SBCC Theatre Group prepares for upcoming in-person performances

Katie Laris, theatre arts department co-chair and director of “Ripcord”, demonstrates how she’d like one of the actors to raise his arms for the ending of a scene on Oct. 6 in the Garvin Theatre at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif. The crew had to work on cutting the lights when the actor’s arms went up.

Laura Luevanos, Staff Writer

The Theatre Group is ready to present their upcoming show “Ripcord.”

“Ripcord” is a community theatre show where auditions were open to the public, not just students. This means a multi-generational group of actors has been cast, perfectly lining up with the plot of the show. 

The story follows two women in their late 70s, sharing a room and making bets with each other that bring nothing but trouble.

Katie Laris, show director and co-chair for the theatre arts department, said there is nothing better for actors than to play before an audience in person.

“There is nothing like live theatre. The experience of live theatre is such that you go into this space and it’s an event and experience,” Laris said. 

Every year, the theater department strives to keep in mind current events and connect its productions with what is happening now.

However, “Ripcord” felt like a lighter approach to present-day events said the department co-chair. 

She said everybody’s contribution makes each night and performance different. It’s a chance to do something that won’t ever be done again.

Last year, the pandemic challenged the actors’ approach to their performances. Being all on Zoom, the situation created a challenge on how much impact one can get out of the acting experience.

Being back together and in person, performances are elevated by the onstage interactions. 

Lead actors Ann Dusenberry and Leslie Story are excited to get back in the spotlight and are ready for opening night. 

“I haven’t been on stage for almost 5 years… It’s really nice to be back and it’s a lot of hard work so I’ll be nervous,” Dusenberry said.

Likewise, Story is nervous but anticipates an amazing opening performance. 

“For opening night I hope we hear some good laughter even behind the masks,” said Story. “I hope that they appreciate it. Being back in a theatre again amongst other people. That’s what we need.” 

City College asked actors to get vaccinated to satisfy safety requirements for rehearsals and performances. While rehearsals can get physically close due to the space and size of the group, the crew continues to be careful with safety protocols. For their performance, the county allowed the company to be unmasked.

The audience should expect to show proof of vaccination before entering and are required to be masked at all times. The venue provides hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the area. The theatre, originally holding 380, will be reduced to a 25-50% capacity to ensure social distancing. 

Safety backstage is just as enforced as it is in the front of house. The crew and actors are fully masked when not onstage.

“Ripcord” can be seen from Oct. 13 through Oct. 30 at City College’s Garvin Theatre.

Tickets are available online, on The Theatre Group’s website.