While the clarion call is "Let's put on a show!" Barnyard Theatre doesn't harken back to musicals of the '30s (kind of too bad in a way). These precocious kids who are young adults at this point transform the historic Schmeiser Barn near Davis into a unique performance space each summer.
The shows start around sunset, and the company of area university theater grad friends focuses primarily on new and original work they develop themselves.
Their 2012 summer season opens with a world premiere of Meghan Brown's "Psyche," which plays Friday through Sunday, Thursday through July 28, and Aug. 2-4.
Directed by Steven Schmidt and Maddy Ryen, the playmakers call it "a darkly humorous retelling of the Eros and Psyche story from Greek mythology." Anthony Pinto, Madeline Stone, Alison Whismore, Jason Oler and Camille Beaumont make up the cast.
All performances at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 general, $10 students and seniors. For more information, go to http://www.barnyardtheatre.org tickets or call (530) 574-1318.
Last call for Kate
Despite what Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew" says about women and marriage (it's really not that great), it's one of the Bard's most popular plays. I guess people of both sexes just like seeing a wild, independent woman tamed by a strong masculine man who puts her in her place and teaches her how to act appropriately. What else could it be?
In the new Main Street Theatre production directed by Susan McCandless, the skilled veteran actors Julie Anchor and Allen Pontes are the warring couple Kate and Petruchio, and in this production there's a modern "Sopranos"-type edge to the proceedings.
This is the show's final weekend at the Kennedy Mine Amphitheatre in Jackson. The gates open at 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday for picnicking and the show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $17.50 general, $12 students 18 and under, and $49 for a family package (2 general admission; 2 students).
Bring a picnic dinner, wine, a jacket (for cool summer evenings), a blanket, low-back chairs and mosquito repellant.
See it through
Once, at an intermission of Thorton Wilder's "Our Town," I saw a family a scowling teenage boy, his peeved mother and a quiet, pensive dad bringing up the rear leaving the theater. I called out to them saying, "You can't leave now. You need to see the second act of this play to understand what the first half was all about." The boy looked at me a moment, considering the idea before putting his head down walking on. The mom followed the boy and the man followed the mom. It was their loss.
I hope they will sometime experience the near-mystical wonder of the play's second act, which is available to you at the Sutter Street Theatre, 717 Sutter St., Folsom. The production directed by Allen Schmeltz and featuring Jim Lane as the Stage Manager continues 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 4 p.m. Sundays through Aug. 5. Tickets are $15-$23. For information, call (916) 353-1001 or go to www.SutterStreetTheatre.com.