Die-hard film buffs won't want to miss "Rashomon," a Japanese film with English subtitles different from the usual Hollywood movies that feature sex, action and special effects. "Rashomon," directed by Akira Kurosawa and released in 1951, is still about sex, action and special effects, but Kurosawa had more on his mind.

Using a flashback technique, Kurosawa explores the nature of truth by telling four versions of a murder, a rape and a theft. Was it murder or suicide? Rape or participation? If theft, who is the culprit? In 88 minutes, Kurosawa leaves these questions for the audience to answer and interpret.

"Rashomon" is the fourth in a classic foreign film series sponsored by Ventura College. It will be shown Friday at 7 p.m. in room UV-2 at Ventura College, 4667 Telegraph Road, Ventura. Tickets are $2.50 at the door. Call (805) 654-6462 for more information.


Most actors dread playing to a rowdy crowd, but the Magnificent Moorpark Melodrama & Vaudeville Co. is looking for a noisy crowd with a sense of fun for its performance of "Sagebrush Gang."

This is a musical of the Old West, when men were men and women were called ma'am. Be ready to boo and cheer as villains and heroes stride across stage. It's Willie White versus Black Bart, with Dirty Jake and Mayor Snodgrass along to complicate matters. And Dolly Diamond, who has been married seven times, and Miss Kitty and Sarah Allgood round out the cast.

Show times are at 7 p.m. Thursday and Sunday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with matinees at 4 p.m. on Saturdays at 45 E. High St., Moorpark.

Tickets are $10, $7.50 for seniors and children under 12 at the Saturday matinee, Thursday and Sunday shows. Call (805) 529-1212 for more information.


Theater devotees interested in finding local talent this weekend should stop by the annual One-Act Play Festival sponsored by the Ventura College Performing Arts Department.

Better be prepared to play musical chairs, since the audience will move from venue to venue for each show.

It starts with "Phone Play," a look at adolescent relationships and how they weather surprises, in the Circus Theater.

The audience will move outdoors to watch "A Good Touch," which involves two sisters--a wallflower psychic and a self-absorbed socialite agent--who take up with a pretty airhead and her jock-turned-salesman boyfriend.

Then it is off to the main stage of the Ventura College Theater for "A Tangled Snarl," a takeoff on the murder mystery genre of the 1940s. The hero is private detective Spuds Idaho, who has been asked to help a mysterious, seductive woman.

The audience will move back to the Circus Theater for the final show, "Saxophone Music," the story of two runaway mental patients trying to survive in New York.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, March 16 through 24, and at 2:30 p.m. on March 18 and 25 at Ventura College, 4667 Telegraph Road in Ventura. Tickets are available at the door; $5, $3 seniors and $2.50 for groups of 10 or more. Call (805) 654-6462 for more information.


Since the Gull Wings Children's Museum in Oxnard opened its doors in May, 1989, more than 4,000 children have known the joy of being in a place where they can touch everything.

A hands-on learning environment, the museum is filled with science experiments, a "granny's attic" that introduces children to artifacts from Ventura County's history, a "touch and see" section that promotes tactile development, an oversized loom for weaving, a model train children can operate and a native American section that includes a tepee that children can climb in, on, and around.

The exhibits are aimed at children ages 4-12, according to Director Patricia James, but a toddler section can accommodate younger siblings who are accompanied by an adult.

The museum is located at 418 W. 4th Street, Oxnard. Admission is $1.50 for children, $3 for adults. For more information, call (805) 483-3005.

Lost in Translation Ever wonder what a French movie would look like if it were being performed by actors who don't speak French and then translated into English by another set of actors who don't know the plot?

Ventura Area TheatreSport, an improvisational troupe, will provide the chance to bring this and other far-fetched fantasies to life in a performance Saturday at the City Bakery in Ventura.

The amateur group, which operates on principles developed by a Canadian theater professor after pondering a wrestling match, will choose from a grab bag of between 15 and 20 "games" or scenarios, including "Dubbing," the linguistic fantasy mentioned above.

Other games include "Typewriter," in which the actors are given a made-up title by the audience and must improvise a story in a certain genre such as horror or romance, and "What Are You Doing?" in which two actors try to trap each other in a web of lies.

City Bakery is at 2358-C Main St., Ventura. The show begins at 8:45 p.m. The cost is $2.

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