Within the realms of childhood, kids tend to see their world around them by way of the things and places they are exposed to. These exposers tend to be dictated and lead by way of the adults that are part of these kid’s domestic lives, from parents, caregivers, family members, friends of family, or other people that take responsibility for them until they turn the legal age when they become “adults” and can fend off for themselves.

In today’s post modern society, much of what kids are exposed to are based on what technology are made accessible to these kids, where they can see the world around them through a video screen of some sort. Some of these world views are not necessarily real or realistic. But much of it is based upon measurers that are nearly true and accurate that informs these kids on what is real, what is sort-of real, while the rest is up to them to pick and choose.

Younger kids (the pre-”tweeners”) may sense an idea to what’s there, while the “tweens” (age 8 through 13) and the teens (14 and up) are getting a major grasp to the elements that are there at their disposal, giving them a fast notion on what they are going to do among themselves once they hit adult age, and how they can carry on within their personal roles in society.

It’s rather obvious that social media, the element that they take advantage of because for those aged 18 and less, social media was always “there” for their amusement, gets these desires in check, while many of these’s kid’s parents/caretakers/people in charge either arranges encouragement for them, or at least sets guidelines on what they can have, and what they can wait for until their older.

In spite of this social communication available whenever they want and wherever they roam (assuming that there is wifi access found within their roaming spaces), many of these kids can decide what they want to do and how. To place it in classic terms, they still tend to say in more methods than one, “I wanna be a ___ when I grow up!”

If one is on the parent-esque track, chances are that the kids they look over are out of formal schooling for the summer. And in order to keep these kids as busy than ever, there is the option of sending their kids to summer camp. Sure, there are the traditional camps one would image based on the term “summer camp” with the usual visions of placing the kids in question on a plot located in a natural setting where these young’ins can hike, swim, fish, go boating, and other outdoors-y antics. Then there are the so-called “urban” camps that emphases upon a specific activity or skill, from the performing arts (theatre, music, dance, etc.) to something that will will prepare them into adult life, such as a trade that shows promise in the few years ahead.

Perhaps the bigger trends in an activity camp involves something that these kids totally know and love–technology! There are a number of these camps that places point into the STEM notions involving science, technologic aspects, math, and related elements that teaches these kids how to become a whiz, or bigger whiz, on anything that’s internet connected. These forms of camps are placed in an indoor setting (for the most part) and are set upon day camp structures. (No overnight stuff for the most part, unless the camp has a field trip to attend some high tech TED conference that’s rather kid friendly!) These kind of camps, totally nonexistent not so long ago, sets the pace on what these kids want to do or be when they indeed grow up, or at least when they physically grow up!

As this writer can only speak as a former kid but not as a parent, caretaker, or an adult that has others under the age of eighteen within his life, this notion only calls for what is known based upon second and third party status. All that this writer can note is to present in a fuddy-duddy fashion, what it was like as a kid long before I was able to vote, legally operate a car, or to other stuff that was for “grownups” only! (Don’t worry folks! I’ll be brief!)

When yours truly was under the age of consent, I kinda knew what I wanted to be, while at the same time, I had no idea what I desired to place myself within this cold cruel world I was existing in! I was just living in the present time for the present time. There was no “future” per se. The only future I knew of was the stuff I would see in science fiction flicks where, depending on the movie, consisted of space travel, lots of bright colored electronic devices that glowed, and space ships that featured robot voices (usually in a female sounding tone) warning those on board on the space ship that the vessel was going to blow up in three minutes! As for summer camp, or any kind of camp, that was out of the question. My summer activities outside of school did involve technology–watching lots of TV! While other kids would have their parents send them off to Camp Hiawatha or some other camp with an Indian name (“Native American” was a term that didn’t come around until the middle 1990’s, and this antidote occurred long before that time), yours truly parked himself in front of a 12” Sony black & white TV set to catch up on daytime television, mostly in the form of game shows. And since weekday evenings were not “school nights”, I could stay up later turning in to old movies that were on the late-late show. As I became an adolescent, there were a mix of old movies and late night talk shows where everyone from Dick Cavett to Tom Snyder would entertain me with their thought provoking interviews with guests I knew of, and a few I never knew existed.

