by Lorie Lewis Ham
As theatre gradually returns to local stages it is taking on many forms, including staged readings. We recently chatted with Christine Myers, a member of UR Here Theater, to learn about the staged readings they are doing at 2nd Space Theatre in Fresno. Christine is a board member of UR Here Theater and the director of the readings.
KRL: When did Fourth Wall Theatre become UR Here Theatre and how did that come about?
Christine: A small group of theater geeks – Chris Mangels, Julie Lucido, Jonathon Hogan, Marc Gonzalez, and Diane Fidalgo – wanted to produce shows that would tell the stories of diverse groups that aren’t normally seen to encourage and facilitate dialogue between differing points of view and experiences.
Chris was a Fourth Wall board member and discussed having our group carry the torch. The existing board was excited to hear our mission and after a lengthy discussion, the remaining four joined the Fourth Wall/UR Here board.
KRL: Where are you based?
Christine: We are based out of Fresno and consider UR Here to provide thought-provoking, diverse and inclusive theatrical experiences for the entire Central Valley and beyond.
KRL: What is you 222 Test Pilot Series of Staged Readings?
Christine: The 222 Test Pilot Series of Staged Readings is our way of bridging the gap between casual backyard readings to full-fledged productions. These readings give us a way to see what we might want to stage, while introducing the community to our mission in the theatre space.
KRL: How did the readings come about?
Christine: During the pandemic, our fearless leader, Julie Lucido, created the Backyard Readers Theatre Lab (BYRTL), as a safe place to do socially distant readings of material that wasn’t often produced in Fresno. As the world started opening up again, and with the generous support of Dan Pessano and Good Company Players, it was the right time to move to public staged readings.
KRL: When and where will they be?
Christine: The 2nd Saturday of the month, at the 2nd Space Theatre at 2:00 p.m… see? 222. We’re clever like that.
KRL: How much are tickets and where can they be purchased?
Christine: Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door and can be purchased from our website: www.urheretheater.com
KRL: Do you know what shows you will be reading?
The Last, Best Small Town by John Guerra – PREMIERE August 14
THE STORY: Guerra captures the ethos of Our Town in an entirely new piece that straddles a similar universal divide, challenging the perspective that Our Town is a blank canvas of universality free from identity. The story of two neighboring families –one Latinx and one white–who live in the small southern California town of Fillmore. As the first decade of the 21st century unfolds, the children of these families come of age, fall in love, suffer loss, and hunt for their place in a world that can no longer promise them a better life than their parents.
Generously Sponsored by KATE MCKNIGHT
Pass Over by Antoinette Nwandu September 11
A provocative riff on Waiting for Godot, Pass Over is a rare piece of politically charged theater by a bold new American voice. Moses and Kitch stand around on the corner – talking shit, passing the time, and hoping that maybe today will be different. As they dream of their promised land, a stranger wanders into their space with his own agenda and derails their plans. Emotional and lyrical, Pass Over crafts everyday profanities into poetic and humorous riffs, exposing the human spirit of young men stuck in a cycle looking for a way out.
Generously Sponsored by PATRICIA HOFFMAN
The Cake by Bekah Brunstetter October 9
Della makes cakes, not judgment calls – those she leaves to her husband. She is overjoyed when her best friend’s daughter returns from New York and asks Della to make her wedding cake. As a sweet-natured Christian, she is forced to re-examine her deeply-held beliefs when she realizes there is not one bride, but two. Faith, family, and frosting collide in this timely new play by Bekah Brunstetter, writer for the NBC hit This is Us.
Generously Sponsored by Marketing Plus
An Irish Surprise!!! November 13
Closing out our season will be a celebration of the great Irish writers with a title to be announced. Don your green and wool, and come enjoy a staged reading and a special post-show performance from our sponsor!
Generously Sponsored by Celtic Alchemy
KRL: What else is planned for UR Here Theater this year?
Christine: Currently, we are working on developing ourselves as a company and solidifying what we do well, building on BYRTL and 222.
Our next 222 is on August 14, 2021 and is a bit of a unique reading. Last, Best Small Town, by John Guerra, is having its world premiere this summer at the Theatricum Botanicum in L.A. We were very fortunate to get rights for a reading at the same time and will be hosting a road trip to see the full production in September.
KRL: Do you have a website/social media?
KRL: Anything else you would like to add?
Christine: We are always happy to talk with anyone about supporting, performing, attending, etc. so please get in touch! UR Here is here for you.
If you love local theatre, be sure to check out Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast, which features mysteries read by local actors. You can find the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, and also on podbean.