During the summer between my sophomore and junior years in high school, I thought my best career path would be to gain employment as a tour guide.
That was the summer when my parents decided we would wander California seeing the missions we had yet to visit and going to minor attractions that would pop up along way.
The missions, for the most part, had organized tours, which varied little from site to site. The places always had ladies who sat in each room watching for thieves and offering to answer questions. Our main source of tour-guide entertainment came from private tourist stops, where our guides, all college-age guys in sport coats and ties, had us laughing as we learned all about industries ranging from paint to potato chips. At the end, they would give out free samples, except at the wineries, where they offered "something special for Mom and Dad."
While Mom and Dad sipped wine, my sister and I sat quietly contemplating our futures. Much of my consideration was what a wonderful tour guide I would make and how I would leave the tourists lusting for Granny Goose chips, or Chevrolet's midsized cars.
That never happened, but the pleasant memory came back to me a short while ago when I heard Danville's Role Players Ensemble was producing the 1990 comedy by Peter Shaffer, "Lettice and Lovage." It plays at Village Theatre Oct. 18 through Nov. 9.
It was only a year or so ago that I saw the show for the first time and entered the world of Lettice Douffet, a student of all things Elizabethan who becomes a tour guide at a somewhat less-than-stately historic London home.
Lettice's flair for the dramatic won't allow her to bore visitors with the true tales of the house, so she begins making up stories about the place. The embellishments grow bigger and bigger until they catch the attention of her superior, Lotte Schoen.
When Lotte decides to visit Lettice at her home on the matter, what emerges is a battle of wills as the play goes hysterically awry.
Tickets to "Lettice and Lovage" are $20-$28; contact 925-314-3400 or http://roleplayersensemble.com.
"THE SUNSHINE BOYS": Neil Simon's comic portrayal of two crotchety old vaudeville comedians opens the 50th season Oct. 18 for Benicia Old Town Theatre.
The two performers are given a lucrative opportunity to reunite one more time for a television special. The problem is, they couldn't stand each other when they worked together and they haven't spoken in 20 years. So it's up to the younger generation to bring the duo together for one more show.
Performances are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through Nov. 19 in the B.D.E.S. Hall, 140 West J St.
Tickets, at $25 for the opening night Champagne Gala and $18-20 for regular performances, are available at the door or online at www.beniciaoldtowntheatregroup.com.
"SPAMALOT": Eric Idle and John Du Prez's wacky musical opens Oct. 19 at Livermore's Bankhead Theater. The Tri-Valley Repertory Theatre show, drawn from the popular film "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," has the sort of silly and irreverent humor fans have come to expect from Monty Python. The storyline is about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. The show plays 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through Nov. 3. Tickets, from $28 to $38, may be reserved at 925-373-6800 or www.mylvpac.com.
"JERRY'S GIRLS": The musical revue touching on the songs Jerry Herman, writer of such shows as "Hello, Dolly!" "Mack & Mabel" and "La Cage Aux Folles," is coming to Chanticleers Theatre, 3683 Quail Ave., Castro Valley. Shows are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays from Oct. 11-Nov. 10. Tickets, $24, at 510-733-5483 or www.chanticleers.org. The show features a cast of seven women singing 35 songs.
"THE ROBBER BRIDEGROOM": The first production of the new Clayton Theatre Company is a musical based on "a rousing, bawdy Southern fairy tale set in 18th-century Mississippi," says a release by the company. It tells the story of the courtship of a wealthy planter's daughter by a dashing rascal and robber.
The show runs Oct. 16-26 at Endeavor Hall, 6008 Center St., Clayton. Tickets are $12-$18 at www.brownpapertickets.com.
Contact Pat Craig at firstname.lastname@example.org.