Tue05242016

News

Fractured LA council strains to pick up pieces

Following a mudslinging Los Altos City Council meeting last week, councilmembers are mulling ways to maintain civility from all seats in the chamber.

Mayor Jeannie Bruins suggested that the council create a pact among themselves.

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Schools

Tech Challenge competitors design gliders for air-drop relief

Tech Challenge competitors design gliders for air-drop relief


Courtesy of Annie Nijhawan
Blach Intermediate’s “Time Flies” team, right, notched a second-place finish at this year’s Tech Challenge. Pictured, are, from left, front row: Noelle Crawford, Kayla Blalack, Vikki Xu, Olivia Byu...

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Community

Costume Bank sponsors vintage sale, open house

The Costume Bank has scheduled an Open House and Vintage Sale noon to 4 p.m. Saturday on its patio, 169 State St., Los Altos.

According to organizers, shoppers can find dresses, wedding dresses, gloves, hats and purses for special occasions at low p...

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Sports

Eagles peak as playoffs approach

Eagles peak as playoffs approach


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Los Altos High senior Lizzy Beutter pitches against Saratoga in last week’s regular-season finale. The Eagles won the game 1-0.

The Los Altos High softball team has suffered a long list of injuries – broken bo...

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Comment

Apology from the Town Crier

We are truly sorry that readers have taken offense at Frank Hughes’ May 18 op-ed column, titled "Housewives oif LA." We did not anticipate the rancor it would generate.

Satire is a risky form of humor that can be hurtful if not taken in the pr...

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Special Sections

Los Altos toddler discovers sound through cochlear implants

Los Altos toddler discovers sound through cochlear implants


Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Two-year-old Natalie Su and her mother, Charlene, practice speaking and listening at Play! Los Altos.

Two-year-old Natalie Su last week toddled among her peers – exploring, talking and listening to the lively cacoph...

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Business

LA native makes beer, removes gluten

LA native makes beer, removes gluten


Courtesy of Caitlin Landesberg
Los Altos native Caitlin Landesberg, above, started her own brewing company to craft gluten-removed beer.

As a tennis player and then a competitive distance runner, Los Altos Hills native Caitlin Landesberg lived e...

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People

H. RICHARD HOLLOW

H. RICHARD HOLLOW

1930-2016

Humphrey Richard Hollow (Richard) was born in the UK on November 27, 1930. He worked in the oil fields of Iraq after graduating from college as an engineer. That’s where he lost part of his right hand in a blasting accident.

After...

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Stepping Out

Sayonara, 'Seussical'

Sayonara, 'Seussical'


Lyn Flaim Healy/Spotlight Moments Photography
The cast of “Seussical” includes, from left, Lena Wessel (of Mountain View) as Thing 2, Quincy Shaindlin (San Mateo) as Cat in the Hat and Megan Branstad (Los Altos) as Thing 1.

The Penin...

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Spiritual Life

St. Simon Catholic Parish celebrates 60th anniversary

St. Simon Catholic Parish celebrates 60th anniversary


Joe Schram/ Special to the Town Crier
Commemorating St. Simon Catholic Parish’s 60th anniversary are, from left, Father V. Warwick James, Joan Mibach, Monsignor Stephen Perata, Judy Howard, Father Tony Mancuso, Marian Marren and Art and Jean C...

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Actors stand out in Bus Barn's production of 'Farndale Avenue'

Theater review

I dare you to take a deep breath and say the title of Bus Barn's new production all in one effort.

The title, "The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen's Guild Dramatic Society's Production of 'A Christmas Carol,'" also tells you, beyond its length, that you are in for a zany theatrical experience.

Have a cup of mulled cider, and you will be in the proper mood for watching the plot about a small group of hopeful thespians staging the annual holiday show, "A Christmas Carol."

They must do so with a cast of just six since all others fail to show up. Against an attractive backdrop of painted holiday scenes, the courageous and often ridiculous actors trade male and female roles, knock down set furniture, goof up their lines and revert to their non-acting selves with disconcerting regularity.

It is immediately obvious that the story of Dickens' Scrooge and his mind-changing alteration from a miserable old skinflint to an affable and generous man is not the purpose the playwrights have in mind.

We must accept the play as a wild romp and suspend disbelief. Absurdities abound as the plot allows interaction between the characters and audience members in the front row.

The dignified Mrs. Reece (Colleen O'Kane Block) complete with snooty high-pitched voice, acts as greeter, narrator, Tiny Tim and a ghostly spirit.

She tells us at the end of Act I, "Don't worry, the second act is short." As Tiny Tim, she crouches low and stumbles along the stage saying, "I'm a poor crippled boy who's temporarily forgotten his crutch."

Her basic prop is a shiny red purse which always clues us to her identity, even when it swings out from her black shroud as one of the spirits that takes Scrooge on his journey.

Block stands out in all her roles and helps us to laugh heartily while wondering what on earth is happening.

Another outstanding performance is by Melody Cole who as Thelma is the strong leader of the manic acting group. She plays Scrooge and, though she fumbles and bumbles through the various stage props, does give the play within a play a fragile continuity.

Some of Cole's funniest moments come when she reacts with irritation to the mistakes of others and reverts to being Thelma venting her annoyance.

It's fun to be taken backstage along with the struggling cast as they shift roles, double up, or as their stage manager (Michael Afendakis) does, act with inappropriate silliness.

Act II continues the journey of Scrooge but uses a party situation to involve the cast and audience in charades. We simply shake our heads and accept the singing and dancing of the entire ensemble.

Director Kathy Gutto persuades us that we are participating in wild and crazy events.

The other cast members, Angela Bunting, Lynda Marcum and Buffy Afendakis, do a good job as the blundering members of a goofy amateur drama group.

The play runs through Dec. 30 at the Bus Barn Theatre, 97 Hillview Ave., Los Altos.

For reservations and more information, call 941-0551.

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