RACHEL BUTLITZ WORLD PREMIERE OF HER NEW PLAY THAT WILL SHOW YOU THE STARS.
Custom Made Theatre begins 2016 with a World Premiere of Rachel Bublitz’s newest work “Of Serpents and Sea Spray” now on stage through January 30th at their new venue at the Sheldon Theatre. A tragedy witnessed by a young girl sets her off on a fantastical adventure of self-discovery. Bublitz shows how a child’s mind deals with unspeakable events. Serpents tells the story of the youngster Iro, who must journey to find the ancient winged horse Pegasus. Her adventure makes Iro face the hardships she’s endured. It is a fantastical adventure of self-discovery. Directed by Ariel Craft, the story will remind you of a fast pace “Peter Pan” or “Peter and the Starcatcher”. Craft keeps the story and her actors at a brisk pace, as the ancient Greek Pegasus winged divine stallion takes this talented cast on a ride.
*Rachel Bublitz is a Bay Area playwright, founder of “31 Plays in 31 Days Project”, and the “Loud & Unladylike” festival, plus member of PlayGround’s Writers Pool. In an interview that Bublitz did for SAN FRANCISCO THEATRE PUB she talked about a film that might have been some of the inspiration for SERPENTS. “There is a movie that I think would go well, it’s one of my favorites so it may be leaps and bounds above my play, but I think it captures magic and fantasy and the gray areas in between reality and fantasy in a beautiful way. “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.” Bublitz saw the film with her dad as a young girl, she goes on “I was constantly making up stories and pretending the world was however I wished it to be”. The play moves and overlaps presenting a team of talented actors that all play a number of roles. The talented Maria Leigh who plays Iho, is the only cast member who does not double and she is on stage most of the two hours. She is stunning as she moves through the adventure and brings you to tears in the final moments of the story.
The setting changes from Iro’s bedroom to whatever she can imagine including a circus and worlds beyond. In the first act we meet most of the players including Iro’s demons and her imaginary pal Annika wonderfully played by Maria Marquis. Both climb aboard the mythical winged Pegasus who takes them on a mind opening adventure. The stories come from letters that her uncle shares, played so well by Andrew Calabrese, who we also see as her foster dad and a member of the French circus. A creative force with Custom Made creative team is costume designer Brook Jennings who creatively scores again with this production. Her costumes steal the show with color, circus, glam, and fantasy.
The orphan Iro is on a quest to learn more about the loss of her parents, and as road trips go, she meets other lost souls along the way. The second Act is very moving and set designer Erik LaDue uses the entire performance space as a hospital room with a bed and chairs. His set has a warm feel of curtains and color for easy exits for the many character changes. The finale is an open space so we can explore the stars and emotion of Iro’s discoveries. Calabrese as the Uncle and Leigh as Iho are touching in the final scene especially when the death of her parents is revealed and why the trauma drives Iro to her demons.
The cast is diverse and easily transforms to French circus performers and the many characters Iro meets. Sabrina DeMio is memorable as the foster mom, Laura Domingo is perfect in the four roles she plays especially Nurse Clara. Local favorite Heren Patel is a charm in all his roles specifically as the French Garcon, and the evil yet adorable pirate. Maria Marquis also appears as Ruth and the Greek goddess Athena. It is this Greek god who helps Iro find her way to Greece. The lighting by Maxx Kurzunski is excellent with the use of the warm blue and open air feel of the final scene. The sound design by Ryan Lee Short is clever and during the many fight scenes the slashes and gunshots fit the madness of the moment.
Local favorite Alan Coyne consulted the circus scenes and they are very well timed and flawless, including the clowning and tumbling. The fight scenes are humorous and perfectly designed by Jon Bailey. All the fantastical props fit the story created by Florence McCafferty. OF SERPENTS AND AND SEA SPRAY is a fast moving funny play that has a touching close, and life discovery that stretches to the stars. It is a perfect way to open your 2016 theatre season.
The Custom Made Theatre Co. continues Undiscovered works series with Gino Dilorio’s “Sam and Dede” that opens Feb 11th - a link to tickets and more information below.
Custom Made Theatre Company presents the World Premiere of
Of Serpents and Sea Spray
By Rachel Bublitz
Directed by Ariel Craft
Custom Made Theatre 533 Sutter St. San Francisco Ca.
(Former home of SF Playhouse and Tides Theatre)
January 7 – 30
Thurs - Sat. at 8:00 p.m.; Wed., Jan. 20, 7:30 p.m; Sat., Jan 23 2:00 p.m.
Running Time: Approx. 2 hours.
Learn more & buy tickets at (415) 798-CMTC (2682), http://www.custommade.org
*see custommade.org/tickets for exact show times and dates
*Rachel Bublitz interview from SF THEATRE PUB by Will Lescher
Photo’s by Jay Yamada