Patterson Rep’s ‘American Buffalo’
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Feb. 28 through March 2
WHERE: Apricot Valley Elementary School Multiuse Room, 1320 Henley Parkway
DETAILS: This play has strong language, and parental guidance is advised for those younger than 17.
COST: $10 for general admission, $8 for those younger than 18 or older than 65.
INFO: 499-9363, email@example.com or www.facebook.com/pattersonrep
Patterson Repertory Theatre volunteers knew they were in for a challenge last week when Patterson High School's auditorium was shut down because of fire sprinkler issues, prompting the cancellation of the first three shows of their latest production.
Thankfully for the cast, the theater group’s latest play, “American Buffalo,” is far more concerned with dialogue than movement or set design, so it was not too difficult to move the production to Apricot Valley Elementary School, director Joshua Morriston said.
“Theater is all about overcoming the obstacles,” Morriston said during rehearsal for the production at Apricot Valley on Tuesday, Feb. 26.
The David Mamet-penned play will run at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, through Saturday, March 2, in the elementary school’s multipurpose room.
Morriston said he had wanted to direct a Mamet play for some time. The director’s works include the Pulitzer Prize and Tony-winning play “Glengarry Glen Ross.”
“American Buffalo” is set in a Chicago junk shop, where three men concoct a plan to steal a valuable coin collection with a costly Buffalo nickel as its centerpiece.
But the focus of the play is far more about the play’s dialogue than about plot intrigue, Morriston said. Like Mamet’s other plays, it’s also laced with profanity, but he said the play is ultimately about relationships and trust and has a very masculine feel to it, he said.
“They’re men being men, unchecked and unmonitored,” Morriston said.
Turlock resident Michael Hewitt plays Donny Dubrow, the owner of the junk shop and the sole character who remains on stage at all times. Hewitt also was cast in Patterson Repertory Theatre’s production of Macbeth last fall, playing the role of Duncan, King of Scotland, and has acted in various other community productions at the Prospect Theater Project in Modesto and the Denair Gaslight Theater.
He said one of the reasons he admires the play is it shows the whole gamut of human emotion.
Patterson resident Spencer Reza, who plays the role of Teach, is returning to community theater after an 11-year hiatus. He said his character, who is a business partner of Donny, imagines himself the ringleader in the crime caper.
Reza had been a fan of some of Mamet’s other works and said he was thrilled when he heard about the opportunity to act in on of his plays locally. His past roles include performances in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” at the Denair Gaslight Theater and “The Wizard of Oz” at Newman’s West Side Theatre.
Daniel Moody, who plays Donny’s employee, Bobby, is a Modesto Junior College student who has performed on stage since he was age 13.
Like Reza, he said he is a Mamet fan and was attracted to the play’s rawness.
“He writes really earthy, realistic characters,” he said.
Morriston stressed that because of the extremely salty language, parents should take precautions when thinking about bringing children under the age of 17. At the same time, the play contains no sex and violence, the dialogue has a lyrical quality to it, he said.
“If you get beyond the (swear words), it’s poetic,” he said.
• Contact Jonathan Partridge at 892-6187, ext. 26, or firstname.lastname@example.org.