Posts Tagged ‘Suzanne Avalon’

‘Three Viewings’ Play Tonight

Friday, January 6th, 2012

Three Viewings is a comedy made up of three monologues. Courtesy art.

By Marcia E. Gawecki

Tonight at 7:30 p.m., the Isis Theatre Company will present, “Three Viewings,” a three-act play by Jeffrey Hatcher at the Quiet Creek Inn Gallery . Since this is a “Reader’s Theater,” everything is pared down to a minimal set, props and only three actors.

Yet, those three actors will make all of the difference. The show, directed by Suzanne Avalon, stars Isis regulars Howard Shangraw, Ann DeWolfe and Alicia Dufour. It’s a comedy set in a funeral parlor and comprised of three bittersweet monologues. Each of the three have just lost a loved one and talk about how they plan to cope with their lives.

They’ve lost, are longing and are uncertain. Yet, to pull it off, each of these actors must practice restraint.

For one, Howard Shangraw, will do a great job. He has to. He heads up the Theater Department at Idyllwild Arts Academy. A couple years ago, Howard wowed Idyllwild audiences in his portrayal as an East German transvestite in Doug Wright’s Pulitzer Prize Winning play, “I Am My Own Wife.” Onstage, Howard played multiple characters. Not an easy feat indeed.

Howard won’t have to play more than one person tonight, but you can bet that his performance will make you laugh, cry and cheer for him. After all, his theater students are returning from Winter Break this weekend, and this will be his last chance in the spotlight.

The Isis Theatre Company will present “Three Viewings” tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Quiet Creek Gallery, located at 54300 North Circle Drive (next to the Rustic Theater). The Quiet Creek Gallery grants its gallery space for free for community events such as tonight’s show. Tickets are $12 and seating is limited to about 50.

For more information, contact Suzanne Avalon at (951) 692-9553 or visit www.isistheatrecompany.com.

Copyright 2012 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

‘Our Town’ Play Opens Friday

Thursday, July 7th, 2011

Courtesy photo. Isis Theatre Company.

By Marcia E. Gawecki

“‘Our Town’ is one of the most beloved American plays of all time,” said Suzanne Avalon, head of the Isis Theatre Company of Idyllwild. “We are Grover’s Corners.”

Suzanne was talking about a play which opens tonight, one that has many similarities to Idyllwild. It’s set in a small New Hampshire town and focuses on the daily lives of its residents. Although it’s set in 1901, Suzanne said it’s a timeless piece.

“Sure, we have a lot more technology now, but it’s about what we do in our everyday lives–our attitudes, how we cope and treat our neighbors,” she said.

“One thing that this play teaches us is that things go by quickly, and we forget to pay attention to how wonderful it al is,” Suzanne added.

The three-act play focuses on a young couple, as they go through life’s stages of falling in love, marriage and death.

“The playwright, Thornton Wilder, broke barriers with this play,” Suzanne explained. “He looked at things askew.”

“Our Town” is portrayed with minimal props and costumes, and audience members are not distracted by pageantry, thereby focusing on the words, she said.

Howard Shangraw (center) with Nelms McKelvain and friend

Gemini Anderson plays the female lead, Emily Webb. She is a current theater student at Idyllwild Arts, now on summer break. In fact, Howard Shangraw, who heads up the academy’s theater department, is also in the play.

“He plays plays Simon Stimson, a drunk choir director,” Suzanne said.

In the past, Howard has directed and acted in many Isis Theatre productions, including “I Am My Own Wife,” about an East German transvestite. However, this is the first Isis production for Gemini.

“Gemini is a treasure, and Rebecca, Zora and Chris,” Suzanne said of the young actors. “They found themselves and even though it’s a period piece, they have embodied their characters.”

In one rehearsal, Suzanne said she was so enthralled by their performances that she missed her cue. As a favor to the director, she’s going to play Emily’s mother. It’s also a tribute to her own mother who once played Emily.

There are 18 actors in the “Our Town” production, including many “extras” from Idyllwild.

“We had about a half dozen show up for the audition,” Suzanne said. “Some had never acted before, and wanted to try it and ‘see how it feels.'”

She gave many of them speaking parts, and only turned one or two away.

“I think it’s important to incorporate our town into ‘Our Town,'” Suzanne said.

Ana Lia Lenchantin, originally from Argentina, is in the cast of "Our Town."

Emily Heebner, a veteran Broadway actress, directs the show. Susan Hegarty is the stage manager and moderator. The cast includes Howard Shangraw, Suzanne Avalon, Marshall Smith, Chris Morse, Gemini Anderson, Jeri Greene, Jim Crandall, Duane Minard, Ana Lia Lenchantin, Chris Murphy, Zora Schoner and Chad Jones.

Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. this Friday, July 8 and run through Sunday, July 10. A pre-curtain reception starts at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $18 for general admission, or $15 for seniors and students. The Caine Learning Center is located at 54385 Pine Crest Avenue in Idyllwild.

For more information, call (951) 692-9553 or visit www.isistheatrecompany.com.

Copyright 2011 Idyllwild Me. All rights reserved.

Published on: Jul 7, 2011 @ 23:35

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