Thursday, August 16 , 2018, 7:44 pm | Fair 73º


Gerald Carpenter: SBCC Theatre Group Opens Renovated Venue with ‘Through the Fire’

Original documentary features interviews with community members about their experiences with wildfire

The much-anticipated reopening is at hand. After what sometimes seemed an interminable renovation project, the performance spaces on the West Campus of SBCC are all up and running again.

The celebrated SBCC Theatre Group awakens refreshed and in full performance mode, opening with an original theatrical documentary piece, Through the Fire, through May 12 in the Jurkowitz Theatre.

Through the Fire, written by Katie Laris, Philip Laris and Alice Scharper, “is a documentary play composed of interviews conducted with Santa Barbara community members over a period of two years regarding their experiences with wildfire — from Sycamore through Painted Cave, up to the Tea and Jesusita fires — and spoken by the cream of the Theater Group’s favorites, including David Brainard, Nik Balah, Ann Dusenberry, Leslie Gangl-Howe, Jesse Garcia, Magdalena Gullberg, Chad Harris, Brian Harwell, E. Bonnie Lewis, Hudson Oznowicz, Edward Romine, Jenna Scanlon and Leslie Story.”

The script is “drawn from in-depth interviews from a range of Santa Barbarans — survivors, students, firefighters, artists, newscasters, unsung heroes” — from which pour “stories of courage, crisis and change in the face of an unstoppable natural force.”

Boiler plate notwithstanding, there are few narratives more absorbing than eyewitness anecdotes of a disaster. Santa Barbarans, for all their reputation as spoiled sybarites, have always behaved rather well during the periodic visits from the god of fire, or the god of earthquake. They don’t panic, they don’t loot; they look after their families, friends, neighbors and the occasional total stranger. In such times, one is more likely to find them laughing at some absurdity of the moment than raging against the cosmic injustice of the event. That’s been my experience, anyway. These stories should be well worth hearing.

Through the Fire previewed April 25-26. Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets range from $23 to $12, depending on the performance, the time and your demographic niche. Seating is general admission, and no late seating is permitted.

The Jurkowitz Theatre is wheelchair accessible and has assisted listening. Parking is free and near the theaters. Call the Garvin Theatre box office at 805.965.5935 for reservations and information.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

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