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Goldfish in Alaska

goldfishinalaska1New theater director Gina Hayes stages work of famous poet
Starting up a new theater company in a small town like Santa Cruz can equate to making it as an actor in Hollywood. Meaning that it’s tough, not only to get it off the ground, but to keep it rolling. And that is exactly what 24-year-old UC Santa Cruz alumni Gina Hayes has set about to passionately do with her creation of Red Egg Theater. The one-woman company, spearheaded by Hayes, hopes to provide college students across the Bay Area, and particularly in Santa Cruz, with an option to act off-campus, and plug into community theater.

It’s quite an undertaking, but Hayes seems up to the task. Late last year she launched the company’s first show, and now from March 27-29, at the Actors’ Theatre, she’ll be directing its second play, “Goldfish in Alaska: Adapted from the Poetry of Richard Brautigan.” Brautigan was a writer who passed away in 1984. Hayes, a long-time fan of his work, took his poetry and adapted it into this multi-media experimental type of play. Showtimes are at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. on Sunday. Earlier this week, Hayes and company members had a special event at the Capitola Book Café where she discussed the play and scenes were reenacted from it.

“The play deals with [Brautigan’s] inner life,” Hayes says. Brautigan, while praised for his poetry, was also known to have had a troubled life—childhood abuse, he grew up poor, was checked into a mental hospital and eventually committed suicide.

The hour-long play takes a look at his life and some of the characters (either real or imagined) that he knew. It also includes elements of dance.

Admittedly, Red Egg Theater puts up low-budget productions, but Hayes explains that the artistic quality is quite strong. “We try to do things that present the material without a lot of excess fluff,” she says.

Her cast includes students from both local colleges—Cabrillo College and UCSC. Advertising is grassroots and features one of the actresses handing out fliers at the farmers’ market. But even with limitations, Hayes says her company offers high-quality productions and that everyone involved in one of Red Egg’s shows learns something and teaches something.

This democratic outlook is something that sets Red Egg Theater apart from other local theater companies. “I’m not God,” says Hayes, the director, noting that she looks for actors who give and take in their theatrical experience.

In addition, Red Egg Theater has found an original niche with its multi-media focus, incorporating music, movement, dance and poetry into its productions.

For Hayes, taking on the challenge of being a young person while running a small theater company, directing all the shows, and writing original content doesn’t appear daunting to her. It’s simply what she knows and loves. Acting for most of her life, and enamored with poetry, the twentysomething has found her niche with directing. “When I was an actor, I wish I had a director work with me instead of talking at me,” she says.

As for the original name of Hayes’ theater company, Red Egg Theater, it was hatched from the idea of the “Orphic Egg,” an ancient creation story. “I wanted to [incorporate] creation with music and movement,” Hayes says of her company’s roots.


Red Egg Theater presents “Goldfish in Alaska: Adapted from the Poetry of Richard Brautigan,” March 27-29 at the Actors’ Theatre, 1001 Center St., Santa Cruz. Showtimes are at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $12/general; $10/students. All proceeds from the play will go to benefit Actors’ Theatre. For more information, visit santacruzactorstheatre.org or call 425-PLAY.
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Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

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