SELMA – If you missed the Selma Arts Center’s latest show, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” on Sept. 9, take heart.
With their fourth season just announced, Director Nicolette Andersen says the SAC will continue to offer productions that will appeal to a variety of audiences, such as "The Little Mermaid," "Bring It On" and "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street."
“Our season is so versatile this year," she said.
On Sept. 9, SAC partnered with Open Book Productions to stage a one-night performance that served as a fundraiser for the next season’s opener, “Spring Awakening.”
“Curious Incident” tells the story of Christopher Boone, a brilliant but easily stressed 15-year-old math whiz. Boone lives with his divorced dad and has been falsely accused of killing his neighbor’s dog. He sets out to find the real killer and in the process, he inadvertently unearths family secrets as well.
Mitchell Lam Hau portrayed the character of Boone while Miguel Gastelum portrayed his father in the critically acclaimed play based on Mark Haddon’s novel. Additional actors in the play included Kindle Cowger, Kristin Crase, Rodolfo Robles Cruz, Kelsey Deroian, Dominic Grijalva, Juan Luis Guzman, Emily Kearns and Kyla Kennedy. Currently, the play is touring the United States.
Lam Hau and Gastelum coordinated the production and are both California State University, Fresno, graduates.
“It’s a reading, but it’s different than a normal reading. Mitchell has done a lot of blocking for it and staging,” Gastelum said.
Lam Hau described the reading as using choreographed movement to convey the message of the play.
“It’s all simple, but it’s all to serve the story," he said. "‘Curious Incident’ is actually a really visually based show that I felt just reading the text wasn’t going to be quite enough to get the message across. I wanted some visual stimulus to help us tell the story.”
The actors say they’ve been impressed with the Selma Arts Center’s willingness to bring new shows to Valley audiences and encourage those who’ve never been to a live theater production to explore the art form.
“SAC has done some really avant-garde stuff like ‘35 mm’ or ‘Mr. Burns,’ which was really unique and different,” Gastelum said. “The national tour of this play is happening tonight in Los Angeles and SAC is performing it down here, so that’s pretty cool they were willing to bring new and exciting stuff to the Valley.”
Lam Hau previously portrayed Benny in “In the Heights” and calls the experience some of the best theater he’s been involved with.
“This theater has such an amazing production value," he said. "The shows look amazing and the theater they’re doing here is so new. It’s exciting and it’s different and it’s not your Joe Schmoe 'Oklahoma.' It’s such fresh theater that it can really appeal to that modern audience."
The Arts Center also offers acting opportunities through its Cool Kids Production shows. Gastelum encouraged even the youngest of actors to continue honing their craft.
“They just did the kids’ production of 'Lion King Jr.' and it was phenomenal," he said. "It’s awesome to get them interested and excited in theater at that young age. It is such a cool and unique artistic experience that only happens one night and will only be the same way one time, which is really cool.”
Anderson said the Sept. 9 performance just happened to coincide with an art display of local artist Tom Wilson’s works, which were inspired from his journeys around the globe.
“His wife put together this collection for his 50th birthday and put it on display in the theater. We asked if he wouldn’t mind if we kept it on display through the week so it’d be open to the public. We thought it be wonderful to have it in conjunction with the reading. So it’s art meets art.”
The arts center will wrap up its 2017 season with its production of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," which runs Nov. 17 through Dec. 2.