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CSUB's 'Noodle Doodle Box' explores power of friendship

Audiences of all ages will enjoy laughs and lessons from "Noodle Doodle Box," a tale of friendship coming this weekend to the Dore Theatre at Cal State Bakersfield.

The show is part of Theatre for Young Audiences, which stages productions that are performed on campus as well as at local schools.

CSUB assistant theater professor and show director Amy Ressler said she selected the show based on its cast size (three performers) and small set requirements, which would make it flexible for school performances that might be restricted by safety guidelines. 

"Box" is "a comic but complicated view of what it takes to be a friend," Ressler said, focused on two clowns, Zacharias (Ivy Hasselbar) and Pepper (Miche Simmons), who each have their own living space that they refuse to share with each other. Tensions arise when Major (Hunter Wolosz) pits the two against each other in a bid to steal both spaces.

The show is suggested for audiences ages 4 and up, but Ressler said many adults will connect with the themes of friendship and the need to connect.

"There are points in the play when each of the two main characters find themselves utterly and completely alone, like the 'Wilson!' moment in 'Cast Away,'" she said, referencing the scene when Tom Hanks' character loses his volleyball, which has been his only companion on a deserted island, in the ocean.

"They are absolutely bereft when they realize they have no friend and are all alone in the world. Anyone who has felt loneliness in the pandemic will totally identify with those moments."

The play underscores the importance of friendship and the fact that human beings need each other, a lesson for children and adults alike.

"I'd like viewers to take away an understanding of what it takes to be a friend — and how important friendship is to your well-being. Don't take friends for granted. Reach out and be there for one another!"

"Noodle Doodle Box" will run Saturday at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. and Sunday at 1 and 3 p.m. at the Dore Theatre, 9001 Stockdale Highway. 

Admission is $5, free for children 12 and under. Tickets must be purchased online at csub.edu/theatre.

All attendees older than 2 years must wear masks in the theater and complete an online health screening at csub.edu/covid-screen prior to attending.

Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.

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