• The Story Behind the Photo: SCR Company on the Beach

    by 
    Tania Thompson
     | Oct 02, 2020
    SCR on the Beach
    Click photo to enlarge.
    SCR Beach IDs
    Select the image above to see the ID's.

    Fifty-two years ago, half way through South Coast Repertory's third season, in December 1968, this band of theatre adventurers gathered on the beach in Newport for a company photo. South Coast Repertory, halfway through its third season.

    This group did most everything to bring productions to life, says Founding Artistic Director David Emmes—acting, making costumes, building sets and more.

    This photo was taken for a mid-season subscription brochure sent out in January 1969; the large piece of plywood in the photo had “69” printed on it when it appeared in that mailing. “At the time,” Emmes says, “it was just a photo for a brochure. Now, of course, it is of immense value as it brings individual life and creative texture to our history.”

    Emmes, actor Hal Landon Jr., playwright and dramaturg Jerry Patch and Founding Artistic Director Martin Benson are all in the photo. Can you find them? Whom else do you recognize?

  • The Story Behind the Photo: "The Velveteen Rabbit"

    by 
    Tania Thompson
     | Oct 01, 2020
    Velveteen Rabbit
    ​Amielynn Abellera and​ Ricky Abilez in ​SCR's 2019 Theatre for Young Audiences ​production of ​The Velveteen Rabbit. Photo by ​Debora Robinson.

    The Velveteen Rabbit

    For nearly a century, author Margery Williams’ beloved classic has captivated and charmed children and adults, alike. Lonely and forgotten, a stuffed rabbit longs to be real. When another toy is lost, he quickly becomes a little boy’s new favorite. As the rabbit’s dapper appearance gets worn and shabby from play, a wonderful change begins to happen. A moving story about the power of love—and a little bit of magic. SCR produced Janet Allard’s stage adaptation of the story.

    Director Beth Lopes helmed South Coast Repertory’s production of The Velveteen Rabbit in 2019 (part of the Theatre for Young Audiences Family​ Series). The touching, timeless tale came vividly to life through the creative team that Lopes assembled and through the cast. Lopes selected the photo above as an important moment from the play.

    What does this moment depict?

    This is the final moment of the show. The Boy sees a familiar-looking rabbit in the woods and wonders if this rabbit could be his rabbit. 

    How did you work to make this moment happen?

    Because this was the last time we were seeing these characters, it was very important to me to be able to clearly see both of their faces. Staging that was a bit tricky, though, because they're supposed to be looking at each other. We decided to put Velveteen behind the Boy, with them both looking out, to accomplish the task of seeing their expressions fully, but also to emphasize the distance that is now between them. And it was easier to see the Velveteen Rabbit if the Boy was on his knees (which also reinforces how small an actual rabbit would be!) and if Velveteen was off the ground a bit. Having our actress stand on the tree platform [toward the back of the stage] gave her some height and the gorgeous magical tree as a background. 

    What’s the power/depth/humor/other emotion about this moment?

    I've always thought of this moment as a chance encounter with someone that you had been very close to at one point in your life. There might be an eye lock or a nod from a distance, but no real words need to be spoken. The Boy and Velveteen understand that they are on diverging paths from one another now, but they both can also recognize how formative they were for each other. It's a very bittersweet moment, encapsulating the beauty and pain of what it means to grow up.

    What else would you like to say about the photo or The Velveteen Rabbit? This was one of my very favorite projects. I’m very grateful for the trip down memory lane!

  • A Feast Your Senses—"Ten Dollar Taco"

    by 
    Tania Thompson
     | Sep 04, 2020
    Ten Dollar Taco Logo

    About SCR commUNITY

    SCR commUNITY is the theatre’s new digital platform dedicated to amplifying the artists and narratives of our region by producing stories inspired by or about the rich diversity of people living in Southern California.

    Although inspired by a real restaurant, Ten Dollar Taco is a work of fiction. We are grateful to the restaurant industry for their continued service and dedication to our community under the distressing conditions of COVID-19.

    Radio plays—theatre of the mind, where images are created only through dialogue and sound—are enjoying a renaissance and we have a delicious one for you: Ten Dollar Taco by Juliette Carrillo.

    This radio play, commissioned by South Coast Repertory as part of its SCR commUNITY series, will have its world premiere, directed by Carrillo, with music and sound design by David R. Molina. Ten Dollar Taco features artists from the Claire Trevor School of the Arts at the University of California, as well as others from throughout the Southern California community.

    Part fantasy, part adventure and part archeological dig, Ten Dollar Taco is an exciting new work that explores the playwright’s growing connection to the culinary artistry of her Mexican and Californian heritage.

    Ten Dollar Taco is the final installment of a three-part SCR commUNITY series, titled El Teatro de la Comida, exploring the legacy, history and family lineage of food.

    “Since every recipe has a lineage and a story, how do we reach back into the past and embrace the traditions of our ancestors?” asks Carrillo. “I’m interested in how recipes, smells and tastes live in our DNA; more specifically, in the Latinx community.”

