Following an abbreviated 2019-20 season, Stage Left Productions, 11340 W. Bell Road, is reopening under secure virus-protected conditions with a series of one-character plays.
“Bad Dates” by Theresa Rebeck was first produced off-Broadway for an extended run in 2003 and has become a popular staple among community theaters across the country.
Returning for her second appearance with Stage Left is Tess Jenkins, who played Blanche DuBois in last year’s production of “A Streetcar Named Desire.”
The play is directed by Cody Dull, who was recently honored as Best Director of a Play by the ariZoni Theater Awards of Excellence for his work last year with “Comedy of Tenors.”
The play will run from Wednesday, Oct. 21 through Sunday, Nov. 8. Performances are at 7 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday evenings, and at 2 p.m. Sunday afternoons. The Saturday, Oct. 31 Halloween performance will be at 2 p.m. as well.
“Bad Dates” is the story of Haley, a somewhat ditzy single mom of a teenage daughter, who moves from Texas (with her 600 pair of shoes) to Manhattan, where she becomes a waitress in a restaurant, owned by a Romanian mob. When the owners spend time in jail, Lacey is promoted to manager.
She proves to be an idiot savant, as the restaurant thrives in popularity. Little does she know (but will soon learn) that the eatery is in reality a money-laundering operation. Meanwhile, she engages in a series of romantic encounters that do not go well.
Ms. Jenkins is a well-known in the Valley, having been seen in leading roles in “Twelfth Night,” “The Crucible,” “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” “Antigone,” and “Alice in Wonderland,” for which she received an ariZoni nomination as Best Actress in a Play. She can be seen as the character “Speed” in the feature film, “Two Gentlemen of Verona,” streaming on Amazon Prime.
In an interview with Ms. Jenkins, Mr. Dull reports she is delighted to portray such a “spunky, funny, relatable” character; and that “bad dates are a universal experience.”
She faces challenges that are new for her: First of all she is adapting to the “new normal” of social distancing from both audience and crew. Moreover, acting is in large part “re-acting” to others; in this instance, she has no co-pilot — she’s flying solo.
In order to adapt to public health guidelines, several measures have been instituted.
The number of seats has been reduced from 82 to 25. Unavailable chairs have been removed.
The outside doors to the theater will not open until the house is open. Ticket holders will proceed directly to their seats without lingering in the lobby.
All patrons will wear masks throughout the performance. The play is performed without an intermission.
Tickets may be obtained online here. They may also be obtained by phone, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday to Wednesday at 623-285-6321.
Tickets will not be available at the door.