What could be more timely and appropriate than to open the Spreckels show season with a play about a charter school at a time when more and more Americans are opting for alternative education for their children and school has just begun? “Eureka Day,” directed by Elizabeth Craven, makes its north bay premiere in the Bette Condiotti Experimental Theatre on Aug. 30.
Where better to set a play about a progressive charter school than in Berkeley, California? And what better themes to explore than current hot issues about racism, social media, personal relationships the possibility of civil discourse happening on Facebook or Twitter?
Add to that the mission of the school to permit and respect all points of view and the determination to hear all voices. Then mix in a very up-to-date discussion about the need to have everyone vaccinated. The play begins with a distressing and humorous situation.
Bay Area playwright Jonathan Spector, Oakland based, saw his play, “Eureka Day,” open in the Aurora Theatre in Berkeley and go on to win high honors such as the Will Glickman Award, the San Francisco Bay Area Critics Circle Award, the Rella Lossy Award, and the Theatre Bay Area Award. Three other plays written by Spector have also received similar recognition: “Good. Better. Best. Better,” “In From the Cold” and “Siesta Key.” Regarding his work in “Eureka Day,” the Chronicle declared that playwright Spector “proves as much a master of pathos as of comedy.
Director Elizabeth Craven, prominent in the Sonoma County theater scene for more than two decades, brings her sensitive touch to Spreckels once again. Last September she led a production that demanded a fine sense of balance in the dramatic “The Curious Incident of the Dog in Night-Time.” In “Eureka Day,” the challenge is to offset the comedic with the weightier issues and not let one overshadow the other.
Craven’s fine cast has the experience to mix the humorous with the serious. Jeff Cote’, who has performed in Sonoma County productions for a quarter of a century, and is just coming off a brilliant rendition of Atticus Finch in 6th Street Playhouse’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” is a perfect choice for Don.
Sarah McKheregan plays Suzanne. Eiko Yamamoto, who plays Meiko, has been in many productions, including Santa Rosa Junior College, Berkeley Repertory School of Theatre and the East West Players.
Rick Eldredge returns to Sonoma County to play Eli. He was in Cinnabar Theater’s “An Ideal Husband.” Val Sinckler as Carina brings extensive theater background to this role.
“Eureka Day” promises to deliver many laughs and to ignite some meaningful conversations. It opens Aug. 30 and runs through Sept. 22. For tickets call 707-588-3400 or go online: spreckelsonline.com.