Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Totally Awesome Show You Can't See Right Now

I saw this great theater piece the other night. I want to be able to tell you to go see it, but it was the last night of its three-night run at the Robert Moss Theater in New York and the theater company is based in Santa Barbara. But I'm going to tell you about it anyway, because you should know about Proximity Theatre Company.

Proximity is a non-profit youth theater company (the actors range in age from 16 to 29) that produces physical theater productions.

Shandy Wilkes by Proximity's co-artistic director Karina Richardson is a reworked version of The Marvellous Shandy Wilkes, presented by Proximity in 2009. It's a really sweet fairy tale about the power of love. Shandy Wilkes (Chiara Perez del Campo) was born with mirrors in her eyes that show people the thing about themselves they fear the most. Her own mother (Richardson) can't bear to look at her, so Shandy is mostly raised by her blind grandmother Maria Carmen (Siena Perez del Campo). Shandy's only friends are a fun-loving unicorn (Jake Himovitz) and a know-it-all dragon (Gabriela London), but eventually, Shandy has to go to school. Only Hymn (Himovitz) can look into her eyes because he is too young to have learned how to hate any part of himself. The rest of the students and teachers fear her, but she gets to keep coming to school on the condition that she will wear sunglasses. The play follows her through her teenage years when she reconnects with Hymn and into young adulthood.

The show has a great message and is appropriate for children, but is just as entertaining for adults. The youthful energy from the cast (most of whom juggle multiple roles) is infectious. Kyra Lehman's (doing double-duty as director) frantic choreography paired with Ken Urbina's original music gives the show a hip, modern edge, but never feels false or trying too hard.

New Yorkers, check out the two promo videos to get a taste of what you missed. If you live in or near Santa Barbara, I encourage you to keep your eye on Proximity's website for future show information. But here's hoping they will be back on the east coast soon.

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