"It's never too late to discover who you are and to surprise yourself." Those words, from Mariah Jordan, co-director of "Stop Kiss" at Bakersfield Community Theatre, are welcome ones for anyone long out of their twenties considering a change.
The play is ready to make a splash for its limited two-performance run this weekend. It is the story of Callie (Mai Giffard) and Sara (Alissa Morrow), two friends who slowly and unexpectedly fall in love. Although a violent attack leaves Sara in a coma, the story is told with flashbacks showing how the women fall for each other.
"I would describe the show as an accidental love story," Jordan wrote in an email. "Each character's journey plays into the other to create a beautiful representation of what it's like to fall in love with someone unexpected and discover who truly makes you feel worthwhile and complete."
For Jordan, this was an artistic journey, shared with fellow director Lexi Phillipi, who originally found the show. Rather than divvying up duties, the directors ended up collaborating and putting all the pieces together.
"Since we started out with the same vision for the show it was easy to be able to work together on the creative aspects of things," Jordan wrote in an email.
Going back to that message of hope, Jordan said the show shares a strong message.
"Everyone in the world deserves a chance to discover themselves like these two women do, whether that be romantically, platonically, in a career, religiously, etc. It's so important to give yourself permission to to do something new and fulfilling for who you are."
The show also stars Justin Thompson, Jeramey Landrum, Tena Williamson, Adam Fernandez and Elizabeth Jackman.
"Stop Kiss" plays at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the theater, 2400 S. Chester Ave. Tickets are $14, $10 for seniors, students and military; available at squareup.com/store/bakersfieldcommunitytheatre.
Leave to the creative folks at a university to seek to tell the freshest stories. The theater department at Cal State Bakersfield is showing us how it's done with this weekend's production of "The Profane."
"... We are one of the first groups to produce it, which is exciting," Mandy Rees, chair of Department of Music & Theatre and the show's director, wrote in an email.
"Because the play is so topical, it appealed to us. We hope it is thought-provoking and opens up discussions."
In the show, Raif Almedin (Jacob A. Cota) is a first-generation immigrant who prides himself on his modern, enlightened views. He learns the threshold of his tolerance when his younger daughter, Emina (Carolina Coronado), falls for Sam (Shawn Anto), who hails from a conservative Muslim family.
"For many of us, it isn't until we are put under pressure that our prejudices emerge. When Raif is confronted with his daughter marrying into a fundamentalist Muslim family, that places pressure on his beliefs about himself."
The topic of tolerance is very relevant in our society across all boundaries, Rees said. Although the play is about Muslim families, other religions or even political viewpoints could easily be substituted.
"It is important to listen to and respect one another," Rees said. "It can be very difficult sometimes, even painful, but it is worth the effort."
"The Profane" plays at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Doré Theatre, 9001 Stockdale Highway.
Admission is $10, $8 for seniors (60 and older), CSUB faculty and staff, $5 for students (with identification). The box office opens one hour prior to each performance, accepting cash or checks. You can make a reservation by calling 654-3150. There is free parking available in front of the theater.
Comic book video
Thomas Farr, author of the comic book “Female Dick — Last Train to Bakersfield” checked in with an update on where he's at with his ongoing project.
He's planning a sequel to the tale of a local female detective rooting out corruption and sexism in the late 1970s but first there's a video, available on YouTube.
His daughter, Olivia Fries-Farr recorded a version of "Streets of Bakersfield" to play over the video featuring art from the book. The song also features a voice-over by Jaz McKay, who voices the character DJ Johnny Blaze.
Farr said they even got the blessing of Suzan Joy, the widow of Homer Joy, who wrote the song in 1972.
"She said Homer would be proud of the video and my daughter's vocals on 'Streets of Bakersfield (Country House Mix),'" Farr wrote in an email.
The writer mentions viewers should stick to the end and enjoy a little local Easter egg, which may involve a certain honky-tonk sign that went missing earlier this year.