Comedic acts challenge actors performing abilities

“All in the Timing” set to premier early March

By Christian Urrutia, Photo Editor

Rehearsals are underway for the opening play of the drama department, “All in the Timing,” premiering in early March at the Knox Center.

Written by playwright David Ives and directed by adjunct drama professor Angelina LaBarre, “All in the Timing” is the first play to be performed during the 2015 spring semester.

LaBarre said the performance is a collection of eight comedic plays where seven actors portray a plethora of characters throughout each one with titles such as “The Universal Language,” “Words, Words, Words,” and “Variations on the Death of Trotsky.”

The multiple one-act comedies focus on how individuals communicate with one another while using a limited set piece and placing emphasis on the actors and personifying the various characters.

Preview night for the show will be March 11 at 8 p.m., performances run through March 12-13 at 8 p.m. and March 14 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

LaBarre said the plays are fun to perform and to watch because of the mix of humor and slapstick qualities.

This provides the actors a variety of roles to practice and challenges dealing with how to quickly move from one character to the next. 

Drama professor and technical director for the Knox Center John Morocco said the first major decision in constructing the set was deciding to use the backdrop wall that was also used in “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, (Abridged)” performed last fall.

“(Contra Costa College’s drama department) foresaw not to take away that set piece. That saved ourselves a major construction project and we’re able to shift between three different sets during the plays,” Morocco said.

Both LaBarre and Morocco said that the college has major renovation projects scheduled to begin within the Knox Center after the drama department ends its season.

Because of the planned construction, choices were made to perform a character-driven play where an elaborate set was not needed.

“We weren’t exactly sure how much space we were going to end up with,” LaBarre said. “The department chair and I wanted to do something that would concentrate on the actors so that we wouldn’t miss out on a chance to perform a play for the students.”

She said by reinventing the set piece and choosing a series of one-act character based plays, limitations in this case can stimulate creativity in the production process as opposed to stifling it.

One of the performers in the play, drama major Oz Herrera-Sobal, said he returned to the department again to perform because of the comedic chemistry on and the off the stage between him and LaBarre.

Crockett resident Jamie Barnhart said the challenge of playing different roles for the play made her want to return to CCC’s drama department after a three-year hiatus.

“For me theater is such an amazing outlet for people in the community and I think participating within it is not only a blessing but has a positive effect for everyone else as well,” Barnhart said.

Tickets are $5 on preview night and $10 for students and $15 for general admission.