Bits 'n' Pieces: 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf' encourages acting out

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Who's afraid of going to the theater?

Don't be. Just be aware that Clark College's current production of the Edward Albee masterpiece "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" is no walk in the park.

"It's difficult, it's uncomfortable, it's long. It will challenge our students and our audiences," said director Mark Owsley. "It's hugely challenging to the cast."

If that doesn't sound like fun, remember this: "It's an American classic," Owsley said. One that won a Tony Award for best play and would have won a Pulitzer Prize, except the award trustees rejected that decision because of language and themes that were controversial -- back in 1962.

The setting of the play is the interior of a troubled marriage, and the most painful dinner party on record. George and Martha are hard-drinking, hard-fighting spouses who don't let the presence of a younger couple blunt their sparring. By the end of act three, when they've delved so deeply into their illusions and fantasies that you can't imagine more, Owsley said, "there's a jaw-dropping twist."

"Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" will be performed at 7:30 p.m. today; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 10; and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 15-17 at Clark College, 1933 Fort Vancouver Way. Tickets are $12, $10 for seniors and $8 for students and alumni.-- Scott Hewitt

Italian cookbook author has ties to Clark College

photoNicola Tarallo

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When Nicola Tarallo of Gaeta, Italy, spent 2009-10 at Clark College completing the academic preparatory program for English learners, his favorite foodie hangout was Little Italy's Trattoria.

Tarallo recalls holidays spent with his grandmother, mother and aunts gathered around the wood-fired oven, "learning the secrets passed down through many generations," he said.

He, too, learned the secrets, and he's shared them in his cookbook, "Mangia Tiella!" The e-book, complete with photos and instructional videos, pays homage to tiella, a regional dish made of thin layers of dough crimped around the edges to enclose a seafood or vegetable filling.

Tarallo says la tiella can be found in every bakery, pizzeria and grill in Gaeta; it's served hot or cold and is always eaten with one's hands.

His grandmother Maria's tiella is "the best and the most delicious you could ever imagine," he said, noting that in perfect tiella, the edges of the two pastry layers must be sealed in the shape of waves of the ocean.

He's kept ties with Clark College and Susan Taylor, the international student adviser. He recently donated his cookbook to an auction basket at a Clark fundraising event. In addition to two cookbooks, Tarallo also has written travel books about his beloved Gaeta, a coastal town south of Rome. Visit La Dolce Gaeta.

— Susan Parrish

Bits 'n' Pieces appears Fridays and Saturdays. If you have a story you'd like to share, email bits@columbian.com.