Monday, July 16 , 2018, 9:45 pm | Fair 66º


Speaking of Stories Tees Up Reading of ‘Golf with Alan Shepard’

Speaking of Stories presents a reading of Golf with Alan Shepard by Carter Lewis.

A quartet of aging retirees tee up for a witty and incisive reflection on love, faith, time and (of course) golf. Over 18 holes, the cranky but loveable foursome trade barbs and one-liners on topics ranging from love and mortality to top-secret magic golf techniques.

At times touching and insightful, and always comic and entertaining, this is a round of golf you won't want to miss. There is something here for every golf lover who has chased the little while ball, but even if you don't know a putter from a petunia these four characters will charm and amuse you.

Award-winning playwright Lewis is currently playwright-in-residence at Washington University. His works have been performed at venues across the country, including the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Syracuse Stage, The New Repertory Theatre and Theatre on the Square. A few of his other published works include Soft Click of the Switch, Picasso Does My Maps and American Storm. His writing will take you from tears of laughter in one moment, to simply tears in the next.

Artistic Director Maggie Mixsell has assembled a cast of Speaking of Stories veterans to bring this fascinating foursome to life. Charles de L'Arbre, Rich Hoag, Tony Miratti and Rudolph Willrich are joined by Robert Reichel, who will make his Speaking of Stories debut playing the role of the all-knowing microphone.

Griff is the curmudgeon in the group. At one point he explains, "On Tuesday I go to the race track and yell short jokes at the jockeys, and on Sunday I win at golf." Milt, Griff's mild-mannered friend who is haunted by the past, threatens to put Griff's winning ways at risk. Larkin is a defrocked priest turned golf instructor who mixes a bit of philosophy with his golf tips. Then we have Ned who croons to his lost wife, practices duck calls and displays a newfound mastery of the game that has every one wondering what his secret is.

De L’Arbre has had a long career in Santa Barbara theater, notably as a founding member of the Ensemble Theatre Co. with which he appeared in 19 roles beginning with Ensemble’s first production, G.B. Shaw’s Candida, and most recently in A Substance of Fire. He is also active as a voice-over artist and is president and CEO of Santa Barbara Travel.

Hoag is an accomplished actor and has appeared in more than 75 plays and musicals, both amateur and professional. He is a five-time Independent “Indy” award winner, including for his one-man show, Will Rogers’ America, which he currently tours throughout the Western United States. Rich is also a writer and show designer and has penned scripts for the Discovery and Disney Channels, as well as award-winning short films (most recently for Roaring Camp at the Telluride Film Festival). He has appeared in several feature films lately, including Small, Beautifully Moving Parts and Killer Holiday.

Willrich is a seasoned stage actor on and off Broadway and in regional theater. He has appeared in a number of productions at The Ensemble Theater Co. in Santa Barbara, including The Ride Down Mount Morgan, Moon Over Buffalo, Communicating Doors, The Countess, A Doll’s House, Art, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, The Cripple of Inishmaan, The End of the Day, The Game of Love and Chance, A Life in the Theatre, Sylvia, Sight Unseen and The Weir, a performance that was recognized by Backstage West. He was seen in Lee Blessing’s Thief River at the Contemporary American Theatre Festival in Shepherdston, W.V. Other regional appearances include The Boys Next Door and Murder in the First at the Rubicon Theatre in Ventura.

On Broadway, he appeared in Emperor Henry IV by L. Pirandello, Dirty Linen and Newfoundland by Tom Stoppard, and the original Noises Off by Michael Frayn. In Los Angeles he appeared in Benji Anderson’s The Possum Play (Taper II), As You Like It (LA Shakespeare Festival) and Rumors by Neil Simon. His film and television credits include The Practice, What’s Love Got To Do With It, Steal Big Steal Little, All My Children, Home Improvement, Critical Condition, Rescue 77, Family Law and the Star Treks: Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Enterprise.

He is a resident of Santa Barbara and has received several Independent Theatre Awards. He appears regularly with Speaking of Stories.

In his New York stage debut, Miratti won the New York OBIE Award for Best Actor and, over the last 25 years, he has added numerous accolades including Best Supporting Actor Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award, Drama Logue and L.A. Weekly Awards, Santa Barbara Independent Awards, and is the recipient of the 2003 Arts Fund Individual Artist Award for his performances.

Veteran television viewers will remember Miratti on General Hospital, Rockford Files, The Incredible Hulk, Rhoda, Cliffhangers, Emergency and others. Local theater-goers will remember him as Mark Twain in his one-man show, The Trouble Begins at Eight at the Victoria Theatre. Also, at Center Stage, as "Pale" in Burn This and Camping with Henry and Tom.

In the Santa Barbara Magazine Best Of  2012 edition, T.C. Boyle shared his affection for Speaking of Stories performances: “My favorite literary event in town, hands down, is Speaking of Stories. There is a real thrill in sitting in a darkened theater and hearing inspired actors perform short stories. What does it make me think of? My mother. My mother reading aloud to me and doing all the voices. This is one of our great local institutions.”

Golf with Alan Shepard performs at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday Sept. 6-7 at Center Stage Theater, 751 Paseo Nuevo, in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara. Box office hours are noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and one hour before all shows.

Tickets are $15 for students and active duty military, $20 general admission, and $50 patron which includes a post-performance reception with the artists. Visa and Mastercard are accepted.

Call the box office at 805.963.0408 or click here to purchase tickets. Click here for more information. Center Stage Theater is wheelchair accessible and has Assistive Listening System headsets available.

— Teri Ball is executive director of Speaking of Stories.

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