Life has been fairly dull for me the past few months – at least as it pertains to cultural events. I had a perfectly delightful evening Friday night when a friend – no, not that friend – and I went to the North Park Vaudeville and Candy Shoppe at 2031 El Cajon Blvd., in San Diego. My friend had read about this little – and I do mean little – theater where plays were being written by unknowns, directed by unknowns, and acted by unknowns. The purpose is to give “would be” playwrights an opportunity to see their play put into production.
Apparently there is a “casting call” for written plays to be sent to GB Productions. (More about that in a moment.) The plays are put into a pile to be read and critiqued by 6 individuals that want to direct a show, thus giving them an opportunity to try their hand at their avocation. The top six plays -the plays come in from all over the world – are then produced and directed throughout the entire year by the very people that critiqued the play.
The play we saw, “The Cruise of the Carolinas” was a delightful vaudevillian play, with the accompanying hissing and booing the villain – Captain Caustic, played by Terence John, and the “aws and oohs” for the heroine – the lovely Miss Goodness, played by Rebekah Bonney, and the cheers for the hero, Lt. Goodman, played by Rod Pablo, even though he had to be directed by the audience at times.
The supporting cast was fun; they were enjoying their roles, and there was an astonishing element to this play that is extraordinary. Both Sheila Martenies – playing the role of a male “Mr. Horrendous” and Barbara Hoffman, the sexual senior of the group – brought us many laughs.
When my friend and I walked into the theater we were greeted by Jeff Bushnell, a retired pilot, who, along with his wife, Summer Golden, own GB Productions. We spent many minutes talking to Jeff and he told us that they have been working with people that are “mentally challenged.” Jeff marveled at how well his actors, playwrights, and set people, do when they find out that they will be part of the production. It gives credence to the old Stanford Study where failing students were told that they had the top scores; could achieve success and did. At the same time, bright students were told that the work was too difficult and they would have little, if any success, and the findings showed that they did poorly on the assignments. (This is a real simplification of the study.) It goes without saying that not all of the actors in the play are challenged, but for those that are the experience is wonderful.
One of the actors in the play was Rachel Goldbaum. She played the role of “Mommie” and, in fact, suggested the theme of the play. She did an excellent job and the joy that she derived from the role was very apparent to the audience.
My friend and I did not have an opportunity to talk to Summer but she had an integral part in the play as Domencia, a powerful “co-captain” of the ship. The themes were not your “typical” vaudeville topics; the innuendo’s of sex, cross-dressing, etc. were delightful. (Something for everyone?)
This play only runs through May 12th. Reservations are $14 and it plays on the Weekends. Just a heads up – the next play will be “The Odd Couple – Female Version” – beginning June 15th. It will be directed by Jeff. What a great life this couple must live – fulfilling their “bucket list” in such an entertaining manner.
Have fun – go see the productions. I can hardly wait for the next one.