Surf City Theatre Company is helping some of its company members stretch their talents in a production of “Who Am I This Time?,” which opens Friday, July 26, for one weekend only, at the 2nd Story Theater in Hermosa Beach.
Since its founding in 2012 by Lisa Leonard and Frank Prater, the company has built a foundation of talent on and off the stage. According to producer Nikki Parsons, who has directed and stage managed productions with Surf City, “Who Am I This Time?” features first time directors, a stage manager and actors.
“We hope to do this as a way to teach company members who want to learn a new skill for their tool belts to learn in a safe environment with mentors who can help you and all your friends to play together,” Parsons said.
“It's supposed to be a playground and training... to get people outside their comfort zone or push their skill sets and they can get a better appreciation for what other people do in theater,” added Michael Thorpe, who plays the lead character Tom in “Who Am I This Time?”
Set in Connecticut in 1962, “Who Am I This Time?” features vignettes from Kurt Vonnegut Jr. short stories about every day love in a small town.
“No one is going to die, nothing is super dramatic, but it's very real, very touching,” Parsons said. “It will speak to a lot of people.”
The character Tom narrates stories “exploring different facets of love.” He and his wife Kate, who is an actress, are having their own marital difficulties.
“The character is pretty easy for me to play because he's kind of close to me,” said Thorpe, who is also mentoring technical aspect of the production. “He's like an every day kind of guy from central Connecticut.”
Sabrina Guyll plays Tom's wife Kate, who is playing Blanche DuBois in a local production of “A Streetcar Named Desire.” With a small cast, Guyll is one of the few actors not playing multiple roles, unless you count her character portraying Blanche.
“We're in the place where it's getting a little complacent and a little maybe 'quote unquote' boring,” said Guyll of the character's marriage. “We're kind of at a crossroads where how do you keep it interesting and keep the love alive and stay together when you've been together for so many years?”
Beth Griswald plays three characters in “Who Am I This Time?,” including Tom and Kate's “sulky teen” daughter Paula.
Griswald usually works back stage doing tech work, so this production gave her a new challenge.
“Letting me stretch my actor wings is a challenge... this is not easy,” Griswald said.
The rest of the cast includes Eddy Mizner, Paula Kelly, Frank Pepito and Matt Kaufman.
“Who Am I This Time?” show times are Friday, July 26, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, July 27, at 2 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, July 28, at 2 p.m.
The 2nd Story Theater is located at 710 Pier Ave.
For more information, visit surfcitytheatre.com, or call (424) 241-8040.