However, take heed of the kids of today. When they say that they want to be a something or another, they know what they are doing since they can “google”, follow a tweet, or to Snapchat their way to grab the low down of what’s who and where, all without the notion of being in a FOMO state.
Theatre 40 of Beverly Hills opens their 2017-18 season of theatre shows with the west coast premier of Arun Lakra’s SEQUENCE, a play that is about genetics, probability, spiritual faith, and good old fashioned dumb luck as witnessed between a pair of material subject experts and the two that follow and question their existence.

The experts on hand are Dr. Guzman (Maria Spassoff) and Theo (Gary Rubenstein). These two start out on a presentation to a group that speaks upon their individual theories. Theo’s speciality is how he created a mathematical succession on fate and luck. He wrote a book on the subject as well as gaining fame on betting massive double-or-nothing amounts over the coin toss on The Super Bowl, winning for twenty years in a row. Dr. Guzman’s is a professor of stem cell research that is near the verge of a major discovery that can assist a massive population over yet to be cured genetic illnesses. Two people in attendance to this lecture hold their separate desires to meet Theo and Dr. Gutman’s over their own issues. Adamson (Crash Buist), a student of Dr. Gutman’s, makes a late night call to her lab in the basement of the university building she studies at. Adamson is confined to a wheelchair due to a childhood illness and a physical accident. Cynthia, baring child, meets Theo at his domain. Both of these young people have something to offer these experts within their elements, while the experts discover that these pupils may hold the key into their ideals, resulting upon an invisible conflict between the secrets of DNA research, the probabilities of how things occur and why, and the aspects of what really comes first? Is it an egg, a chicken, or neither–or both?

This play written by Arun Lakra, a medical physician turned playwright based in Calgary, Alberta, takes upon subjects as fate probabilities, stem cell breakdowns, statistical logic, the faith of God and/or its equivalents, as well as why and how people have all the luck while others don’t, blending all of these components into a tight one-act play that never keeps its pacing to falter. Told in a staggering motion where the four characters only meet as pairs: Dr. Guzman with Adamson, and Theo and Cynthia, this foursome never cross one’s paths although they speak and banter over similar theories and contentions, bringing upon conclusions over what they look upon one another or otherwise. The four players that appear in this stage piece keep the momentum going thanks to Bruce Gray’s stage direction. For some eighty-five minutes, the dialogue and actions will keep the audience into a suspenseful spellbound upon the subject matters as addressed!

Jeff Rack, Theatre 40’s residential set designer, completes a stage set that is relativity simple, consisting of a lab table located on stage left nestled with glass beakers and other items found in science halls, a 20 foot ladder on stage right (it functions as more than a lowly prop), and a floating traditional blackboard where Dr. Guzman, Theo, et. al, illustrate their notions in the same fashion as any professor of knowledge would do in a classroom-type setting.

SEQUENCE discusses a lot within its rather short running time. In spite of performing at slightly under an hour and a half, one won’t feel that time shortchanged the concepts to what they play is all about. In fact, this tense moment’s span only brings every detail into its own perceptive. It even opens a number of debates to ponder upon once the play reaches its conclusion. Not many plays out there can boast that notion, making it as entertaining and informative under one virtual flip of the theater coin!

SEQUENCE, presented by Theatre 40 and performs at the Reuben Cordova Theatre, located within the campus of Beverly Hills High School, 241 South Moreno Drive (off little Santa Monica Blvd.) Beverly Hills, until August 20th. Showtimes are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM.

For ticket reservations or for more information, call (310) 364-0535, or via online at http://www.Theatre40.com
The Sierre Madre Playhouse presents for their summer showcase, THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES, a musical romp where a quartet of friends in high school perform as their own vocal group at their senior prom, as well as at their high school reunion a decade later.

