Yuko Matsumura (played by Deborah Cristobal) recounts the story of immigrating to Santa Barbara in 1918 as a Japanese picture bride at the “Ghosts Along the Coast” show on Oct. 13 in Santa Barbara, Calif. Audiences rotated in groups throughout the night to witness Cristobal’s poignant performance. (Callahan Morgan)
Behind the scenes of actress Deborah Cristobal, as she prepares for her role in “Ghosts Along the Coast”
An audience of 20 gathers in darkness around a small clearing at the Godric Grove in Elings Park on a cool October night. Hushed voices direct the crowd’s attention towards a figure seated 10 feet away, shrouded by the night. Suddenly, a spotlight turns on and the shaded figure emerges in a vibrant orange and cyan kimono. She steps forward into the middle of the carpeted clearing and addresses the audience: “Have you seen my husband? I search the beach for him every night when the moon is full.” She goes on to relate her life story as a Japanese picture bride in 1918 sent all alone to Santa Barbara to meet her new husband for the first time.
After walking away from a performance like this, it’s often hard to fully appreciate the amount of time and effort it takes an actor or actress to prepare for a role. This story takes a look behind the scenes and follows local actress Deborah Cristobal through her preparation process from the initial layer of makeup up to the moments before her performance as Yuko Matsumura in the “Ghosts Along the Coast”, a 75-minute guided tour through the Godric Grove in Elings Park. The show ran for three nights on Oct. 13, 14, and 16.