Local plays make for an odd pair

Christy Wright, playing the role of Lady of the Lake, performs with members of the cast during dress rehearsals Tuesday for the San Benito Stage Company production of Spamalot.

Two local theater groups both have shows opening Friday night. The Fifth Wall Theater Project will open an original play based on the “Alice in Wonderland” story while San Benito Stage Company will become the first amateur theater group to present “Spamalot” on the Central Coast.

Robert Pagan, of the Fifth Wall Theater Project, said he first came up with the idea for the original “Wonderland: The Alice Story” story when he was 14. In his script, Alice is grown up and coming back to Wonderland.

“It’s nothing like the movie in any way, shape or form,” Pagan said, explaining that in the movie the heroine returns to fight a battle for how Wonderland will be for the next 100 years.

With a cast of 15 characters, he said everyone’s favorite from the story will be present, but he said the play will be a little darker and more mischievous than the book or animated Disney film. The show is all ages, with a cast ranging in age from 9 to 50-plus, and Pagan said people of all ages will enjoy it.

Pagan said the new season of shows will include other original pieces, including an adaptation of “Wallflower,” about a gay high school student who is bullied. Auditions for the show will be held at Mars Hill Coffee House Feb. 25 and 26, from 5 to 8 p.m.

The group will also be touring some of their shows this season, including “Wonderland: The Alice Story.”

Amelia Souza-Hatcher, of San Benito Stage Company, said the board members for SBSC jumped at the chance to do “Spamalot” since the rights were recently released for amateur licensing.

For those not familiar with the musical, it is an adaptation of Monty Python.

“British comedy is typically more irreverent and a little edgier,” she said. “This is very classic British comedy.”

Souza-Hatcher said one of the challenges of the show is that “it is meant to be presented as a spectacle.”

“Doing justice to all the iconic images represented in Monty Python and just having the resources – to come up with enough time and make them was tremendous,” she said.

She said the play also has many costume changes in addition to props.

The cast for the show is 18 and up, though she described the cast as mostly young adults. She said some cast members auditioned specifically because they wanted to act in the Monty Python musical.

“A new generation keeps rediscovering it,” Souza-Hatcher said. “A lot of young adults know all the lines by heart.”

The musical will be at the Granada Theater, and Souza-Hatcher said two local restaurants will be offering dinner specials to coincide with the performance nights – Paine’s and Pendergrass.

The director of the show is Andrew Cummings, who holds a degree in theater.

“He is very detail oriented and creative,” Souza-Hatcher said. “He decided he wanted to come to Hollister to direct this show because of the challenge.”

Souza-Hatcher said several other college students are also volunteering with the show, including former SBSC participants Tess Kelly, Arianne Ferare and Michaela Connor.

‘Wonderland: The Alice Story’

Fifth Wall Theater Project presents “Wonderland: The Alice Story” Feb. 15, 16, 22 and 23, at 8 p.m., and Feb. 23 at 2:10 p.m., in the Wisteria Room at the Ridgemark Golf and Country Club, 3800 Airline Hwy. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students, public workers and Ridgemark residents with a valid ID. VIP seating at a cocktail table is available for $20, which includes a wonderland treat at intermission. Details: 831-204-0193 or email [email protected]

SBSC presents ‘Spamalot’

The San Benito Stage Company will present Monty Python’s “Spamalot” Feb. 15, 16, 22, 23 and March 1, 2 at 7 p.m., at Feb. 17 and 24 at 2 p.m., at the Granada Theatre, 336 Fifth St., in Hollister Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and students. The show is rated PG-13. Group packs of four tickets are available for $45 in advance. Tickets are available at Postal Graphics and San Benito Bene. Details: 636-0122 or www.sanbenitostage.org.

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