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‘This Is A Play’ spotlights universal truths

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Clockwise: 

“Female Actor” Denise Heller, “Male Actor” David Taylor, “Composer” Buddy Wilds, “Older Female Actor” Suzy Thatcher

 

Enter the world of the actor’s mind during a play at Ojai Art Center on Feb. 25 at 7 p.m.

“This Is A Play,” by accomplished playwright and performer Daniel MacIvor, allows the audience to hear what the actors think while they perform.

Tickets are $10, by cash or check made out to “Ojai ACT,” available only at the backstage door starting at 6:30 the evening of the performance. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination with a valid ID must be presented to gain entrance to the Art Center. Mask requirements will reflect county regulations at time of performance. Theatergoers will enter through the back of the Art Center. They will either sit in limited seating onstage, surrounding the cast, or in the first few rows of the theater.

The story involves a melodrama about estranged siblings, suspicious pasts, sexual awakenings, and lettuce. On a higher level, the true plot comes from the contemplations the actors reveal. Those who play the actors, plus director Gai Jones, bring more than 125 years of experience to the stage.

“Entering the play requires suspension of disbelief,” Jones said. “The audience experiences a play within a play, double the pleasure.”

While “This Is A Play” pulls the curtain back on the performer’s psyche, one doesn’t need a knowledge of acting to enjoy it. “I find the universality of the inner monologue makes this instantly familiar to everyone,” David Taylor, who plays Male Actor, said. “We all go to work, have thoughts about our bosses, our coworkers, our own performance. This piece nimbly, adeptly, and comedically reveals the humanity of our collective hubris.”

Denise Heller relates to the character she plays, Female Actor. “As my character suggests, we have continuous dialogue weaving in and out of our personal thoughts during our daily conversations. I think, any and all of us, actor or not, relates to ‘This Is A Play’ in some form or fashion.”

The show explores how people think of themselves and others at the same time it brings laughter to the audience.

“Playing the role of the Older Female Actress delights my sense of truth in comedy,” Suzy Thatcher said. “My intent is that the audience will experience humor throughout the ironic twists and turns of dialogue both spoken and internal as the story unfolds." 

“This Is A Play” offers insights into the craft of theater that audiences never get a chance to see. Buddy Wilds, who plays the philosophical Composer, said: “I’m not so sure I want you to know these tricks. So let it just wash over you and enjoy it.”

 

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