BWW Interview: Herbert Siguenza invites you to BEACHTOWN LIVE! at San Diego Repertory Theatre
BEACHTOWN is back at the San Diego Repertory Theatre, and just in time to tackle some big issues facing this casual, coastal community! This virtual town hall, with the newly formed Road To The Future Task Force allows you as a Beachtown resident to attend the meetings and participate in the discussion each Wednesday night at 7pm.
Led by the affable and surf minded Mayor Steve Noval ( Jason Heil), this taskforce features some familiar faces from the previous original production at the Rep in 2018. Council Person Benny Ramos-Leibowitz (Salomon Maya), Resident Damon Haynes (Antonio TJ Johnson), resident Donna French ( Marci Anne Wuebben), Resident and activist Gloria Ramirez (Sandra Ruiz), and a new medical representative to the group Dr. Shirin Shirini (Mondis Vakili). Written and directed by Herbert Siguenza, the show aims to focus on different topics each week.
Last week's opening focused on reopening and the beaches but the problem of appropriate social distancing and it's enforcement proved to be trickier than may have been originally imagined. My personal favorite suggestion was from Council Person Benny Ramos-Leibowitz (Salomon Maya) who would like all adults to be enclosed in their own shark cage, for both personal space purposes and water safety. Where was this suggestion when the Mayor of Amity Island wanted to keep the beaches open? It could have been safer for tourists and great white sharks alike!
Herbert Siguenza took a moment to discuss how updating this show to current events proved to be an ever-evolving depending on real-world events. Originally slated to open on June 3rd that was pushed back due to events and protests happening that week.
I wrote the first episode weeks ago and every Covid 19 issue in it became obsolete! Things are changing every single day and I can't keep up. The events that transpired last week have put the coronavirus issue on the back burner. Quite frankly, I felt highly conflicted with my project since it was a comedy. I and the Rep decided to postpone the first episode a move it up a week. I think we will address the Black Lives Matter issue in the first episode but that was not the original intent. On the other hand, not to address it at all would be very irresponsible. I think the whole perspective of this country has been challenged this past week and nothing seems very important to me right now. I have to dig deep and say, "The show must go on!".
The original production was a live show with audience interaction in the theatre to build that sense of community. Adapting that into the virtual space was a new challenge.
It's been very challenging to go virtual. Especially when you go "live". Anything can happen and will happen. I do think it's a great way for people to interact with our cast and voice their opinions in a safe space so I can't wait to see that.
Even as things seem to change day by day Siguenza hopes this play allows for an outlet for people to process and discuss withing a sense of community.
The bottom line is that we are still in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic. We can't lose sight of that. I think people are distracted right now. I totally understand but I would be lying if I said these recent events have not affected me and the cast of Beachtown LIVE! We need to come together and talk about it.
BEACHTOWN LIVE! Is presented by the San Diego Repertory Theatre and Wednesdays, at 7pm. These virtual town hall meetings are free to join, but you can get your RSVP and meeting link by going to www.sdrep.org. Participation is welcomed but not mandatory, so don't be shy!
Photo Credit: SD Repertory Theatre