For Bakersfield College's latest production, "Hot L Baltimore," the cast and crew dug deep into the culture of the 1970s. Can you dig it?
Director Bob Kempf certainly can since he was interested in working with students on a period piece, albeit a modern one.
He wrote in an email, "Lanford Wilson was one of the most popular and acclaimed playwrights in the '70s/'80s (back when I was in college), and I felt the time was right to look at his work again, and take the students on a little trip back to those times."
The show is a slice-of-life comedy set in a soon-to-be-condemned hotel. (The title is a nod to the "E" being missing in the hotel sign.)
"It's also a show very much of its time, the early 1970s," he wrote. "The Peace and Love movement of the '60s was fading, Tricky Dick was still in the White House, and the U.S. economy was in a major recession. Many people, especially in the lower classes, were a bit adrift and looking for new path. This play explores that aimlessness, but in a comedic way."
The cast of 12 includes Stephen Bush, Cheyenne Reyes, Carlos Contreras, Blanka Garcia, Brittany Beaver, Lindsay Pearson, Sara Alaniz and Tish Gamez.
Kempf said the performers were enthusiastic, embracing the costumes and music of the era.
He wrote, "The play's characters were also of interest because they are colorful and earthy, and most young actors tend to enjoy eccentric characters, especially if the characters have imperfections. Those imperfections make the characters more human, more relatable."
"Hot L" shows audiences that even four decades later, there are still some things that don't change, Kempf said.
"Times are tough, times were tough, but you just have to keep a sense of humor and persevere."