Local Play at the Sacramento Festival | HMTC this week | Entertainment

If you remember last week’s article, I mentioned that the play “The Death of Social Security Benefits,” which HMTC helped refine, was in the final round of a comedy festival competition. Well, that’s the winner for further clarification at the B Street Theater Comedy Festival.

After noticing a few comedy performances, B Street Theater started their comedy festival to find and help develop comedy performances. They have been on hiatus for the past two years. Now they are in full swing with this nationally recognized festival.

B Street Theater is one of the best professional theaters in Northern California. Seven new plays are presented each season to approximately 75,000 people. Comedies, dramas and new plays are staged at this theater in Sacramento. They were founded in 1986 and are now housed in a $30 million complex. To think that B Street Theater started out as a converted warehouse!

This piece has been lying in a drawer for some time. I thought, years later, that I should finish this. In 2017, I met Don Breakman. His son approached me at Hanford Civic Park and asked if his dad could “play” with our group. I quickly recognized the wealth of Mr. Breakman’s talent and his love of teaching acting.

Last year, when we had very little in common with our company during the pandemic, our acting classes were on hiatus, I mentioned to Don about a play I had written for older actors. He said he would like to read it. A few days later he said he liked it, but how did the play end? I didn’t know how it would end! That’s why I couldn’t finish it. I suggested that we read it together and maybe I can come up with an ending.

Don and I set out to read the script. We both couldn’t stop laughing as we read the pages. I went home and complained to my daughter that I had a script for Don, but I couldn’t figure out how to finish it. I told her about the scenes and she quickly said, “Will, she’s going to jail.” It was logical. At this point, the play ended with two quick final scenes.

We decided to put it on our stage with an idea that we are fine-tuning along the way. As it turned out, I had to play Shirley, and I gladly took on this role. In my mind, what better way to improve a script than to be in it.

When we were rehearsing, I told Don that in the roles that I take, I like to find the voice of the character. I thought Shirley’s voice was supposed to be annoying. I tried several voices until Don said, “This one. This is her voice.” So, a character with an annoying voice appeared in the play, which complemented the comedy. “It has to be part of the performance,” I told B Street Theater when we had a meeting at scale to discuss what is important to me in a performance. “Definitely an annoying voice.”

I am delighted to attend the Sacramento Comedy Festival from June 26th to July 3rd. Three other plays will also be presented. “The Death of Social Security Benefits” will consist of two rehearsals and two public performances. One on Friday evening, July 1st, and the second at 17:00 on Saturday. July 2, 2022

Sylvia Gonzalez Scherer is Executive Artistic Director of the Hanford Multicultural Theater Company.


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