Golden West College's theater department is busily rehearsing for its next production, "The Servant of Two Masters," opening March 16, but its directors already have charted the school's course for the 2012-13 campaign.
And, a year hence, GWC audiences will see just what director Tom Amen was up to on his recent sabbatical to the South Pacific — researching for his ambitious project of writing his own adaptation of Herman Melville's "Moby Dick."
First, however, Golden West will take on a drama that had its beginnings in the Golden Age of television and later became a gripping movie.
"Twelve Angry Men" will open the new season, playing Oct. 12 to 21 under the direction of Martie Ramm. Reginald Rose's jury room classic focuses on a lone juror holding out for a "not guilty" verdict in a trial of a youth accused of murdering his father. It's been staged locally many times, both in its original form and in its mixed-gender version, "12 Angry Jurors."
"Inspecting Carol," Daniel Sullivan's yuletide comedy about a small theater on the brink of extinction staging a production of "A Christmas Carol," will light up the GWC Mainstage Theater from Nov. 9 to 18, with Amen directing.
In this farcical fable, a man who asks to audition at a small theater is mistaken for an informer for the National Endowment for the Arts. Everyone caters to the bewildered wannabe actor, who's as hapless as the rest of the cast.
Ramm returns to direct "Love Letters," a romantic two-hander focusing on a man and a woman as they sit side by side at tables and read the notes, letters and cards — in which over nearly 50 years, they discuss their hopes and ambitions, dreams and disappointments, victories and defeats — that have passed between them throughout their separated lives.
Since strict memorization is unnecessary, this play has been done with different casts at each performance, often with celebrated actors (Colleen Dewhurst and Jason Robards, Jane Curtin and Edward Herrmann, Polly Bergen and Robert Vaughn). Golden West's production will run from Feb. 8 to 10, 2013.
Then comes "Moby Dick," which Amen says is about two-thirds completed.
"But I am confident I will be closing fast as we head toward summer," he notes. "There are a number of good adaptations of the novel in play form; each was, in my opinion, flawed one way or another."
So, the director retraced Melville's path "into the heart of the South Pacific" and not only found a drama but fell in love ("but that's another story," he says).
He's aiming, he says, "to capture the essence of the story on stage in a highly theatrical, poetic way as opposed to a more literal approach."
"Moby Dick" will be staged from March 15 to 24, 2013, and will be followed by an award-winning Broadway musical, the title of which won't (or can't) be announced until November. It'll be directed and choreographed by Ramm — who also will mount "Cabaret," this coming May 4 to 13.
Playgoers intending to get a jump on the best seats soon can reserve both season tickets and individual show tickets by calling the box office at (714) 895-8150, or going online at http://www.gwctheater.com.
TOM TITUS covers local theater for the Huntington Beach Independent.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun