Leo Martinez, playing the role of Atreyu, left, Juan Robles, playing the role of Cairon, right, and Ron Johnson, playing the role of the village elder, perform during a dress rehearsal for The Neverending Story presented by the Fifth Wall Theater Project

The latest show from the Fifth Wall theater company opens Friday at the Vault Restaurant and will transport audience members to the fantastical world of “The Neverending Story.”

Director Robert Pagan, the artistic director for the theater company, said the group’s five-day run will mark the first time this particular play has been performed in California.

Pagan said the board members selected “The Neverending Story” back in December, but decided to do a couple other shows first. They’ve done six shows so far this year.

Pagan said the story is one that was familiar to most of the board members, though it is new to the youngest members of the cast. The story is a mix between the 1984 movie about a boy named Bastian who escapes bullies by entering a dingy, old bookstore where he finds a book he just can’t seem to put down. The story follows Atreyu, a child warrior, who is searching to find a way to save Fantasia from “the nothing.” The play mixes some of the elements from the movie and the German book on which it is based.

The cast includes 18 performers from age 7 into the 40s.

“Some of the younger actors hadn’t seen it,” Pagan said. “It was pretty new to them. The interesting thing with the people from the cast is that for a lot in the cast, ‘The Neverending Story’ was one of their favorite movies and they jumped at the opportunity to do the show.”

With some of the creatures from the movie, such as Atreyu’s trusty horse Artax and “luck dragon” Falkor, the actors will use puppetry to move the characters across the stage.

“We are using a lot of different modern techniques,” Pagan said. “We will use projections as well as puppetry. It is almost like a behind-the-scene look at the magic. … We want to show what theater is. That’s one of our goals – you will see the actors but they have these puppets that are interacting.”

Pagan said the use of the Vault Restaurant for a performing space has worked out well.

“The cool thing with working at the Vault is to be able to create an entire new setting,” he said. “There is no permanent stage so we are able to recreate what we need for whatever show we are doing.”

The group had originally planned “The Neverending Story” opening night to be a dinner show, but since they can do just five shows they decided to change it to a general show. Pagan said some of the board members and investors will be dressed up for the opening night.

The next show the company will perform is “Jekyll and Hyde,” with auditions set for Aug. 21, from 4 to 8:30 p.m., at the Vault. The show is open to actors ages 14 and up and will include a special Halloween performance. The board members are also planning out the 2013 season, but are still working out the rights to perform some of the shows they have in mind.

Going into the final week of rehearsals, Pagan was focused on getting the last-minute lighting and technical aspects ready for the show.

“They will enjoy being able to see a story that has never been on stage come to life in front of them and be impressed with the acting of all the actors and how well gelled the team actually seems on stage,” Pagan said.

The cast has been rehearsing for six weeks.

“The thing I liked the most about the story is it is truly about imagination and no matter how old you are if you keep that imagination, you still have the mindframe of a child,” Pagan said. “It holds true to life. For rough situations you go through, a hint of imagination can pull us through.”


The Fifth Wall performs ‘The Neverending Story’

Aug. 17, 18, 24 and 25 at 8 p.m. at the Vault Restaurant, 452 San Benito St. Tickets are $22 for adults, with $15 admission for public workers, nurses, teachers and students. A kids’ show will be held Aug. 23, with the show starting at 7:30 p.m. The box office opens an hour before the show starts, with doors opening half an hour before the show. Order tickets by emailing [email protected], calling 204-0193 or at the door.

Previous articleHandler’s layoff leads to retirement for K-9 Deputy Dix
Next articleCounty board reduces public hours
A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here