Revels with a Cause

By Richard Mineards   |   December 17, 2017
Susan Keller in early California costume

Santa Barbara Revels, presenting its 10th anniversary production at the Lobero, stayed closer to home this year with its theme from the Alta California Rancho period.

Written by my Journal colleague Erin Graffy and Revels artistic director Susan Keller, the 1835-era production centered around the nuptials of Anita de la Guerra, daughter of the presidio’s commandante to Alfred Robinson, the local representative for a Boston-based hide and tallow trading company.

Richard Henry Dana, a young Harvard student, was invited to the festivities and recorded the exciting events in his classic book, Two Years Before the Mast.

The new show is a worthy successor to last year’s winter solstice production based on 18th-century Scotland.

Stage director Matt Tavianini and music director Erin McKibben did an excellent job, as did the colorful performers, including Tyler Koontz Dana, Bill Egan, Paul Brooks, Alfred Robinson, Luis Moreno, Frank Artusio, former KEYT-TV anchor Paula Lopez, Isabelle Marchand, and Jessica Haro,

Special guests included Baile de California led by Diana Replogle-Purintan, noted specialist dancers of the time period, and Ernestine DeSoto from the Barbareno Band of Chumash, who enacted a traditional story of her tribe.

As Susan always proclaims: “Join us and be joyous.”

We did – and we certainly were.


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