Drama takes on a full semester


If you’ve never witnessed a play performed by the Dramatic Arts Department of Los Medanos College, this semester is a perfect opportunity for you to make up for lost time. You’re especially in luck if you enjoy comedic or socially relevant works, as the scheduled shows have an overall comic and whimsical attitude or are reminiscent of today’s civil rights commentary.

“All of our plays are really exciting and fun. We are pretty comedy-heavy this semester, but I don’t think anyone ever complains about laughing too much,” said Drama Department Chair Nick Garcia of the planned shows.

The semester kicks off with the classics — sort of. The first show, “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare,” also known as “The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr,” is a satirical spin on Shakespeare’s play collection directed by former LMC student John Dunn. The first show opens at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 7 and will run through Sept. 9 in the Little Theater.

Auditions for all shows began and ended a few weeks before fall classes started.       When asked who the leads were in the shows, Garcia said, “I’m usually pretty nervous about saying ‘these are the leads’ because what we’re really doing is casting a team. Even with a play that seems like it has a lead, one person cannot make or break a show.” Although casting is over, Garcia said students interested in the productions may still drop by his office to work out how they may become involved.

“We’re looking for people who are fearless, work well, and listen.”

When choosing what shows to put on, the department chair opened up the decision to his students. The students work out in teams what they may want to perform and collectively decide on a show.

“I want to say passion motivates our decision more than anything else. The students are just moving ahead and making their vision and dreams come to life,” said Garcia.

Along with choosing and performing their own shows, two students are directing them this semester. Student John Brown is making his directing debut with the drama “The Meeting,” a show based on a supposed meeting between civil rights activists Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. on the night of Malcolm X’s assassination. This selection comes to LMC as a thought-provoking historical reference crucial to the narrative of today’s Black Lives Matter movement that is sure to be on the minds of audience members. You may attend this show, which runs from Sept. 21 through Sept. 23 in the Little Theater.

If you enjoy religious-themed spoofs, save your money for Oct. 13-17 and Oct. 19-24 for the show “Brother Gary,” directed by drama professor Jack Nicolaus, in the Little Theater. The show consists of a group of monks in an Italian Monastery that deal with the annoying “Brother Gary.” The play was written by Ramiz Monsef, a friend of a professor at LMC.

After that production, professional artist Brian Quijada will guest-star and be performing his original work, “Where Did We Sit on the Bus?” from Nov. 7-11.

This one-man play has been making its way across the country, sharing an autobiographical story about a young Latino boy who asks his teacher where his skin color would have placed him on the bus that Rosa Parks rode. Through spoken word and charming musical numbers, Quijada asks his audience to think about what it means to grow up as a Latino-American.

To wrap up the semester, Garcia will be directing “Boeing, Boeing,” a 1965 farce by French playwright Marc Camoletti. In 2008, the show was produced on Broadway and a Tony Award was won for Best Revival of a Play.

Garcia chose to end the semester with this story about Bernard, a bachelor happily juggling three stewardesses that are all oblivious to the fact that he is engaged to each one. Ridiculousness ensues when his balancing act of a schedule is thrown off by the introduction of new, faster Boeing 747 jets that allow the stewardesses to all arrive at his Paris apartment at the same time.

He reflects on why he has chosen to fill this semester with humorous plays, “With all the stuff that is happening in the world right now, what I think we need is laughter­, finding a fun escape for the community to come together and just laugh and remember all the nice parts of being human.”