Jake Liam McGuire as Yank, Nick Homick as Paddy and Maux Samuel as Stoker 1 in Eugene ONeills The Hairy Ape. June 2013
This marquis was painted by one of our many supporters, Shelley Malcolm in 2006. If you wold like to SUPPORT THE SPOT click here to find out how.
We reached our goal for 501c3 and greatly overestimated the time it would take to raise it!! So here we are with 37 days left in our campaign and now way to end it early to receive our funds. Within 5 days of the campaign starting, we shattered the $1000 mark!! Thanks to the help of so many generous supporters. Since we are unable to collect our funds until the campaign is over and we are not allowed to end the campaign earlier than the time we had initially allotted, we have decided to extend the purpose of the campaign to sponsoring our upcoming season!
Thank you to everyone who participated in helping raise $1,000 to finalize the process of applying for 501c3 status. The paperwork has all been prepared and now we just need to mail it in. Thanks so much for all of the support!! We look forward to seeing you soon at THE SPOT!
Hey SPOT fans!! We are adding a performance to the run of The Hairy Ape. This monday night at 8pm will be our final performance and it is specifically for other theater folks in the are who aren’t able to make it on the weekends. All are welcome. All tickets are $10 and can only be purchased at the door. If you can’t make it Monday, we have 4 more performances this weekend!! Last chance, don’t miss this show. Look for a review in the ticket tomorrow!
Dick Davis, a lowly lounge lizard ‘has-been’, is very lucky to have found Richard Carr a pianist that remains the only glue holding their jazz act together. An act, that is slowly dying from cirrhosis of the liver on top of other non-professional habits displayed by the only….and possibly last Richard Davis.
Yank Smith, a brutish stoker on board a freighter, is appalled when Mildred Douglas, a society girl forced by circumstance to travel as a passenger, visits the stokehole and recoils at the filthy, sweating Yank. A powerhouse of a man with a primitive confidence, Yank has never been looked down on before nor suffered the insult “hairy ape” flung at him by the rich girl. At first he seeks vengeance for the insult, but broods over it until more than anything, he desires to understand it. When the ship reaches port, he seeks her out in her upper class surroundings, determined to grasp the meaning of the encounter.
Tuesdays With Morrie opened last night and we have a wonderful show. The audience was extremely receptive and very moved. If you haven’t got your tickets yet, do it now, because they won’t last long. Congratulations to Kirk Scott and Darren Doran for an excellent performance.
What I love about Dog Sees God is that not everyone will. Amid the safe, watered-down nostalgia so ubiquitous from Cambria to Oceano emerges a play that would turn all of that nonsense on its head. Rather than provide an escape into the past, Bert V. Royal’s Dog Sees God pulls Charles Schulz’s icons of innocence and Americana ruthlessly into the present. A teenaged Charlie Brown is questioning his sexuality, and, after the death of his beloved beagle, the existence of God. Lucy’s in jail for arson. Sally’s a goth—this week, anyway. Yes, Royal has corrupted the kids from Peanuts. Is nothing sacred?
Dog Sees God, currently playing at the Arroyo Grande theater The Spot, is directed by the venue’s owner and artistic director, Jake McGuire. The show, which boasts a cast of professional actors, some of whom are from out of the area, is both wickedly funny and surprisingly dark. The opening scene has CB, played by Steven Freitas, sadly writing his pen pal about how Snoopy died of rabies—and by the way, he also ate Woodstock. (Though the play avoids referring to its characters by their comic-strip names, it’s immediately clear who they’re supposed to be.) Set design is sparse yet thoughtful, befitting the simple but deftly drawn world from which our teenaged heroes spring to life. As CB tells his sad and alarmingly medically accurate story, he crouches on an abandoned red doghouse, which sits alone on the empty stage, looking comically pitiful.
