As we make our way on into June and move ever closer to the OFFICIAL beginning of summer, I hope you will plan on including going to a couple of shows at any number of the various live performance and theatre venues here on the Central Coast of California!
The Spot (https://www.facebook.com/#!/hit.the.spot) will present the Poetic Justice Project’s (http://poeticjusticeproject.org/) Planet of Love June 8-17.
Written by Deborah Tobola and directed by Molly Williams Stuckey, with musical direction by Mark Stuckey, the play follows an amorous alien who lands in the middle of a prison yard on Earth, only to mistake his new surroundings for Heaven and the inmates for angels. He gradually transforms the prison with his loving touch. "There's this thing in prison where kindness is seen as weakness. We wanted to turn that on its head," Tobola explains.
With its large cast and elaborate costumes and sets - designed by Milly Benson and Bo Richards, respectively, Planet of Love is a departure from past Poetic Justice Project productions, which include the dramas Blue Train, Off the Hook and Women Behind the Walls. The latter, a stripped-down version of Claire Braz-Valentine's play, opened in 2011 on San Francisco's famed Alcatraz Island, while Tobola's Off the Hook toured prison towns through the state.
Stuckey and Tobola acknowledge the challenges of working with largely untrained actors who must juggle rehearsals with work, school, court hearings and probation meetings (scheduling conflicts forced them to recast some of Planet of Love's 20 parts, played by 17 actors). At the same time, Stuckey says, these fearless performers will "try anything you ask them to do. They just lose their inhibitions and give it their all."
Ideally, Tobola says, audience members will walk away with fresh insight into the correctional system. "It's a very difficult subculture to penetrate unless you're locked up, visiting or working there," she says, noting that there's a talk-back session after every performance.
"I hope that the audiences see people that have been incarcerated in a different light," Tobola says. "These are real people. They are not monsters. They're people who have made mistakes and are trying to find a way back to their lives."
SLO Little Theatre’s (www.slolittletheatre.org) current mainstage production, The House of Blue Leaves, directed by Jill Turnbow, will run through June 17 (NOTE: Saw the opening weekend Sunday matinee and this is a wonderful show with an amazing cast!). And be sure to check out the Academy of Creative Theatre’s (http://www.slolittletheatre.org/pages/classes) children & youth theatre opportunities for this spring and summer!
The Pewter Plough Playhouse (www.pewterploughplayhouse.org) in Cambria will present Six Dance Lessons In Six Weeks June 22 – July 29.
The Theatre at the Cambria Center for the Arts (http://artistsofcambria.com/cambriapac/index.html) will present DRAMARAMA - Youth Acting Classes June 4-28.
Templeton Performing Arts Center of the North County Dance and Performing Arts Foundation (http://www.northcountyperformingarts.org/) in association with Class Act Dance will present SYNERGY, a summer dance recital, on June 23.
Kelrik Productions (www.kelrikproductions.com) will present their summer musical, Grease, June 22 – July 8, and their Grades 1-10 Summer Camp/Performance Class production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr in early August.
Next up for The God Is Still Speaking Players (https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/92718528887), is a summer musical production of Snoopy – auditions July 16 & 17, performances August 31 - September 9.
Espressivo! Chamber Theatre (http://espressivotheatre.com/) will present The Botanical Engineers June 7 at Poalillo Vineyards in Paso Robles.