Five Magically Realized Stories About Taking the Leap in Life Take Wing at Valley Center Stage — Now thru Jan 25!
Gary Schwartz Directs Eva Moon’s Quintessential Musical in North Bend
On the stage of a theater, it is a conceptual leap. The stage disappears and the imagination soars. The association of concepts becomes weightless, bordering on the realm of the surreal. This poetic leap into magical realism first came into vogue with authors like the late Gabriel García Márquez, and more recently with movies like Beasts of the Southern Wild and Tim Burton’s Big Fish. Woody Allen’s New York Stories may bear the closest resemblance to First You Jump with five different contemporary, modern life-altering scenes. Who could forget Woody’s yenta of a mother forever taunting him from inside the clouds on high?
First You Jump is an inspiring, Northwest concoction of magical realism, a microbrew of finely hewed Northwest acting portraying a range of dramatic fantasy from a female U.S. Senator to Pinnochio, the puppet — (theater-goers witness a rare encounter at Papa Gepetto’s funeral).
The musical is directed by Gary Schwartz, the founder and artistic director of the Valley Center Stage, and a Hollywood veteran. Schwartz founded the North Bend theater to reintroduce stagecraft in a special corner of the Northwest linoleum where the television show Twin Peaks has made famous a few local landmarks, (Valley Center Stage is just a few doors down from the infamous Twin Peaks Diner.) Gary is also a world-travelled and much sought-after “Improv” acting instructor for the Fortune 1000, teaching improvisation and the impact of human performance. In Jump, the cast performances shine brightly and feature Rochelle Wyatt, Robin Walbeck-Forrest, Dennis Bateman, Vero LeCocq and Gretchen Douma, whom Gary describes as among “the most talented actors he has yet to meet in the state of Washington.”
The official “jump start” fuel for the production was an Internet-based Kickstarter campaign set up to collect a modest budget, not nearly enough to cover the sets, costumes, lights and sound, not to mention a video that will let the makers market the show to theaters across the US and across the pond. More than 35 local backers are investors in the show.
Playwright Eva Moon is the wind beneath Jump’s wings. [“Eva’s] is the story of five different people, in very different circumstances, all faced with a singular decision. Once made, that decision will change the course of their lives irrevocably,” intones Schwartz on the Kickstarter fundraising site. “It’s funny. It’s touching. It’s surreal. And most of all it’s thought-provoking.” The original score is also composed by Eva Moon who is a prolific blogger, lyricist, and budding screenwriter who has also worn the badge of digital strategist, marketing consult and Webmaster.
Tapping the synergy of the Web, the music behind the merriment can be heard, scene for scene, on the Website next to a description of each vignette which we can share here and now:
Damage Control – Sharon is running for U.S. Senate and election day is just a week away. But she’s got an enormous skeleton in the closet that won’t stay buried. Must she choose between salvaging her campaign and true love?
Red Algernon – When Beethoven’s genius comes in a bottle how can you compete if you don’t drink? The cost is high, though, and the outcome uncertain. What would you sacrifice to reach the stars?
Geppetto’s Funeral – Thirty years have passed since Pinocchio became a real boy and things haven’t worked out the way he expected. Now, he has a second chance at happiness. But a conscience can be a prickly thing.
Growing Feathers – A startling transformation that overtakes Corinne in her most intimate moments has left her feeling doomed to a solitary life. Now she’s met Tom and is ready to share her darkest secret. But Tom may have secrets of his own.
Terminal Velocity – Flames and chaos at 30,000 ft. Esther discovers she has the power to postpone her fate indefinitely – but not alter the eventual outcome. How much limbo is too much and how do you find the courage to make a leap of faith?
Rumor has it that Twin Peaks is coming back to TV. Until it does, North Bend, Wa, has a magical head start on life-challenging realism at the Valley Center Stage. [24×7]
First You Jump Website: http://firstyoujump.com/
Valley Center Stage: http://www.valleycenterstage.org/
— Larry Sivitz, Seattle24x7