Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Treasure of the Sierra Madre at California Stage

Mitch Arguss (L.) and Derek Byrne

Sacramento’s California Stage brings us a live version of “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.” Like the 1948 classic film by John Huston, the play, by Herb Robins, bases its story on the 1927 novel by the mysterious B Traven. Like the film, the play also picks up the cautionary tale about greed, though it’s hard to capture on stage the imposing atmosphere of the Sierra Madre in Mexico.

The plot follows an aged and dithering Howard (Mitch Arguss) as he leads the treacherous Fred C. Dobbs (Tomas F. Maguire) and the younger and upright Curtin (Derek Byrne) on their search for wealth. Joining them is LeCaud (Eric Baldwin) a geologist. Among challenges confronting the group is a band of banditos, led by Gold Hat (Fred Goraieb),.

Out of all this come winners and losers, but greed is the big loser. Yet, despite capable directing by Mike Yazzolino, the stage can’t compete with the magnificence of the real mountains we see in the film. And the characters tend toward oversimplification. Still, though no competitor for the film, the play holds our attention.

“The Treasue of the Sierra Madre” continues through March 22 at The Wilkerson Theater, 1723 25th Street. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 general, $15 for students, seniors, and SARTA members. Call (916) 451-5822. See also http://www.calstage.org/.

For a detailed review, see Village Life, newspaper of El Dorado Hills, or click the title of this post.

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