Theatre returns on-ground with a winter play production


Courtesy photo

The theatre department is having a winter play on-ground at the Black Box Theatre called “Junie B. Jones Jingle Bells, Batman Smells.” The play will be on Dec. 3-11 and the audience will be at a 50% capacity.

The theatre department is returning to on-ground campus performances, after being stuck online for over 18 months to produce the winter play “Junie B. Jones Jingle Bells, Batman Smells.”
The performances will be held on Cosumnes River College’s campus at the Black Box Theatre, and will be spread out for over a week, with the first show on Dec. 3 and the last on Dec. 11. For the first time, the theatre department will also be live-streaming the performances from the theatre with a live audience.
The audience will be at 50% capacity to encourage social distancing and audience members will be required to be vaccinated, with proof of vaccination, and wear masks while in attendance.
“The challenges for the theatre department, as it is for theatre companies around the country, are creating protocols that will keep actors, crew, creative team and audience safe,” Adjunct Professor of Theater Arts and manager of Front House and PR marketing for the production, Gail Dartez, said.
Along with 50% capacity, vaccination and mask requirements, the theatre department will have contactless tickets, and concession stands will be moved outside and also contactless.
Ticket information for the production can be found on the CRC website, under Calendar and Events. CRC students can buy tickets for $8, and general admission is $10.
“It’s a very interesting moment in theatre,” Dartez said.
Martin Flynn, a professor of theatre arts and technical theatre, said the play is based on the children’s books, “Junie B. Jones”, and Cheri Fortin, the director, came up with the idea to do this particular play.
“This is a play Cheri has been wanting to do for a while now,” Flynn said. “She really has an admiration for this particular character. She told me she used to read these books to her kids when they were young.”
Flynn said that since the theatre is just starting to come back, a light-hearted, holiday play was a good fit.
“It seemed like a fun show to do this semester where we’re kind of coming back on the ground a little bit, and we’re going to be in the theatre, and we really haven’t done a holiday themed show in a while,” Flynn said. “It seemed like everything kind of fit in place for this particular show.”
Dartez said this production is a colorful, captivating, fun and light-hearted production for kids of all ages.
Audrey Walker, a performing arts technician and the costume designer, said the play is meant to teach lessons about selflessness and forgiving.
“It’s a lesson about forgiveness and forgiving people and it’s great for this time of year because of how split we are in our politics and our vaccinations,” Walker said.
Walker explained while creating and designing the costumes for theatre, there is a lot of research that goes into creating them. She said there must be thought put into the types of colors, patterns and textures used and how they will reflect on the particular character.
“I put a lot of emphasis on what people think of color,” Walker said. “You use the design concepts and those elements of design and then you put it all together, and some think of well it’s just a modern show, but you still have to make sure that when people walk into a room they have a feel for that person.”
Flynn said since the theatre is just coming back and will be limited with their in-person audience capacity, the department intends to specifically have the student population as their target audience for this production.
Dartez said the promotion for the play has been done on-the-ground, however the majority of promotion will be online.
“We will have posters, but we’re not gonna cover the campus,” Dartez said.
Auditions for the winter play have already been held. They were held at the Black Box Theatre by appointment and some auditions were held online via Zoom.
Flynn also said the department is still looking for theatre crew to help with the production. Those that do help can receive one unit credit.