Frank Zappa to Wynton Marsalis have created adaptations. The latest comes from Aurora Theatre artistic director Tom Ross and former San Francisco Ballet prima ballerina Muriel Maffre; their reimagining premieres at the Aurora Theatre (2081 Addison St., Berkeley) during the venue’s twentieth-anniversary season. Though classically trained at the Paris Opéra Ballet School, Maffre is avant-garde at heart, a quality Ross complements with his own free-spirited creativity. “We like to shake things up every once in a while,” Ross said, and their Soldier’s Tale certainly does, calling on actors L. Peter Callender (the Narrator) and Joan Mankin (the Devil) to dance as well as recite Donald Pippin’s translated text with poetic cadence, and casting Maffre as both ballerina (the King’s Daughter) and master of the life-size puppet that portrays Joseph, the Soldier. Not your typical holiday fare, to be sure. Yet there is joy and beauty in this Soldier’s Tale: the Chagall-inspired design, the sublime performers, and the score. The Soldier’s Tale runs November 17 through December 18, with previews Friday through Wednesday, November 11-16. See website for full schedule and show times; $10-$55. 510-843-4822 or AuroraTheatre.org. — Claudia Bauer
What do Too $hort and Kev Choice have in common, beyond the fact that they’re both Oakland rappers who resettled in Atlanta in search of opportunity and prosperity? Turns out they also both claim the 99 percent — not as an income bracket so much as an identity category. Both artists voiced rousing support for last week’s general strike in Oakland and announced plans to write songs about it. On Friday, Nov. 11, they’ll court the muse together, in the company of fabulous local soul singer Martin Luther, who is indisputably one of the Bay Area’s most underappreciated balladeers. It’ll be a rare chance to catch three key members of Oakland’s hip-hop and soul dynasty performing in one place. And it’s safe to say their music will be topical. At The New Parish (579 18th St., Oakland). 10 p.m., $20, $25. TheNewParish.com. — Rachel Swan