Bid on trips, Orioles tickets ; Auction: This year's fund-raising event for Center Stage includes more than 700 enticing items.


Bidders in this year's radio auction for Center Stage can get married (in a wedding gown donated by Gamberdella) or buried (in burial plots donated by Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens), as well as enjoy a whole slew of things in between.

The 22nd annual on-air auction, sponsored by The Sun, will take place Sunday from 8 a.m. to midnight on WBAL radio (1090 AM).

Among the more than 700 other items up for bid are tickets to such enticing locales as Belize, Britain, Greece, Ireland and Spain; a pregnancy massage; a World Wrestling Federation fun pack; a diamond necklace; a gazebo rental; a year's supply of beer; and Orioles items including the pitching rubber from the mound at Camden Yards, signed by last year's starting rotation; the use of Mayor Schmoke's skybox; front-row tickets for opening day; and the ever-popular chance to serve as a pregame Orioles bat boy or bat girl.

Over the past 21 years, the auction has raised almost $2 million to help fund Center Stage's annual operating expenses.

This year, for the first time, the 16 hours of radio air time are being underwritten by a half-dozen corporate sponsors (BGE, Bell Atlantic, Mackenzie Commercial Real Estate Services, Mercantile-Safe Deposit and Trust, NationsBank and Northrup Grumman) instead of WBAL.

A complete list of auction items will be published in the Home & Family section of The Sun next Sunday and is also available on the Center Stage Web site, http: // For more information, call 410-685- 3200.

A metaphor for clowns

In spring 1997, the local clown-theater company, Theatricks, premiered a show called "Payatz!" at the Theatre Project. A revised version of that production will play a three-week engagement as part of the 'Round the Edges series at Round House Theatre in Silver Spring beginning Friday.

Tom Dougherty, who runs the company and is both a trained Method actor and a graduate of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College, called the other day to chat about the changes in the show.

"Originally, it was set in the ruins of an old theater," he said. "Now we've expanded it to mean the back of one's mind -- the kind of place where you put things you've learned but forgotten, which we thought was kind of a metaphor for clowns in America. It's got a story line to it, but it's a poetic one. We're trying to get away from clown theater, where it's a revue."

The cast remains the same -- Dougherty, Elizabeth Furfaro, Mark Jaster and Tim Marrone -- accompanied by original music, performed and composed by Jon Perry. Direction, however, is now credited solely to Tony Tsendeas, who co-directed the earlier version with Dougherty. And Dougherty says the biggest change is all-new sets and costumes by Elena Zlotescu, long-time faculty member at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Show times for "Payatz!" at Round House Theatre, 12210 Bushey Drive, Silver Spring, are 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, with matinees at 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays (no evening performance Feb. 27), through March 14. Tickets are $22 for adults, $10 for children. Call 301-933-1644.

Shopping as theater

During a recent trip out of town, I attended a talk by Wendy Wasserstein. The Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright began her remarks by saying that when she was a student at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass., "I was actually studying to become a congressional intern. It means more now than it did then."

Wasserstein said she stumbled onto play-writing when a classmate suggested they enroll in a class at nearby Smith College "because there was good shopping in Northampton," where Smith is located. As a result, Wasserstein not only learned to write plays, she also said she can now analyze shopping exactly the way she would analyze a script, i.e., it has a beginning, a middle and an end, a goal, characters, etc.

The playwright added that she is currently writing an introduction to Lillian Hellman's memoirs and working on a new play about class and money in New York. A revised version of her latest Broadway play, "An American Daughter" (which ended a five-weekend run at the Spotlighters earlier this month), opens at Connecticut's Long Wharf Theatre on March 30.

Wasserstein explained that she decided to revise her Washington-based political play in part because "it takes on resonance with current events."

A poetic piece

Ron K. Williams, a Baltimore writer and member of Arena Players, will perform his one-man show, "If the World Were Like Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids," at the Dundalk Campus of the Community College of Baltimore County at noon today in the Student Lounge, College Community Center, 7200 Sollers Point Road. Williams received a Maryland State Arts Council grant for this poetic piece, which is described as a work-in-progress. The Black History Month event is free and open to the public. For information, call 410-285-9601.

Oberammergau trip

The Kaleidoscope program at Roland Park Country School, 5204 Roland Ave., will present a free preview of its trip, "The 2000 Passion Play in Oberammergau with Hidden Corners of Bavaria and Austria," at 3 p.m. March 7.

The highlight of the tour, scheduled for June 21-July 2, 2000, will be the village of Oberammergau's production of "The Passion of Christ," which has been presented every decade for more than 350 years. The trip will be led by the school's Kay Cavanaugh and Elizabeth Coxe of Wayfaring Travelers. For more information, call 410-323-5500.

Pub Date: 2/22/99

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