Theater: A lot to love about ‘Shakespeare in Love’

“I do love ‘Shakespeare in Love,’” said Doll Piccotto, who plays Queen Elizabeth in the play, which opens at Palo Alto Players on Saturday. “The thing I love the most about it is that, clearly, the people who wrote it made it a love letter to Shakespeare and theater.”

Piccotto recalled seeing the movie, written by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard. “I was sitting there, being a Shakespeare nerd, and loving how many little Shakespeare jokes they worked into it.

“’Give me to drink mandragora,’ and the bartender says, ‘Straight up?’ All the beautiful little side jokes. Some won’t get them, but for those who do, there is the recognition that sparks the love of the words.”

The mandragora line is from “Antony and Cleopatra” — you knew that, right? — and the bartender’s line is the joke. Mandragora was the word, in Shakespeare’s time, for mandrake — a highly poisonous and perhaps magical plant (one well known to readers of the Harry Potter books).

Marc Norman came up with the idea for the screenplay, over years of work. Tom Stoppard was brought in for a script polish, and the movie won all kinds of awards (there are those, me included, who think the best-movie Oscar it won should have gone to “Saving Private Ryan”). Then Lee Hall adapted it for the stage.

Some people think the stage version is better than the movie.

“I see it billed as a love story,” said April Culver, who plays Viola de Lesseps in the Players production, “which is fair, but I think it’s mostly a love story about the theater. … It’s about bringing the thing to life, finding that thing you love, and pursuing it, finding your truth.

“It’s so lovely to be able to perform in a show that has some Shakespeare in it, especially a show …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


TV tonight: ‘Frankie and Grace,’ ‘The Punisher’ return on Netflix

TV picks for Friday. Jan. 18

NBA basketball, Warriors at Clippers (7:30 p.m., ESPN): A regular-season game in January takes on more meaning tonight as DeMarcus Cousins makes his long-awaited debut in the Golden State lineup. The All-Star center has been out for nearly a year as he recovered from a torn Achilles tendon and questions surround is return: How will he fit into a roster featuring four other All-Stars? Will he be the same player he was before the injury? Etc. etc.

“RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars” (8 p.m., VH1): For the first time in “Drag Race” Herstory, all of the eliminated All Stars get a chance to return to the competition. But first they have to send home a competing All Star in a shocking midseason lip sync smackdown.

“20/20” (9 p.m., ABC): Televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, hosts of the popular religious talk show PTL (Praise The Lord) Club and founders of the Christian-themed park Heritage USA, became notorious after Jim was found at the center of outrageous sex and financial fraud scandals. Now, over 30 years after the demise of their religious empire, “20/20” re-examines exactly what transpired at their television studios and theme park, featuring new interviews with those who knew Jim and Tammy Faye well and previously unaired footage from the ABC News archives.

“Hawaii Five-0” (9 p.m., CBS): Hold your breath! Adam, Junior and Tani travel to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean when a murder takes place in a remote underwater lab, and the killer may still be on board.

“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” (9 p.m., The CW): Rebecca agrees to help out Darryl by offering to babysit and an unexpected guest crashes the evening. Meanwhile, Paula throws a game night.

“Dateline NBC” (10 p.m., NBC): Tonight’s installment promises to reveal new information about singer R. Kelly’s …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


Horoscopes: Jan. 18, 2019

CELEBRITIES BORN ON THIS DAY: Jason Segel, 39; Jesse L. Martin, 50; Mark Messier, 58; Kevin Costner, 64.

Happy Birthday: Trust only what you know to be fact. You’ll meet individuals who will tempt you by coloring situations and using persuasive tactics. Don’t be too eager to initiate change unless you first analyze what’s required. When in doubt, back away from whatever situation you encounter. Don’t let others choose for you, regardless of how helpful they appear to be. Your numbers are 6, 10, 21, 29, 31, 33, 42.

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Choose a physical outlet and blow off steam. Put disappointments on the back burner for the time being. Once you have had time to rethink your strategy, you will come up with a much better plan of attack. 4 stars

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Make a decision and finish what you start. What you accomplish will make you feel good about who you are and what’s yet to come. Learn from an expert and poise yourself for a new beginning. Personal gains are heading your way. 3 stars

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Pay closer attention to important relationships. Someone you come in contact with cannot be trusted. Do your homework and verify any information you are given. Romance is on the rise, along with changes to the way you live. 3 stars

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Look over your personal documents and make sure you have everything in order. You are likely to find a discrepancy between the assets you thought you had and what you do have. Don’t leave anything to chance. 3 stars

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Participate in activities that will challenge you physically. What you achieve will make you feel good and bring you closer to people you find stimulating. Love and romance are …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


Bridge: Jan. 18, 2019

Tribune Content Agency

I was sitting in the club lounge when Cy the Cynic and Unlucky Louie had this exchange:

“You worry too much,” Louie told Cy. “You always expect the worst. Worry is the darkroom where negatives are developed.”

“You’re always talking about your bad luck,” the Cynic retorted. “Maybe you don’t worry enough.”

Louie was declarer at 6NT in a penny game. West led the ten of hearts, and Louie saw 13 tricks: five spades, four clubs, three hearts and a diamond. He took the king of hearts and the queen of spades and led a second spade — and West showed out. Louie’s trick total suddenly fell to 11, and as the cards lay, the slam was unmakable.


Louie should have been worried. A 5-1 spade break would occur 14 percent of the time. Louie’s correct play is to win the first heart in dummy and lead a spade, intending to play his eight if East follows low.

If West can win, Louie still succeeds if spades break 4-2. As the cards actually lie, the safety play saves the slam.


You hold: S A K 9 4 3 H A 6 5 D 10 6 4 C K Q. Your partner opens one heart, you respond one spade and he bids two diamonds. What do you say?

ANSWER: This situation is awkward. Slam is possible, but a jump to three hearts would be invitational to game, not forcing. A bid of four hearts would suggest better heart support and would not show 16 good points. Bid three clubs, the “fourth suit.” If partner bids 3NT next, you will try four hearts.

South dealer

N-S vulnerable


S A K 9 4 3

H A 6 5

D 10 6 4



S 2

H 10 9 8 7 2

D Q 9 8

C 9 7 5 4


S J 10 7 6 …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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