It amazes me that in a small town, something can be happening right under your nose and you don’t have a clue. (Of course, if you’re attempting to do something in secret, Murphy’s Law dictates you will immediately be seen.)
So, when Richard Winters called to tell me about a local improv theater group that has been performing in Nevada City – at a small theater called Winterstage in the Seven Hills District – I wondered, “How did I miss that?”
“I’m new and I’m still a secret,” Richard said. He shouldn’t have called me if he wanted to stay a secret, so here’s the scoop.
His improv group of Nevada County residents includes LeeAnn Brook; Toni Ramos; Stuart Clancy; Anne King; and two 19-year-old Bear River grads, Zack Gholikley and Eric Fetske. They call themselves “The Pleasant Valley Pheasant Pluckers” and have been performing to small groups at Winterstage for the past two weekends. Now, Richard says, they’re ready for prime time.
Here’s how it works. The stage at Winterstage is covered with props. Richard asks someone in the audience to point to an object, and the improv troupe is off. One rule, though – they can’t use the object as it was intended to be used. After about two minutes, Richard changes the game. He picks two people and asks the players: “What could these people be involved in?” The troupe begins to improvise. After a minute or two, Richard changes the game again. This continues on for slightly more than an hour. There is an intermission and Richard (who calls himself “the Ringling brother” of the troupe) sells drinks and refreshments from the stage.
It sounds like a lively evening with audience participation possible for the willing.
The last two performances will be Friday and Saturday night at 8. Winterstage is a small theater – only about 35 seats – and he keeps the tickets at a bargain-basement price of $5. One of our granddaughters, who is 5, will be in town and I asked Richard if it was suitable for children. Not really, he said, but teens would enjoy it. Give Richard a call at 470-0700 (Which he pronounces as “four, seven hundred, seven hundred”) if you want to make a reservation. Tickets are available at the door if room permits.
If you miss the Pheasant Pluckers this time around, Winterstage will run two one-act plays together from Aug. 13 to 28. They are “The Actor’s Nightmare” and “Sister Mary Ignatius Explains it All For You,” both written by Christopher Durang. “They’re edgy,” Richard said. “We need some edgy theater around here.”
Dixie Redfearn can be reached at 477-4238 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by fax at 477-4292.
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