THE BIG MEAL Begins 4/21 at Chance Theater
Anaheim's official resident theater company, Chance Theater is pleased to present the Southern California premiere of ... The Big Meal. Written by Orange County native Dan LeFranc, and directed by Associate Artistic Director Jocelyn A. Brown, The Big Meal will preview from April 21 through April 28. Regular performances will begin April 30 and continue through May 22 on the Fyda-Mar Stage at Chance Theater @ Bette Aitken theater arts Center.
In this hilarious and poignant Southern California premiere, you are invited on a time-bending odyssey of birth, death, divorce and dinner. When a man meets a young waitress in a local diner, neither of them knows the nearly 80 years of history that will follow. Filled with those little moments that you will recognize from your own life, we dare you not to fall in love with this stunning, big-hearted play that tells the extraordinary story of an ordinary family.
Although he has since moved to New York, Dan LeFranc hails from Dana Point, and uses the suburban Los Angeles and Orange County landscapes as a backdrop to many of his plays, infusing them with a sense of place and language unique to Southern California. While this local-born playwright takes on more universal themes in The Big Meal, he uses the investigation of "people and landscapes and ideas, [to] serve as a kind of celebration of the imagination and its enormous powers for healing and hope and wonder and destruction." The Chance is proud to bring his unique voice back to Southern California.
Jocelyn Brown, who has previously directed the Chance productions of Evita, Never In My Lifetime, and Big Love (among others) said that the script's narrative style presents quite a few challenges, and just as many opportunities to explore. "LeFranc's narrative entails multiple actors playing different stages of a character's life. The actors are working closely with each other, coordinating essential parts of their characterization to find the 'essence' of each role which is passed on to another actor each time the character 'ages up' to a new stage of their life," Brown said. "Alongside this being a wonderful acting challenge, the design team is finding subtle ways through staging, costuming, and props to reinforce the through line of each character without distracting from the rapid-fire pace of the script. The goal is to help the audience experience a character's maturity over a lifetime and discover those rare moments, as in our own lives, when we look at ourselves and our loved ones and wonder, "When did that all happen?"
Jocelyn A. Brown (Director) has been a resident artist of Chance Theater since 2001 and has served as the Associate Artistic Director since 2011. Chance highlights include spearheading the On The Radar Series for four years, writing and performing in A Celtic Holiday with Craic in the Stone (Best Special Event, Best of OC Theater 2014 by Examiner.com), portraying Bonnie in the staged singing of Swing State: A Musical Fable, Reggie Fluty and Dave O'Malley (among others) in The Laramie Project and Ten Years Later (Ovation Recommended), directing staged readings of Magic Forest Farm and The Artist, directing Evita, portraying Blitzen in The Eight: Reindeer Monologues, the Witch in Into the Woods (Back Stage Critic's Pick), Cathy in The Last 5 Years (Back Stage Honorable Mention for Actor), directing Never In My Lifetime (Back Stage Critic's Pick), portraying Nancy in Closer Than Ever (L.A. Times Critic's Choice), Ann in Goodnight Children Everywhere (OC Weekly Theater Award for Best Actress), directing The Cherry Orchard (OC Weekly Theater Award nomination for Best Direction), and receiving a nomination for Outstanding Individual Artist in 2003 by Arts Orange County. Outside of the Chance, Jocelyn teaches at Laguna Hills High School where she was an honoree for the California League of High Schools "Teacher of the Year" in 2012 for Orange County and served as the band leader and lead singer for Celtic folk band Craic in the Stone. Jocelyn double majored in Theatre and Biology at the University of California San Diego, studied theater abroad at the University of East Anglia in England, and earned a Masters in Education from Vanguard University.
In addition to Jocelyn, the production team for The Big Meal includes scenic designer Joe Holbrook (Maple & Vine, ROOMS: a rock romance), sound designer Dave Mickey (Overlooked, Sunday in the Park with George), lighting designer Martha Carter (After The Revolution), costume designer Lorenzetti (Loch Ness, a new musical), dramaturg Laurie Smits Staude, and stage manager Bebe Herrera.
The cast for The Big Meal includes resident artists Karen Webster (After The Revolution), Jennifer Ruckman (Samsara), and Robert Foran (After The Revolution), as well as returning Chance artists David Carl Golbeck (After the Revolution), Angela Griswold (Anne of Green Gables), Ben Green (Jesus Hates Me), Abby Lutes (Anne of Green Gables), and Kelly Ehlert (Maple and Vine). Dylan Barton will be making his Chance debut with this production.
Scott and Sandra Graham are the Executive Producers for The Big Meal. This is their third time as producers for the Chance, having previously been producers on last season's The Dragon Play and 2014's Maple and Vine. Producers for Chance's 2016 Season are Bette and Wylie Aitken.