    Juliette Carrillo is a nationally recognized theatre director, writer, playwright and award-winning filmmaker from Los Angeles. She has directed critically acclaimed productions across the country including plays at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Seattle Rep, South Coast Repertory, Magic Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company and Yale Repertory Theatre. She is known for developing new plays and has done numerous workshops regionally as well New York City theatres such as The Public, New York Theatre Workshop, INTAR Theatre and The Women’s Project. As an ensemble member of Cornerstone Theater, she has collaborated with numerous communities in writing and directing original work including with the East Salinas farm workers, seniors and their caregivers, and the Los Angeles River community. Carrillo was an SCR artistic associate, directed regularly and ran the Hispanic Playwright’s Project, collaborating with successful Latino writers across the country, including Pulitzer Prize-winner Nilo Cruz and Oscar Award-nominated José Rivera.

    David R. Molina is a composer, multi-instrumentalist, sound artist, music producer and instrument inventor. Over the past 24 years, he has created music for all the performing arts, multimedia installations, film and radio, performed with many bands and produced albums nationally and internationally. He has worked with Juliette Carrillo for most of those years. Molina recently composed music and sound for Octavio Solis’ Quixote Nuevo, which toured last fall and winter to Connecticut, Boston and Houston. His honors include an Ovation Award for Sound Design (2009). His invented instruments, made from salvaged and discarded materials, have been featured at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Broad Museum (Los Angeles), Oakland Museum of California, McLoughlin Gallery, and SOMArts (San Francisco). He has collaborated with bands including TAU (Berlin), Emanative (U.K.) and El Paso (Peru). Molina’s bands are Impuritan, Ghosts and Strings, and Transient.

    Learn more about Ten Dollar Taco.

  • Celebrating Women in Theatre: Leaders at SCR

    by 
    SCR Staff
     | Aug 28, 2020
    South Coast Repertory

    South Coast Repertory would not be the theatre it is today without the contributions of women through more than a half-century of theatre-making in Southern California—including playwrights, directors, actors, artisans and leaders. Today, we recognize the women on SCR’s leadership team.

    From the SCR Vault: Meet some of women playwrights and directors we profiled in March 2020 as part of Women’s History Month. Read it here.

    Paula TomeiPaula Tomei (Managing Director)

    As managing director, Tomei is responsible for the overall administration of the SCR. She has been managing director since 1994 and has been a member of SCR’s staff since 1979. She is a past president of the board of Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national service organization for theatre. In addition, she served as treasurer of TCG, vice president of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT) and as a member of the LORT Negotiating Committee for industry-wide union agreements. She represents SCR at national conferences of TCG and LORT and served as a theatre panelist and site visitor for the National Endowment for the Arts and the California Arts Council. Her teaching background includes a graduate class in non-profit management at the University of California, Irvine, and as a guest lecturer in the graduate school of business at Stanford. She was appointed by the chancellor to UCI’s Community Arts Council and serves on the Dean’s Leadership Society Executive Committee for the School of Social Sciences at UCI. She is also on the board of Arts Orange County, the countywide arts council, and the board of the Nicholas Endowment. She graduated from UCI with a degree in economics and pursued an additional course of study in theatre and dance. In March 2017, she received the City of Costa Mesa (Calif.) Mayor’s Award for her contributions to the arts community. In 2018, she received the Helena Modjeska Cultural Legacy Award from Arts Orange County. In 2019, she was named UCI’s Distinguished Alumna in the School of Social Sciences at the Lauds & Laurels Celebration. Read the UCI feature story about her.

    Lori MonnierL​ori Monnier (General Manager)

    As general manager, Monnier oversees the theatre’s daily internal operations. She supervises five departments: finance and accounting, information technology, operations, front-of-house, and general management. She became SCR’s general manager in February, 2007 and has more than 25 years of experience working in the performing arts. Before joining SCR, she was managing director at the Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre and associate managing director at Arizona Theatre Company, where she was the recipient of a grant through Theater Communications Group’s New Generations: Future Leaders program. She also served as general manager of The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey from 2001-04. Monnier earned an MFA in theatre management from the Yale School of Drama and a BA in theatre arts from Florida State University. 

    Hisa TakakuwaHisa Takakuwa

    Takakuwa is responsible for the educational programs in SCR’s Theatre Conservatory. She is a classically trained actor, educator, and director. She has worked at theatrical institutions around the country, including A Noise Within, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Sundance Children's Theatre, Sundance Institute Playwrights Lab, Music Center on Tour, and Actors Co-op. She has been affiliated with SCR since 1991, having appeared as an actor for 13 seasons in Educational Touring Productions (including My Mom’s Dad, Bad Water Blues, and the first Indian Summer). She also appeared in 14 seasons of A Christmas Carol and in The Man Who Came to Dinner. She started teaching in SCR's Young Conservatory in 1997 and joined the SCR staff fulltime in 2005 as conservatory director. As part of her Conservatory work, Takakuwa has directed Junior, Teen, and Summer Players shows (performed by advanced students in the Theatre Conservatory), including Into the Woods, Oliver Twist and Seussical. She was a longtime resident artist at the classical repertory company, A Noise Within, and over 14 seasons there, appeared in more than two-dozen productions including Our Town, The School for Wives, The Seagull and The Comedy of Errors. She directed several productions for the Actors Co-op (Hollywood) including Twelfth Night and Henry the Fifth. She graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from Smith College, with a degree in theatre and government and earned her MFA in acting from the California Institute of the Arts. In 2019, she received an honorable mention in the Tony Awards Excellence in Theatre Education Award and California Educational Theatre Association’s Professional Artist Award. Watch a video of SCR acting students talking about Takakuwa.