At the dog funeral, only CB’s insolent little sister (Kat Endsley) turns up, smoking what appears to be—gasp!—a real cigarette, and sporting fishnets, eyeliner, boots, and some kind of tutu thing that recalls the self-important way Sally’s dress always seemed to stick straight out. Endsley, as teenaged Sally, exudes just the right sort of brattiness. Her character is, like many younger siblings, loveably lost, though she is at times flippantly insensitive, almost heartless.
Freitas, with his tousled brown hair; youthful, inquisitive looks; and modest shuffle, very much resembles a teenaged Charlie Brown, and it’s easy to see why McGuire cast him in the role.
Charlie Brown, being made in the image of his creator—the late Charles Schulz, that is; who did you think I was talking about?—always seemed to embody a kind of innocence and wonder. It was Charlie who believed against all proof to the contrary that, this time, Lucy would at last let him punt the ball. As CB, this naïveté gives way to restless philosophical pondering. CB’s earnest search for existential meaning drives the play forward, as he approaches each one of the characters in turn and asks for their views on God, and heaven, and what actually happens when we die.
Linus reappears as the gangly stoner Van (played wonderfully by Jared Dawson) who shares Buddhist theories on life after death. Peppermint Patty becomes the snotty Tricia (Marnie Knight), who, flanked by BFF Marcy (Ashley Moses) at the cool kids’ table, snorts that, duh, people go to heaven because the Bible says so—but not dogs, stupid. Duh.
Walking in on a tortured yet well-dressed young pianist everyone refers to as Beethoven, as he practices Chopin alone during lunch hour, CB gets a dose of reality. Beethoven (Von Lewis) doesn’t give a shit about CB’s dead dog, nor his existential troubles. Why should he, Beethoven asks, when CB stands idly by while the mean, wiry, violently homophobic Matt (Nicholis Sheley) taunts him every day in the halls for being gay?
The writing at moments like this is exquisite, and one doesn’t find it hard to believe that something in Beethoven’s heartrending monologue has struck a chord: Suddenly, CB realizes he very well might be in love with him.
Trouble begins to brew, however, when CB, in an innocent show of affection, manages to humiliate Beethoven at Marcy’s party. What follows is a show of teen angst and cruelty so raw it instantly summons in its audience the forgotten traumas of our own collective adolescence.
The premise of Dog Sees God would all be overwhelmingly heavy if it weren’t tempered by so many moments of gratifying humor, as when Sally treats us to a hilariously shitty piece of performance art, or when CB visits a delinquent Lucy in jail, where she’s been ever since she set fire to the Little Red-Haired Girl’s perfect coif (yes!). Ellen Jones, a recent Cal Poly graduate, is deliciously deranged as Lucy—who always kind of had a screw loose, now that I think about it. What’s more, Jones, in a dark wig, looks surprisingly like the character. As Lucy offers her cynical advice, then extends a cuffed hand, coolly announcing “That’ll be five cents, please,” one can’t help but fall in love with these comically misguided Peanuts all over again.
Arts Editor Anna Weltner believes in the Great Pumpkin. Contact her at email@example.com.
When CB’s dog dies from rabies, CB begins to question the existence of an afterlife. His best friend is too burnt out to provide any coherent speculation; his sister has gone goth; his ex-girlfriend has recently been institutionalized; and his other friends are too inebriated to give him any sort of solace. But a chance meeting with an artistic kid, the target of this group’s bullying, offers CB a peace of mind and sets in motion a friendship that will push teen angst to the very limits. Drug use, suicide, eating disorders, teen violence, rebellion and sexual identity collide and careen toward an ending that’s both haunting and hopeful.
Tickets on sale NOW!! For information about the cast and crew, click on the link below!!
This Sunday December 2nd from 4-8 pm, The Village of Arroyo Grande will be hosting an Elegant Christmas. Owners and employees of all the shops and restaurants will be decked out in their tuxes and evening gowns and we encourage you to do the same and come join us. Most of the businesses will be offering complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres and we are no exception. Come see The Village in all of it’s elegant glory!