“The Yellow Boat” runs Oct. 20-28 at the Sierra Madre Playhouse
Published : Thursday, October 12, 2017 | 11:24 AM
In partnership with the Sierra Madre Playhouse, students within the California School of the Arts – San Gabriel Valley (CSArts-SGV) Acting Conservatory open the school’s performance season with its inaugural play, “The Yellow Boat,” a story about family, creativity and community. Seeking to build strong community partnerships throughout the San Gabriel Valley region, CSArts-SGV has formed a relationship with the emerging theater, who shares similar values, and can provide an intimate venue suitable for the Acting Conservatory, while the school’s Performing Arts Center is in need of renovation. The common goal of both organizations is to forge a strong community arts alliance by creating educational opportunities and producing live theater performances. This unique partnership allows the two organizations to bring together generations of theater artists and patrons.
“The Yellow Boat” was selected as the conservatory’s first play to illustrate the vision and values inherent in the culture of the CSArts-SGV Acting Conservatory, which offers comprehensive acting, voice and movement training to talented students with aspirations of careers on stage or in film and television.
“The Acting Conservatory is an ensemble growing together as artists and individuals,” says CSArts-SGV Chair of Theatre Jay Wallace. “We set out to develop young artists who are empathetic and empowered, goal-oriented, effective communicators who will impact society as innovative, passionate leaders.”
Written by David Saar, “The Yellow Boat” has been described as an imaginative, stylistic and adventurous journey, filled with humor, color, heartbreak and ultimately, hope. Detailing the short life of a young, high-spirited child living with a terminal illness, the ensemble piece spotlights the healing that art can bring in times of trouble, and the importance of family and community. It is a celebration of the strength of children and an inspiring piece for all ages.
“This rich material, based on a true story, offers a unique opportunity to our CSArts-SGV Acting students to delve into personal and rich elements of character and story that contain the potential to impact our audiences in a powerful way,” continues Wallace.
Students are led by Joe Calarco, a well-respected Los Angeles director and the associate artistic director of Coeurage Theatre Company, who is also the school’s playreading instructor. Calarco mounted a successful and critically acclaimed version of “The Yellow Boat” with Coeurage Theatre Company several years ago, and has been using this experience to guide CSArts-SGV’s young actors through the creative process and mentor them as they develop professionalism and a sense of craft.
Students have been rehearsing since the second week of the school year. Beginning Oct. 2, Acting and Production & Design Conservatory students transitioned into the Sierra Madre Playhouse theater space, where they rehearse after a rigorous day of academic and arts conservatory classes. More than 100 student actors auditioned, and 12 were cast, ranging from grades seven through 11.
“The Yellow Boat” marks the beginning of an exciting CSArts-SGV theater season, which also includes the all-school musical “Pippin,” presented with a Steampunk aesthetic, as well as two additional plays. In the spring semester, the School of Theatre presents “Elephant’s Graveyard,” an ensemble character piece based on a true story, and produced as sight-specific immersive theater. This is followed by Oscar Wilde’s hilarious period comedy, “The Importance of Earnest,” which renews the partnership with the Sierra Madre Playhouse and takes place in March.
“The Yellow Boat” takes place Oct. 20-21 at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 22 at 2 p.m., Oct. 27 at 7:30 p.m., and Oct. 28 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Season ticket holders of the Sierra Madre Playhouse enjoy a special preview performance on Oct. 18, which includes a cast talk-back following the show. Tickets are $20 online and $22 at the door. To purchase, visit sgv.csarts.net/theyellowboat.