Dec 19, 2018
by Alexa Chipman
‘Swallow’ is a fascinating California Premiere that artistic director Elizabeth Craven calls a “poetic and unusual play.” Deeply moving and fearlessly vulnerable, Stef Smith’s writing follows three strangers who are facing difficult paths. Painfully rejected Rebecca (Michelle Maxson) is desperate for friendship. Anna (Dana Seghesio) is constantly buzzing with eccentric projects. “Nothing about Swallow is linear or simple or straightforward” according to Seghesio. Sam (Skyler Cooper) is embracing his true identity as a man. “Since gender is a spectrum, first I try to examine Sam’s comfort level,” Cooper explains. “As a transgender actor myself, I learned that comfort in one’s trans identity can be linked to a variety of conditions…I try to look for these clues in the writing.”
Originally under development in Edinburgh, ‘Swallow’ was the suggestion of Chris Ginesi, who brought it to the annual Main Stage West pitch party, where it was an instant hit. Don’t miss this singular, inclusive production, that director Missy Weaver calls “truly confounding, delightfully theatrical.”
January 11-27, 2019
Thursday/Friday/Saturday at 8:00pm, Sunday at 5:00pm
Tickets: $30 general, $25 senior, $15 student. Thursdays are “Pay What You Will.”
Main Stage West
“We do crazy things when we feel our backs pressed against the wall,” artistic director Steven David Martin suggests about the vintage comedy ‘Room Service’ that is bursting with over-the-top antics and witty banter. Gordon Miller (Schuyler Marcier) is a Broadway producer who is terribly short on money, living in a hotel and driving the manager to abstraction. His desperation to pay the bills leads to all sorts of shenanigans in the lead-up to opening night. Director Joe Gellura muses that Miller always has a Plan B, “and if Plan B doesn’t fly, he has Plan C and D in the wings.”
Constant high energy mayhem can be tiresome for the audience, so Gellura is being careful with timing. “I pick the places where I want the action to move at breakneck speed,” he explains. “Exaggerated comic characterizations are my key.” Costume designer Holly Werhner and set designer Ron Nash are working to create an authentic 1937 look that will ground the production in historical realism. The ‘Room Service’ Marx Brothers film adjusted the play to match the brothers; this production is more authentic to the original spirit of playwrights Allen Boretz and John Murray. Laugh along with the absurdity in this lively Raven Players comedy.
January 25 – February 10, 2019
Friday/Saturday at 8:00pm, Sunday at 2:00pm, Thursday January 31 at 8:00pm
Tickets: $25 general, $20 senior, $10 student. Adults and seniors are $15 on January 31.
Raven Performing Arts Center
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