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Late Show and Tell

Jacque Bo
Darryl Ferrucci

Dish-Cover New Worlds: Comedian Jaqui Bo, pictured here as Pamela Pesto, is one of the many acts serving up Bedtime Stories as part of So Say We's Wednesday evening readings at the Santa Cruz Dance Gallery.

Dramatic readings give even the sandman pause

By Lauren Walsh

IT'S A WEEK NIGHT. It's late. Tomorrow you have to be up early, and you can't fall asleep. What to do? Warm up some milk and hope that helps you drift off to dreamland? You could do that, but there's no guarantee you'll ever get your zzz's that way. As long as you're up, you may as well enjoy yourself instead of tossing and turning all night in bed. Head downtown to So Say We Late Night, a place where, as restaurant entertainment manager Chip (no last name--just Chip) puts it, "We cater to insomniacs."

Back by popular demand, So Say We's Bedtime Stories features two local performers reading short stories every Wednesday night from now until Nov. 23, and offers the chance for all working grown-ups to return--if only for an hour or two--to those innocent childhood days of lying in bed at night and having mom or dad read aloud until sleep slipped us away. It sounds fairly simple, maybe even mundane, and no one is claiming that it's an original idea. But it does appear soothing.

The program's selected works to be read ricochet around the world of words, from Thurber and Brautigan to Kafka and Bukowski, and the list of readers is no less eclectic. Performers include comedian Jaqui Bo, Um Gee Um's Susie Lichten, Angels in America's Mark Messersmith, Jac Royce from Twice Struck by Lightning Theater Company, screen light Ralph Peduto, dancer Sara Wilbourne and the ever-unpredictable Gabrielle.

The atmosphere is perfect for fostering an intimacy between the reader and the listener. The reader sits on a small stage, yet close to the listeners. John Robinson, who read "The Umbrella Man" by Roald Dahl during the summer series, says, "Storytelling is quite unique to acting because it is based on an oral tradition. The reader invents the sights, the sounds, the tastes, the overall surroundings for the hearers."

Food and beverages accompany the readings and are available for purchase up until 2am. As one devoted customer says, "You don't always know what to expect. Sometimes two stylistically different authors are read on the same night, but no matter what, it's always entertaining and always a lot of fun."

Jaqui Bo and Susie Lichten read Bedtime Stories on Wednesday (10pm) at So Say We in the Santa Cruz Dance Gallery, 418 Front St., SC (454-9547). The event is free.

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From the October 10-16, 1996 issue of Metro Santa Cruz

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