The scene opens at the 1958 Springfield High School prom. Four “bestie” friends, consisting of Betty Jean (Kate Ponzio), Missy (Afton Quast), Suzy (Kelly Klopocinski), and Cindy Lou (Kelsey Boze), have been asked by their favorite teacher Mr. Lee to perform as the prom’s entertainment as “The Marvelous Wonderettes”, their vocal group that musically achieves in the same musical tones akin to The McGuier Sisters, The Chordettes, and many of the other female vocal groups that dotted the hit parade. Dressed in their full skirted “party” dresses, they sing, dance (or actually, gesture in place), while carrying on through their show with some innocent bickering as noted on stage. (After all, they are high school girls!) Then the scene shifts to their ten year reunion in ‘68. The fashions have changed as they no longer don the frilled party dresses of yesteryear. Each one wears bright patterned trim line outfits with a boa accent while they sing the tunes of that period–the 1960’s! The songs, as well as Betty Jean, et. al., show that they have lost a bit of their innocence, but not as much as one would assume. Now the girls-turned-women have since experienced an adult life, taking some of its ups as well as the downs. In spite of these changes, they sing the tunes that speak for the times in addition with keeping up on their high school age aura as experienced at their humble alma mater.

This showpiece, written and conceived by Roger Bean, is a tribute to the songs of both the 1950’s and 60’s, as well as the notion that “BFFs” can remain such a set synced to a musical soundtrack. The four players featured in this show perform very well within their ensemble, as each one focuses upon their character and personality–both musically and laden with comical overtones. As to the music itself, such songs as Mr. Sandman, Sugartime, Lollipop, and many others are covered from this era. In act two where the reunion take place, the songs get a bit earthy. Said tunes as Rescue Me, Respect, Son of a Preacher Man, and many other added pieces are heard and performed that keeps this program at its lively pace. Robert Marra directs and choreographed this presentation that always maintains a lively persona, even when the foursome are bantering between musical interludes.

Outside of the songs and the four that sing and act within, what also make this presentation enjoyable is what is actually seen on stage. A. Jeffrey Schoenberg’s costuming highlights the era, from the fluffy prom dresses in various shades of pink, yellow, and blue, to the stylized 60‘s-era outfits, showing that these girls have indeed grown up! Jessica Mills’ wig designs add to the period flavor, too! The set design by Jeff Cason consists of a performance floorboard setting, first as a 50’s prom layout, to a ten year reunion place complete with a tinsel lined curtain as its background. (Derek Jones created the lighting design as well!) And Sean Paxton’s musical direction carries on the intervals that these girls/woman harmonize to. The orchestra, set behind the set unseen to its audience, consists of Paxton on keyboards, Mike Flick on bass, Kevin Tiernan on guitar, and Jayden Saldana on percussion.

Roger Bean is a playwright based in the Los Angeles area that is known to create “jukebox musicals”; shows that takes upon a plot and builds that story around existing songs, making the presentation as a new production using familiar tunes that fit among its presence. Currently, a Bean production is currently making its rounds in town, The Andrews Brothers (See review: Vol. 22-No. 28), as well as his latest creation, Honky Tonk Laundry that will perform in Hollywood in August. One can never go wrong with such a musical showcase, and the Sierre Madre’s presentation of THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES fits that bill to its “T”. Older tunes never seem to go out of style as they just get better over time and tide.

THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES, presented by and performs at The Sierre Madre Playhouse, 87 West Sierre Madre Blvd, Sierre Madre, until August 27th. Showtimes are Friday amd Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 2:30 PM. Special Saturday afternoon performances will take place on August 12th, 19th, and 26th at 2:30 PM.

For more details or for ticket reservations, call (626) 355-4318, or via online at http://www.SierreMadrePlayhouse.org
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

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ACCESSIBLY LIVE OFF-LINE (C) 2017 Linear Cycle Productions. All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!


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