Those who can't get enough of Jane Austen will be delighted to know that there's more Austen to be had on stage, starting next week. The Pear Avenue Theatre is opening a new dramatization of Austen's first novel, "Northanger Abbey," by Pear artistic director Diane Tasca.
In the novel, Austen poked fun at the Gothic novel, the popular fiction of the time. Her heroine, Catherine, reads so many Gothic tales that she starts to see that spine-tingling darkness in the world around her. The result is a book that "blends incisive social commentary with a hilarious burlesque of the Gothic novel," say the folks at the Pear.
"Northanger Abbey" previews on Thursday, May 15, and then opens Friday, May 16, at 1220 Pear Ave., Unit K, in Mountain View, running through June 8. Tickets are $15-$30. Go to http://www.thepear.org or call 650-254-1148.
One-acts at Gunn
Gunn High School's creative types are in the company of renowned writers this month, as students direct and perform a host of one-act plays.
The plays are written by both Gunn folk and professional playwrights. "Espanol Three," for instance, was penned by Gunn alumnae Maria Cristina Lalonde and Maggie Cole, with music co-written by student Iris Latour. "Mood Indigo" is both written and directed by student Sonya Raymakers, while "I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon" was adapted by student Gavin Morgan from the science-fiction short story by writer Philip K. Dick.
The program also includes "For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls," a parody of Tennessee Williams' "The Glass Menagerie" written by Christopher Durang; Eugene Ionesco's theater of the absurd classic "The Bald Soprano"; and "Ferris Wheel," an unlikely love story by Mary Miller.
Performances run through May 17 at the Gunn Studio Theatre, 780 Arastradero Road, Palo Alto. Tickets are $5. Go to http://www.gunntheatre.org .
Never mind that your kids are probably about as familiar with the Fonz as they are with Fozzie Bear. They still may enjoy hearing the former "Happy Days" actor Henry Winkler give a book talk at Kepler's Books in Menlo Park.
Winkler, co-author with Lin Oliver of the kids' book series "Hank Zipzer," is coming to read from the series' latest tome, "Hank Zipzer #14: The Life of Me (Enter at Your Own Risk)." In the tale, young Hank gets a crush on a girl in his after-school reading program. But she's the cousin of his rival.
Winkler and Oliver are set to speak at 7 p.m. next Friday, May 16, at 1010 El Camino Real. The event is free. Go to http://www.keplers.com or call 650-324-4321.
Symposium on the brain
Why is the right piece of music so quick to make your heart thrill? Scholars at Stanford University just may be able to give you an answer to that question, especially when you team them with artists from around the world.
At the third annual International Symposium on Music and the Brain, intellectuals, researchers and musicians will gather on May 16 and 17 for presentations and concerts themed "Exploring Emotions." Topics include how tone-deaf people perceive emotion in music, and how music makes goosebumps. The St. Lawrence Quartet is scheduled to perform.
All the events are free and take place in Campbell Recital Hall on Friday and the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (the Knoll) on Saturday. To register, go to http://musicandthebrain.stanford.edu .
Master Sinfonia, the resident orchestra of Foothill College, plays this Sunday, May 10, at the United Methodist Church at 655 Magdalena Ave. in Los Altos. Admission is gratis for moms.
The musicians will play Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 3 in A Minor, and his overture to "The Fair Melusine," about a young woman who morphs into a mermaid. Composer Carl Stamitz is also on the program; the orchestra will play his Sinfonia Concertante for violin and viola.
The concert is from 3 to 5 p.m.; tickets are $5-$18. The orchestra will also perform the program this Saturday night at 8 p.m. at Valley Presbyterian Church, 945 Portola Road, Portola Valley.
Go to http://www.mastersinfonia.org or call 650-348-1270.
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