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Sierra Stages to bring ‘Out There’ series to county

Sierra Stages, which annually presents three fully produced main stage plays and several play readings, is expanding its repertoire. In addition to its annual productions, using mostly local talent, the company has developed a new “Out There” series, which intends to bring new people and creations to Nevada County from the Bay Area.

The first event in the series took place for two nights last weekend at the Nevada Theater, featuring “Patty from HR: A Zoom with a View.” This show coincided with Pride Month, so the pre-show included various incarnations of drag personas, zombies, singers, dancing cats and stand-up comedians.

“Patty from HR” is the creation of Michael Phillis, an award-winning writer, director, actor and filmmaker from San Francisco, who has performed across the U.S. “A Zoom with a View” is the third in his series, all featuring Patty, a good-hearted but inept human resources director, as she tries to get hired to conduct Zoom trainings. Phillis, in his one man show, assumes the persona of Patty, wearing an out-of-style skirt suit with a frumpy bow-tied blouse, big messy hair, extreme eyelashes and gigantic, brightly lipsticked lips — the better with which to pout, sneer, grin and exaggerate his facial expressions.

Phillis started off slowly and revved up to almost maniacal elucidations on (in)competence of both Patty and others, Zoom (non)relationships, technology and corporate life. It was amazing how fast he could enunciate so many words. He used recorded voices along with visuals projected on a screen, which gave him short breaks from constantly speaking. Some of his pronouncements and mannerisms were funny, some right on-point, some harsh, and some overdone/overlong, but it generally was fun to watch him go through his antics.

Laura LeBleu, the production associate for Sierra Stages, is the connection for the “Out There” series and is excited to bring out-of-area shows to Nevada County. Although the company intends to continue to focus on local theater for the local community, LeBleu promotes the idea of occasionally bringing in shows that Sierra Stages itself might not produce. However, last year LeBleu herself starred in a hysterical, one-person performance of “Who’s Holiday!” playing Cindy Lou Who, the grown-up, neurotic and alcoholic version of the little girl from Dr. Suess’s “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.” So, it seems that “Patty from HR,” even though journeying up from the Bay Area, isn’t topically or emotionally too far removed from our excellent local fare.

Hindi Greenberg loves theater and everything about it. So, she is always ready to see new performance and looks forward to more of the “Out There” series

“Patty from HR: A Zoom with a View” is a new one-person show that puts the corporate world on notice.
Photo by Meg Messina

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