  • Five Questions with Playwright Octavio Solis

    by 
    Tania Thompson
     | Aug 25, 2020
    Octavio Solis
    ​Octavio Solis and one of his "kids."

    About Octavio Solis

    He is known as one of the nation’s most prominent Latino playwrights. His works include Mother Road, Quixote Nuevo, Se Llama Cristina, Lydia, The Ballad of Pancho and Lucy, The 7 Visions of Encarnación, Man of the Flesh, Santos & Santos and La Posada Mágica. His plays have been mounted at dozens of theatres including Mark Taper Forum, Yale Repertory Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, the Dallas Theater Center and at South Coast Repertory. His relationship with SCR dates back more than three decades to Man of the Flesh (1990) and, most recently, as bookwriter and lyricist for Cloudlands in collaboration with Adam Gwon (2012). His plays have been read in SCR’s Hispanic Playwrights Project and the Pacific Playwrights Festival. Among his many honors, Solis has received National Endowment for the Arts Playwriting Fellowships (1995-97), the Will Glickman Playwright Award, the National Latino Playwriting Award (2003) and a Pen Center/USA Award for Drama (2014). Solis is a Thornton Wilder Fellow for the MacDowell Colony and is working on commissions for Arena Stage, San Francisco Playhouse and South Coast Repertory. He is also the author of the critically acclaimed ​book Retablos: Stories from a Life Lived Along the Border.

    Playwright Octavio Solis is best-known to South Coast Repertory audiences for La Posada Mágica, which ran for 15 holiday seasons. But did you know that he and his wife, Jeanne Sexton—former legal counsel for GATX Capital, live on a farm in southern Oregon?

    They’ll talk about playwriting, the rural life of raising chickens and goats, and the couple’s venture in making goat cheese ​during a live YouTube conversation on Monday, Aug. 31, at 5:30 p.m. ​The couple will be interviewed by Juliette Carrillo as part of the SCR commUNITY series.

    Solis’ relationship with SCR dates back more than three decades ​to Man of the Flesh (1990) and, most recently, as book writer and lyricist for Cloudlands with Adam Gwon (2012). His plays were read in both SCR’s Hispanic Playwrights Project and the Pacific Playwrights Festival.

    Sometimes, after a day of writing in his office on the farm, he sometimes sips a glass of bourbon—neat or on the rocks—to reflect back on the day. We caught up with him from a distance and checked in on a few subjects.

    What was the first play you ever saw—and why do you remember it?

    The first play I ever saw was a high school production of The Diary of Anne Frank. I had been cast in it and really didn’t understand the concept of theatre that well. The first professional production I ever saw was A Chorus Line. It was the touring company putting it on in San Antonio, Texas, right as my freshman year was beginning. It was startling and beautiful and I had never seen anything like that before in my life. But I kept thinking, wait, this was the guy who also composed the soundtrack for The Sting?!

    Why is South Coast Repertory important to you?

    South Coast Rep offered me my first truly regional theatre debut with Man of the Flesh in 1990. I have continued to work with that theatre throughout my career, and I regard them as family.

    What are you reading right now?

    I am reading “Year of Wonders” by Geraldine Brooks, a remarkable novel based on a true story about an entire village in 1666 that quarantined itself from the outside world once the townspeople realized they were overrun with the plague. The horrors of that contagion are nothing to the current pandemic we are living through, but there are important lessons in the novel that we can learn from. It’s simply a remarkable story.

    What’s your go-to summer drink?

    We’ve been enjoying these lavender vodka martinis in the late afternoons, when it’s still blazing hot. But at night, after a session with my characters, I savor my bourbon, neat or on the rocks.

    Which animal on your farm has the most personality?

    Pachamama, our youngest goat, is about five-and-a-half months old and she is a sweet, loving beast that always wants to be held. She’s curious and playful, but already wary of being butted by the older jealous goats. She’ll fall asleep on your lap if you let her. She’s practically a dog! And she has a beauty mark on her left cheek. She’s quite saucy.

    RSVP now to watch a live interview with Octavio Solis on Monday, Aug. 31, at 5:30 p.m. Viewers will have an opportunity to submit questions. This YouTube event is part of SCR commUNITY and is free, but RSVPs are required. A recording of the interview will be available to watch after the livestream, through Sept. 6, 2020.