Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Jason Coming to Eureka

Cornerstone Theater Company, the Los Angeles group famous for its collaborations with communities it visits, is preparing a production in Eureka which will be performed August 6-8.

The process began about eight months ago, with visits by the playwright, Peter Howard and others from the company, making contacts and gathering information. Howard worked out a story that combines the myth of Jason and the Argonauts with Eureka history and present day reality. Last week, the rest of the Cornerstone people involved in the production arrived, headquartered at St. Bernard's School, hosted by Sanctuary Stage.

The Cornerstone process involves participation by local people in most facets of the production, including on stage, so auditions are being held this week. The last scheduled audition is today, July 14, between 1:30 and 4:30 pm at St. Bernard's Elementary School. The first auditions were held at the Ink People.

"No experience is necessary to participate" their statements say, but professional actors from Cornerstone will be on hand to help everyone out. There are no age, gender or other restrictions for potential participants, as long as they can take direction. The final script will reflect who shows up and participates.

So if you're interested and can't make it to St. Bernard's this afternoon, call 1-800-385-7791 and you can probably arrange for a suitable time. Rehearsals will be at the Blue Ox Millworks, which is also where the production will be.

Saturday we met some of the people already working on the production at St. Bernard's. Everyone from Cornerstone was open and engaged, and they seem to have a well worked out process for combining professional theatre with community participation. An early script looks promising. Playwright Peter Howard seems sensitive to the possible pitfalls of outsiders coming in--he used the word "presumptuous" several times, as something they don't want to be. On the other hand, an outside point of view can see patterns and hear music that it's harder for people who live here to see and hear.

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