Beyond Limits: Playhouse revisits a classic, leopard sharks make their debut and Salk makes music
by Johnny McDonald
Aug 01, 2012 | 540 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
La Jolla Playhouse’s upcoming “An Iliad,” a one-man adaptation of Homer’s classic tale of the Trojan War, is really an expanded version of mankind’s centuries of conflict.

A co-production with Berkeley Repertory Theatre, “An Iliad” features Henry Woronicz as the Poet with Brian Ellingsen as the Musician and runs Aug. 11 through Sept. 9 in the Mandell Weiss Forum.

Adapted by Denis O’Hare and Lisa Peterson (director of the Playhouse’s “Surf Report”) it’s based on a translation by Robert Fagles. Peterson has directed 10 productions at the Playhouse. 

A storyteller will emerge from the back of the theater to retell “The Iliad,” one of the oldest stories in Western civilization. The elements are familiar — the 10-year siege of Troy, the Greeks and Trojans locked in a brutal combat, and a final battle between Achilles and Hector. 

But the storyteller points at something more as the audience is taken to the front lines of every major war in history, reliving a futile struggle that has been replayed for thousands of years.

Winner of the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Solo Show, “An Iliad” has received rave reviews by the Philadelphia Enquirer and The New York Times.

Woronicz has appeared on Broadway in “Julius Caesar” with Denzel Washington. He is currently the Head of MFA Acting at Illinois State University.

Here come the leopard sharks

Summertime means the return of leopard sharks to La Jolla Shores. Never fear, say scientists, they’re the friendly type.

Speaking at an Ocean Science Series lecture last month, Andy Nosal, a Scripps Ph.D. student, explained the gadgets he uses to track the sharks and learn what makes La Jolla the animals’ preferred hangout.

Contrary to popular belief, he said, these sharks — 97 percent of which are pregnant females — are not giving birth or mating during their stay.

Fortunately, leopard sharks are docile around people, said Manny Ezcurra, who has handled the Aquarium’s leopard sharks since 1996.

“But they’re not so docile toward invertebrates and small fishes,” he said. “We have to be careful about who we put in the exhibit with them.” 

Ezcurra keeps small ones in the slough exhibit and as they grow, they’re moved up to the wave pool of the aviary exhibit. When they’re near full size, they’re placed in the deep reef exhibit with the big fish.

For the cliffhangers

San Diego’s coastal cliffs have always harbored hazards with occasional falls or entrapments necessitating rescue.

In the 1940s, a cliff rescue apparatus was developed and assigned to the Ocean Beach fire station. It was basically a crane attached to a rescue vehicle with a powered winch, allowing rescuers to be quickly lowered to the victims.

In 1950, this apparatus was transferred to the Lifeguard Services, partially because firefighters might be away on another call. The responsibility of lifeguards for cliff rescue has continued ever since. 

Over the years, the Torrey Pines cliff rescue vehicle has been replaced several times, each time with significant improvements. Today, lifeguards typically see 50 or more cliff rescues each year.

Salk makes some music

The 17th annual Symphony at Salk, a concert under the stars on Aug. 25 will feature multi-award-winning singer and country/pop music sensation LeAnn Rimes. She’ll perform with the San Diego Symphony under the direction of returning guest conductor Thomas Wilkins.

Gala tickets are $250 each and include a pre-concert champagne reception, courtyard seating, a gourmet dinner and refreshments.

Proceeds benefit the biological research at the institute and its community education programs.
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