Romeo & Juliet for Cinnabar Theater's Young Rep
30 young actors between the ages of 13 and 18 brought this classic to life with early aughts hits and lots of blood.
Santa Rosa Junior College's 13.1 Styles Showcase
The most advanced acting course offered at SRJC culminates in a showcase. The professor is responsible for weaving the scenes together in a full production. Students did selected scenes from plays by Shaw, Chekhov, and a couple of English Restoration playwrights, interspersed with classical covers of pop songs, dances, and cheeky emceeing.
Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood for NUEVA
An incredible program I wish I'd had as a teenager. This high school is an odd mix of public and charter arts school. I was given 11 actors, all juniors and seniors, and about 60 other production students. Each semester the school contracts a local theater artist to select a play and direct it. I was told these young actors needed a positive story after Covid and wild fires decimated their high school experience. A number of the actors identified as LGBTQ+, nonbinary, or used she/her pronouns. I decided on this queer and gorgeous adaptation of Robin Hood, which recently (it's 2023) made headlines for being banned in an Indiana school for its queer themes and validation of a nonbinary character. The students absolutely loved it and, of course, I added a soundtrack: 1980s femme punk and pop rock. Poly Styrene, Joan Jett, Siouxsie, and several much more obscure women of punk were featured during epic fight scenes, transitions, and a very over the top love scene involving shooting arrows from a giant tree.
Mackenzie Beth for 6th Street Playhouse
I helped launch 6th Streets now thriving education program with this teen production of Macbeth, set in a high school with Billie Eilish underscoring. "You should see me in a crown"... Come on, it lends itself to the play. The bard would approve. The witches were a trio of nonbinary goths playing with dark arts, the politics largely online. Each actor got a personalized iPhone prop. We used cyberbullying in lieu of physical violence, which turned out to be timely. During our rehearsal process the Wall Street Journal broke the story of Facebook concealing its awareness that its social media platforms are legitimately harmful to teens.