Saturday, April 21 , 2018, 1:37 am | Fair 55º


Center Stage Theater Hosts Dramedy Play ‘Pvt. Wars’

Santa Barbara actors Sean Jackson, George Coe and Sean O’Shea return to their former roles in James McLure’s “Pvt. Wars.”
Santa Barbara actors Sean Jackson, George Coe and Sean O’Shea return to their former roles in James McLure’s “Pvt. Wars.” (So Called Productions photo)

So Called Productions proudly presents Pvt. Wars by James McLure, the celebrated playwright whose Southern roots are reflected in the loquacious, mostly comic characters he created in plays Lone Star, its companion piece Laundry & Bourbon and Wild Oats, where he satirized the Old West.

The production will be presented at the centrally-located Center Stage Theater in Santa Barbara.

So Called Productions is a new nonprofit organization with the purpose to enrich, educate and entertain our community by providing a superior theater experience.  Founded by Sean O’Shea, a well-recognized Santa Barbara actor, director and producer of over 30 plays, will lead the charge for the company’s initial show. Bill Egan will direct.

Pvt. Wars, originally presented in 1977 as a one-act play and a decade later lengthened to a two-act play, shows us three Vietnam veterans waging their own private wars in a psychiatric ward of a veterans hospital.

McLure’s writing brilliantly evokes an uneven mixing of humor and sadness. Its three characters are Silvio, a swaggering Italian-American fixated on women and his own macho prowess; Gately, a gentle Georgian, resolved to maintain faith in the American system of "free enterprise"; and Natwick, the priggish Long Islander, whose intelligence and education make him acutely aware of his inadequacies, as well as the odd man out among the two other oddball characters.

Favorite Santa Barbara actors Sean Jackson, George Coe and Sean O’Shea will perform in their respective roles for a second time. Originally produced in 2013 in Carpinteria, also directed by Egan, the show received an enthusiastic response. 

Egan, excited to bring this exceptionally well-written dramedy to a broader audience, says, “This gives us a second opportunity to explore the show’s themes, which deal with fragile issues that veterans face on returning to civilian life from war. By exploring McLure’s material again, we can offer our new audience richer insight into the characters, and because of the comedic expertise of the actors cast, there will be plenty of belly laughs too!”  

Pvt. Wars induces difficult questions today about America's political and moral mission and its support of its fighting men. It seems a shocking anachronism in the parades and platitudes atmosphere of post-Gulf-War America. It portrays the odd comradeship that develops among men who have in common only the fact that they've fought and bled for their country— whether they knew why or not.

Performances will take place on Aug. 21–22, Aug. 26–29, Sept. 2–5 at 8 p.m. and Aug. 23 & 30 at 2 p.m. at Center Stage Theater, located at 751 Paseo Nuevo on the second floor near the Chapala Street side. 

General admission tickets cost $25 in advance or $30 at the door. Senior tickets cost $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Students with an ID can view the show for $20.  

So Called Productions is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to enrich, educate and entertain our community by providing a superior theater experience. For more show details, company insights or information visit their Facebook page.  

Jennifer Vogel represents So Called Productions.

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