Torrance Theatre Company newest venture, PLAY-AT-HOME, presents a series of free online theatrical experiences, each designed to entertain audiences during the stay-at-home orders. All artists involved, including cast, crew, and technical staff are volunteering their time and talent to bring different plays to life via online platforms every other Sunday so you can enjoy great entertainment from the comfort and safety of your own home, Their hope is to bring a little laughter and levity into the world so that together we can still enjoy part of what makes theatre so special to each of us.
On Sunday, June 14 at 6 p.m., I tuned in and really enjoyed SLOW FOOD, playwright Wendy MacLeod’s tender comedy that delves deeply into what we hunger for, be it food, attention or love. The 90-minute play centers on Irene and Peter (Cindy Shields and Glenn Kelman) who just want to have a nice meal out while celebrating their anniversary in Palm Springs. But their highly neurotic waiter, Stephen (Daniel Tennant), prefers to talk rather than bring them their food or drinks. As the couple waits, they examine their past and future together, as well as learn about the tough week poor Stephen has had. But they soon realize even with the best intentions, everything seems to be going horribly, ridiculously wrong… and hilarity ensues!
The comedic brilliance of the cast, as well as director Perry Shields positioning of Tennant’s waiter in the center of the screen, with Tennant’s enthusiastic glancing back and forth between the couple “seated” at either side of him, really made it seem we were viewing these three hysterical characters in the Greek restaurant where the meal was taking place – even though each appeared in their own “box” on screen and were not really together in the same room. The quality of this production definitely proved that the show will go on, just online for now!
Torrance Theatre Company continues its online series on Sunday, June 28 at 6 p.m. with ‘Shooting Star’ by Stephen Dietz, directed by Cary Jordahl, featuring Jennifer Faneuff and Gary Kresca. Snowed in overnight at a middle-America airport, college lovers Elena Carson and Reed McAllister have an unexpected and life-altering reunion. Elena has stayed true to her hippie-ish, counter-culture path, while Reed has gone predictably corporate and conservative. As the night gives way to laughter, banter, remembrance and alcohol, Elena and Reed revisit a past that holds more surprises than they imagined – and a present that neither of them could have predicted. Filled with laughter and ache, ‘Shooting Star’ is a bittersweet romantic comedy about the middle days of our lives, and how we got there.
On Sunday, July 12 at 6 p.m., tune in for ‘Kalamazoo,’ written by Michelle Kholos Brooks and Kelly Younger, directed by Gary Kresca, featuring Diana Mann and John Mann as Peg and Irv, two quirky but endearing baby-boomers, who bravely venture into the world of modern dating. But when these opposites attract, they discover love isn’t any easier the second time around in this romantic comedy about life’s second act and learning you’re never too old to be young.
The final play in the series is ‘All the Days’, written by Sharyn Rothstein, directed by Rachel Baumsten, the reading features Melody Cohen, Geraldine Fuentes, Nathan Gebhard, Andy Kallock, David McGee, Declan Sullivan and Amanda Webb, to be presented on Sunday, July 26 at 6 p.m. The story centers on Miranda, who has done everything in her power to create a family completely different than the one from which she came. But after a painful loss, Miranda suffers a lapse of judgment and invites her hilarious, complicated, and self-destructive mother Ruth to stay with her before her son’s bar mitzvah. As other needy family members show up in search of connection and second chances, will they all stay in one piece for the 13-year-old’s festivities? It’s a warm and heart-filled comedy about the scars of childhood and finding love, all grown up.
Audience members must register to attend each show at www.TorranceTheatreCompany.com/playathome and will receive a private link via email which will allow them access to the online performances. There is no cost to view the plays, but donations are encouraged. It’s a great way to be entertained with Sunday night dinner theater at home while supporting one of our great local theater groups!