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Theater Seizes Attention of Audience

June 11, 2004

THERE’S Alegría in Alajuela. TheCarpe Diem Theater is back after a three-monthbreak with weekend performancesof their lively, colorful, swinging andrhythmic musicals.The entire theater moved from its oldmake-do basement to a bigger, better furnishedauditorium complete with softerseats, secure parking and bus service. The40-member troupe will offer “Joseph andthe Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” inJune, followed by “Viva la Música,” amusical review, in July and selections fromthe Broadway production “Cats,” later inthe season.The story of Joseph combines sparklycostumes, elaborate stage sets and platforms,synchronized stepping, gesturing,dancing and lip-synching by the performers.All the songs are recorded and pantomimed,but the audience would neverknow if they weren’t told.The songs are in English, while a minimumamount of the dialog is in Spanish.For the uni-lingual, there is plenty ofaction to keep their attention riveted to thestage.THE story itself is as old as the hills.Jacob gives his favorite son, Joseph, afancy coat and as a spoiled child, he preensin front of his 11 brothers who get even byselling him into slavery.Check out the happy ending in theGenesis chapter of the Bible. The costumes,music, joy, even the dancing lightsand bubbles that float out over the audiencemake the story a hit.Throughout the performancethe audience is toe tapping,hand clapping and fingersnapping as they yearn to joinin the festive production (thefinale grants the wish withaudience participation).Marco Araya is the directorwho also spices up the playin the starring role of Joseph.Araya, at 40, has several yearsof productions behind himincluding “Jesus ChristSuperstar” and “Las Fisgonasde Paso Ancho.”ARAYA, a nativeAlajuelense, started CarpeDiem four years ago withfriends and friends of friends,he said, adding that they havesince become more professionalwith drama classes andauditions.Araya has studied with theNational Theater Workshophere and at Cornell Universityin the United States. He alsodesigns the sets and costumesfor all productions, which arehomemade by the cast.The new theater is in awell-lit, secure area at theWilmer López sport center in the Plywoodsuburb of Alajuela, northwest of San José.Plywood buses run to and from theAlajuela station every half hour up to 10p.m.PERFORMANCES are at 7 p.m.Saturdays and Sundays and there is a specialmatiné program, Atrevete a Soñar,especially for children about the importanceof dreams and visions. It includesmermaids, lobsters, brownies, wooden soldiersand ladies at 5 p.m. Sundays.Prices are ¢1000 for adults, ¢500 forchildren and adults over 65. With easy,level access, this is a show for everyone.For more info or to confirm the programschedule, call 442-7773.

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