Theatre Threshold returns with three upcoming virtual productions for the spring 2021 semester, including “The Grief Sherpa,” “36 Questions” and “American Dysmorphia.”
“The Grief Sherpa”
After losing her mother 10 years ago, history major Romee De Maria, who requested the Daily Forty-Niner to use her pen name, graduated in fall of 2020 used her grief and pain to create the upcoming radio play called the “The Grief Sherpa.”
De Maria said she used the lessons she learned while grieving her mother for the play, hoping it could impact someone. She said she is excited to take on the challenge of directing a virtual performance as well.
According to De Maria, The Grief Sherpa is a spiritual being named Jay that helps people go through their grief. When Claire, a young adult, loses her mother, she screams, which causes a tear between this world and the next. Because of that, Claire is able to see things she is not supposed to see, allowing her to catch a rare glimpse of how the spirit world works behind the scenes in times of sorrow. Claire’s gift of sight helps her receive her “grief backpack,” a backpack that holds sorrow in the form of tears and is meant to be a personal experience for the character.
The 10-minute radio play will consist of pre-recorded audio and two live casted roles for Claire and The Grief Sherpa.
“My goal with this play is to have a different conversation around grief because people don’t really want to talk about it,” De Maria said.
“The Grief Sherpa,” will premiere through Zoom on Mar. 19.
Zach Liong, a fourth-year double major in creative writing and theatre performance, will be directing “36 Questions.”
The show is based off the musical of the same name, which was released in the form of a podcast and premiered in 2017. It starred Jonathan Groff and Jessie Shelton.
Liong, who is mainly an actor, has yet to direct a non in-person production but is excited to direct this podcast musical.
“36 Questions” will consist of two actors only. According to Liong, the story is about two characters named Jase and Judith, whose marriage fell apart after Jase found out Judith lied about her identity for the two years they were together.
“In this musical story, Judith tries to reconnect with Jase by cornering him at his family’s home and approaches him with the 36 questions they used to fall in love for the first time, hoping they would fall in love again,” Liong said.
Liong explained where the idea behind the production came from,
“The show was brought to my attention from two of my friends who were really into it in the past year and we thought it would be a great compromise to put it through Zoom since you wouldn’t need big set requirements or cameras,” Liong said.
“36 Questions” will run from Mar. 11-12 via Zoom.
Ryan Manikowski and Vanessa Mena, who are both fourth-year theatre arts majors, are the directors of “American Dysmorphia.”
Manikowski said that it is an anthology-style show featuring a variety of stories and voices.
This anthology will be pre-recorded and feature a cast of 15 to 21 individuals who have responded to the term “American Dysmorphia.”
“I noticed there has been a lot of amplification in presidency over the past four years and a weird detachment from the word ‘American’ so I compared it to body dysmorphia, in terms of dysmorphia being a disconnection of what’s actually there and what something else is telling you,” Manikowski said, explaining inspiration behind the production.
“American Dysmorphia” will be released on YouTube but will be streamed live through CSULB Theatre Threshold on April 30.