Friday, February 12, 2010

Killer Wedding Reception

From the Daily Triplicate in Crescent City California. Article on Del Norte High School's production of "I'm Getting Murdered In The Morning".

Written by Adam Madison, The Triplicate
The public is invited to a wedding reception Feb. 27 and it’s not going to be over until someone is dead.

It’s all part of a murder-mystery dinner theater event planned by Del Norte High School drama students, who spent part of their Saturday rehearsing in costume at the school.

“The purpose of the play is for them (audience members) to actually feel like they were at a real reception,” said Alisa Rojas, student director and maid of honor.

Attendees can expect to take part in the action, because the players will be prompting the audience’s participation, Rojas said Saturday.

The audience can even fill out a resolution card to tell the players who they think the killer is.

“They can get in on the dancing between scenes, they can catch the bouquet and they can participate during the garter toss,” Rojas said.

The production of Lee Mueller’s “I’m Getting Murdered in the Morning” begins at 7 p.m. on the school’s Multi- Purpose Room stage at 7 p.m., and it’s a Saturday-night-only event after originally being planned for two nights.

The dinner will be catered by Fabulous Foods by Julie (Violante) and includes chicken breast, rice pilaf, salads, Portuguese sweet bread and beverages. And, of course, wedding cake.

Deborah Scott, DNHS theater and English teacher, is directing the performance with Rojas’ help.

Scott said dinner theater doesn’t happen overnight.

“We came up with the idea last October, we thought something with audience participation would be fun,” said Scott.

She kept an eye on her players and held a script up as she talked about the work that goes into a murder mystery, especially one where guests can participate.

“Tasha come on get ready, Robert let’s go,” she yelled, clapping excitedly.

Along with “various strangers and dancer,” according to the playbill, more than 20 students will be acting, as well as serving food at the event. Bride Brenda Montague is played by Shannon Benn and groom Edward Crock is played by Tasha Thiessen.

The price for dinner and a play is $25 for a single person, $40 for a couple, and $17 apiece for people in groups of four or more. Tickets are available at the DNHS main office at 1301 El Dorado Street, Del Norte Office Supply at 240 I Street and from DNHS theater students.

For more information contact DNHS at 464-0274.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

What's in Store for Theatre Space

When I first entered the amateur theatre circuit in my local area, oh so many years ago, there were at best 4 or 5 groups in the city. Most of these groups were real "Mickey and Judy" type of community theatre troupes, as in: "Hey kids! Let's put on a show! We can use my Uncle's barn and my grandma can make some swell costumes!"
You know, that type of 'gung-ho, grin and show' community theatre.
All these years later, a dozen or more "new" theatre groups have emerged. Many of these new groups border on being classified as semi-professional troupes. That old mom n' pop community theatre spirit is a thing of the past. These new troupes wouldn't be caught dead producing old standards such as "Our Town", "Arsenic and Old Lace", "Blythe Spirit" or any other play that local high schools have long since worn holes in. No sir.
Most local productions now offer up Mamet, Sheppard, Albee, Durang and host of other plays written by contemporary playwrights. This trend is in fact bringing out a new audiences to live theatre as well as veteran audiences who have been numbed by a billion productions of "Bye Bye Birdie" and would love to see a play from this century.

But there's the Rub!

With so many groups springing up, the question of "space" has been an issue. One troupe may run for a season in church space only to loose it the next year. Some theatre troupes bounce from a coffee house to a school to a warehouse but never really planting roots in a given space. It's a tough existence.
At the same time, as a result of the recent economic hiccup, many local shopping malls flirted with the ambiance of "ghost towns". Vacant store after vacant store dotted the once vibrant, climate-controlled consumer landscape.
Somehow, the down trodden "Mall" collective and the Theatre group in search of a home, collided and found common ground. This common ground may have been where once people "Fell Into The Gap" but are now, filing in to see live theatre.
In fact, my own group is leasing a "store" space in a local mall and my new murder mystery play will premiere there. Yes, in the mall. Of course, they don't refer to these spaces as "mall", per se, no, they are "art spaces". Along with a host of live Theatre venues, other spaces feature Art work, pottery, photograph prints from local artists. So, yes it is an "Art Space".
In fact, another mall in a nearby suburb is also allowing Artists and Theatre groups to move into the vacant stores. Perhaps this idea will spread across the country and all the little orphaned theatre troupes will finally have a place to "play".
Mickey and Judy would be proud! Hey kids let's put on a show! We can use my Uncle's Mall!