Ross Valley Players to Present RAW 2014 Spring Festival, Feat. GIOVANNI IS HERE, 4/18-27

Ross Valley Players to Present RAW 2014 Spring Festival, Feat. GIOVANNI IS HERE, 4/18-27

ROSS VALLEY PLAYERS present their RAW (Ross Alternative Works) 2014 Spring Festival, April 18 through 27, featuring the World Premiere of Giovanni is Here by Mercedes Cohen. Each season, RAW presents two festivals of short works or full-length plays, selected for their quality and originality. Each play is a short run production with minimal set pieces with full sound and lighting. Giovanni is Here is directed by Michael Cohen. For more information, visit www.rossvalleyplayers.com.

Giovanni is Here centers on the relationship of a young Jewish woman who is hidden by a Catholic family and the struggle to survive World War II after Italy becomes a German occupied country. Belle (Jocelyn Roddie), whose pregnancy adds an additional responsibility, earns her keep by making dresses that Maria (Arden Kiler) and Nonna (Maureen Coyne), the grandmother, sell and trade on the black market. The dangers of war, occupation, and survival form the backdrop as Maria and Belle discover their conflicts and ignorance. These two young women from seemingly opposite backgrounds share this time when uncertainty pressed in from all sides. Belle's husband Benjamin (Clay David) relates his fears and anger as he works with the partisans. Maria's fiancé, Carlo (James Montellato) changes from an immature joker to a disillusioned war veteran and Angelo (Peter Weiss) finds courage inside himself to risk everything by his illegal actions. Nonna, who has already been through war, and a lifetime of survival, vows to do whatever she needs in order to save her family. Each person's survival depends on finding inner strength and hold on to hope, love, and laughter. It's a triumphant story of rescue and resistance.

Additional cast members include: Mario (Bruce Kaplan), Policeman 1 (Shaun Chan), and Policeman 2 (Daniel Miller).

Performances are Friday, April 18 and 25 at 8 PM, Saturday, April 19 and 26 at 8 PM, and Saturday April 26 and Sunday, April 27 at 2 PM. All performances take place at the Barn Theatre, home of the Ross Valley Players - 30 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Ross, CA 94957.

Audience members are invited to participate in "Talkback" with cast members, director and playwright after Saturday and Sunday matinee performances, April 26 and 27.

Ticket prices are $15 general admission; $45 for Festival Pass (includes 4 tickets.) RVP Members receive half-price tickets with membership card. To purchase tickets online, visit www.rossvalleyplayers.com/RAW or call 415-456-9555, ext. 1.

Now in its 84th year, Ross Valley Players, a non-profit arts organization, is the oldest continually operating community theater on the West Coast. Created in 1930 as a way to escape the hardships of the Depression, Ross Valley Players has introduced live theater to thousands of Marin residents over the years. Each year, RVP presents a regular season of six full productions, running a total of 30 weeks. RVP offers special events and short-term productions outside the regular season. Plays include recent Broadway material, popular plays, classic theater, and a selection of works by well-known playwrights from around the world. RVP features all genres: comedy, drama, mysteries, and musicals. Their Ross Alternative Works (RAW) program presents short run, minimal set productions of original scripts by Bay Area playwrights in two festivals each season.

Pictured: Maria (played by Arden Kilzer) and Bell (played by Jocelyn Roddie). Photo by Mercedes Cohen.

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