by Shirley Lorraine
Travelers find common ground
The Beacon Theater Company has mounted its second production in the form of Walter Cronkite is Dead, now playing on the Elite Theatre’s main stage. The Elite, currently in a restructuring period, has graciously invited Beacon to use the stage while they are between productions.
Walter Cronkite is Dead is a two-person play by Joe Calarco that is filled with humor, familiar conversation dilemmas and finally, friendship. Directed by Kathleen Bosworth, the play is set in a bar area of the Reagan National Airport just outside Washington, D.C., waiting out a storm that has all flights grounded until further notice.
Jill Dolan embodies the character of Margaret, a woman embarking on her first plane trip. She has battled years of fear of flying and the storm delays certainly don’t help ease her nerves. She tries to stay focused, but her mantra of calm is quickly shattered when Sindy McKay, as traveler Patty, a compulsive talker, enters. With nowhere else for Patty to sit, Margaret reluctantly shares her table.
The personalities and demeanors of the two are like oil and water. Margaret is buttoned-up and business-like, while Patty is comfortable in jeans and sneakers. Patty brings a tote full of snacks and things to do while Margaret is armed with just a travel guide to her destination. However, with time (and a little wine), the two begin to share bits of their lives with each other, finding that they have more in common than either would have imagined.
A few political references rankle each as they discover they have opposing viewpoints, but ultimately even those are put aside as they do what they can to make the best of their limited time together.
Both actresses are a delight to watch as they work their craft. The single setting is minimal, giving both free reign to engage the audience through their reactions, inflections and body language.
The 90-minute play runs without intermission. The action is periodically punctuated with some amusing announcements and storm updates. The play is definitely worth catching. Pass the word.
Tickets for the current production are $22. Purchase online at www.beacontheatercompany.com or 805-233-6965. The production runs Friday and Saturday at 8 and Sunday at 2 p.m. through November 24 at the Elite Theatre, 2731 S. Victoria Ave., Oxnard
Almost all Ventura County live theaters are non-profit and do not pay their actors or technicians. Participants do it for the love of their art, volunteering a great deal of time and effort to entertain audiences. All aspects of live theater provide opportunities to learn new skills and enhance skills already in place, both onstage and behind the scenes. Your support of all Ventura County theaters is crucial to their continued success.
The Beacon Theater Company is seeking a permanent home. Any help in this effort is encouraged. Contact Tom Eubanks, Co-founder, at [email protected] or 805-233-6965.
The Elite Theatre, too, is experiencing challenges in keeping the doors open. Visit its new website, www.theelite.org for more information. or e-mail [email protected]. 805-483-5118.