SBCCTG Finishes its season with hilarious modern romantic comedy
When: 7:30 p.m. tonight and Wednesdays through Saturdays. 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Through Apr. 27
Where: SBCC’s Jurkowitz Theater, West Campus
Cost: $26 – $17
Information: (805) 965-5935 or www.theatregroupsbcc.com
Over this last season at SBCC’s Theatre Company, student actors have played 1930s entertainers, medical staff at a 1940s asylum, and 1950s highschoolers. For its season closer, however, they are finally back in the modern world in Significant Other. In Joshua Harmon’s romantic comedy, late-20 somethings must contend with their current station in life versus their hopes and dreams, and what to do when everybody seems to be starting a life except for you.
Harmon’s other comedy, the scabrous “Bad Jews,” came to Santa Barbara in 2016. “Significant Other” is his followup.
“it’s very different from most of the plays we do,” says director Katie Laris. “It tries to capture the anxiety of young people about what path to go in their life. But it also speaks to experiences that everybody’s had.”
The playwright himself summed it up in an interview: “How do you make life work for yourself when you feel that you’re not living the life you’re supposed to be living or want to be living? And how do you deal with that when the changes that you need to make are in some ways outside of your control?”
In the play, Jordan (Christian Duarte) is fresh out of college, but watching everybody he knows pair up and settle down. Thing is, he’s gay, and his female friends are not. Always a bridesmaid and never a bride? Jordan doesn’t even get to join them down the aisle. The search is definitely on for Mr. Right even though it feels time is running out.
However, he does have one ally in his family, his grandmother, played by Marion Freitag. Having lost her husband she’s lonely in a similar but different way, and the two bond unlike anything before.
“These feelings know no age, and my (student) actors can related,” Laris says. “These concerns and anxieties are ageless.”
Laris first met lead actor Christian Duarte when he auditioned for “Grease” and landed the part of Roger. “He was so funny and so real in that play, so I thought of him when I set out to do this play,” says Laris. “I know how much vulnerability, heart, and warmth he would bring to the part. He also has more lines than Hamlet does. He has these unbelievable monologues and is on stage the entire time.”
Also in the cast Hazel Brady as Kiki. A former SBHS theater star, she’s been working in L.A. a lot, where she has been working on her comedy; Aurora Gooch plays Jordan’s best friend Laura; Irving Soto comes from UCSB; Annabell Walker is Duarte’s real-life sister and like him attended the Coronado School of the Arts; and Manuel Davila from SBCC and Justin Kang from UCSB round out the cast.
“You can get so caught up in chasing what you think a perfect life can be that you can’t possibly be happy,” she adds. “A lot of the play is about looking for and finding that close-friend connection.”
SBCC’s Jurkowitz Theater makes for a very intimate and funny evening, which also uses projections to brings audiences into the feel of New York City. “You can’t help but be immersed in the lives of these characters,” says Laris. “And that aspect of connecting with human energy is quite present in the room.”