Santa Clara University

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Alumni Arts

Two world premieres onstage

Mariette in Ecstasy
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Beauty and mystery: Mariette Baptiste (Brenda Barrie) in the convent
Courtesy Lifeline Theatre

The 1991 novel by Ron Hansen M.A. ’95 came to life onstage in February in a production by Chicago’s Lifeline Theatre. Adapted by Christina Calvit and directed by Elise Kauzlaric, the dramatization was lauded by the Chicago Tribune as “a really good yarn, grippingly told, forcefully acted and intellectually engaging.” Set in a convent in upstate New York in 1906, Mariette sees lives of prayer and devotion suddenly shattered when a young postulate is initiated into the order and experiences what may be a divine encounter.

In addition to being a graduate of SCU’s pastoral ministries program, Hansen is a deacon in the Catholic church, the Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J., professor of arts and humanities at SCU, and, we’re pleased to say, the literary editor for this magazine.

Steven Boyd Saum

The Kite Runner
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The run: Young Amir (Craig Piaget) and Hassan (Lowell Abellon).
Courtesy San Jose Repertory Theatre

First the novel, then the film, now the play: the international bestseller by Khaled Hosseini ’88 was published in 2003, and in March it made its world premier onstage at the San Jose Repertory Theatre. A tale of tragedy and redemption, it follows the arc of two boys who are friends in 1970s Kabul. The child of privilege, Amir, flees with his father following the Soviet invasion, while his friend and servant Hassan stays behind. Amir returns years later to try to make amends for a secret tragedy they share. Adapted by Matthew Spangler and directed by David Ira Goldstein, the production earned praise from the San Jose Mercury News for an elegance that “thrums with a kaleidoscopic sense of nuance that’s far more faithful to the book than the movie, especially in its clear-eyed embrace of life’s shadows.”

Steven Boyd Saum

River of Time

Jorma Kaukonen '64
Red House Records, 2009

undefinedWind it up and let it roll: Music icon Jorma Kaukonen’s latest is a wonderful collection of mostly folk and some blues tunes, great acoustic pickin’, and simple vocals. If, like me, you first saw Jorma with Jefferson Airplane back in the day, "River of Time" will remind you that you’re no young'un—and that’s okay. It was the old-timey fingerpickin’ blues that got JK playing guitar in the first place. Here Jorma’s roots in blues come through in most every tune. The Alton and Raybon Delmore-penned “Nashville Blues” is my fave. More rockin’ folk than blues, this ditty features quick and clean guitar picking by JK accompanied by sideman Larry Campbell’s blistering mandolin. JK lined up a solid group of supporting musicians for the album, including Levon Helm of The Band fame, who plays drums on a few tracks. Among them: “Trouble in Mind,” a tasty traditional blues tune. Kaukonen offers a soulful meditation in the title track, “River of Time,” reaching back generations in dreams and looking downriver at the generations ahead. My first listen took me back decades, reliving parts of my youth, life with my family, and the long road to now. Can you ask for anything better from a song? Thanks, Jorma.

Russ Morris Jr.

Read a profile of Jorma Kaukonen in the Spring 2008 SCM.
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