It’s time to unmask Contra Costa County performers! The word is now official: Performers no longer must wear masks while performing on stage indoors. I’m so thrilled for everyone and so proud of those performers who sang operas and made us laugh in stage plays while wearing cumbersome and often uncomfortable masks. Congratulations and now, please put the masks down and walk on stage!
The caveat, however, is that everyone present must be fully vaccinated and the audience, crew and anyone not on stage must wear face coverings. Theaters and other indoor venues will need to verify that everyone is vaccinated. Contra Costa Supervisor Candace Andersen says the vaccines’ effectiveness in preventing serious illness and hospitalization was the determining factor in this slight easing of the current indoor masking mandate. For more information on the local health order, go to coronavirus.cchealth.org/health-orders.
Lafayette: Giving a voice to those who might not otherwise be heard takes center stage in Town Hall Theatre Company’s New Voices series. The Lafayette company will feature new or in-process works by an array of playwrights with a facilitated talkback at each performance. Not only does the talkback give playwrights helpful feedback, it also allows audiences an insight into the creative process.
Playwright Sean Dunnington’s “The Children’s Farm” starts the series off Oct. 8, 9, 15 and 16. Ciera Eis directs this story about Sam, who runs away to California to live with her cousins after being outed, tormented and exiled. While there, Sam finds a world where she can truly be herself. A place she calls “The Funny Farm.” Dunnington says “The Children’s Farm” is an “ode to a queer childhood with my sisters. It’s an internal look at what it means to find belonging in myself, in my own queerness, rather than from a straight gaze.”
Dunnington’s play is an honest interpretation of a child’s journey of self-discovery and family belonging, Eis says.
“Dunnington has done a great job making this play an incredibly imaginative and deeply fun dive into the world of a child through the beauty of queerness, acceptance, therapy and resilience,” says Eis.
The second entry in the New Voices series is “amémonos // let us love each other” by D. Linda Maria Girón, which will be presented in Spring 2022. For more information and tickets, go to townhall.com. Keeping everyone safe is a priority at Town Hall. The company requires proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of visiting, and masks must always be worn. Town Hall’s complete COVID policy is available at townhalltheatre.com/covid19.
Canceled again: Sadly, Clayton Theatre Company must cancel its October show “The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940” for the fourth and final time. The decision was made due to the increased cases of COVID-19 and the delta Variant in Contra Costa County.
“This was a difficult decision, but the health and safety of our valued patrons, artists, crew and staff is of the utmost importance,” said Managing Director Roxanne Pardi. “The actors had continued their commitment to the show and had started rehearsing on their own in the hopes of performing in October. The CDC, state, county and city COVID mandates were not conducive to producing a show. CTC hopes to reopen soon when it is safer to do so.”
The cancellations of this and the last seasons have placed a financial burden on the small company, which has ongoing financial commitments. If you would like to help, tax-deductible donations can be made at claytontheatrecompany.com.
Orinda: Given ticket demand, Orinda’s California Shakespeare Theater has added additional performances of “The Winter’s Tale.” Scheduled to close Sept. 26, the company has added performances at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1-2. To purchase your tickets, go to calshakes.org.
El Cerrito: Contra Costa Civic Theatre’s Reading Stage has returned with quite an interesting show. “Tigers Be Still” by Kim Rosenstock sounds like so much fun as the El Cerrito company’s production follows the misadventures of Sherry Wickman. The young woman finds herself moving back home after earning her master’s degree in art therapy but not finding a job. An unexpected employment opportunity gives her a renewed sense of purpose and hope.
So far, it sounds like a nice little comedy, but the description of the action really makes me want to check this out. Here’s what it says about Sherry’s predicament: “Now if only her mother would come downstairs, her sister would get off the couch, her very first therapy patient would do just one of his take-home assignments, her new boss would leave his gun at home and someone would catch the tiger that escaped from the local zoo, everything would be just perfect.”
The reading takes place at 7 p.m. Sept. 13 on Zoom with a suggested donation of $10. For more information, go to ccct.org.
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Author: Sally Hogarty