Theater arts

Theater Pocket book: Play-reading collection marks Patricia Elmore Costa’s fiftieth 12 months as theater artist, trainer

How does one sum up a 50-year profession within the theater? For Patricia Elmore Costa, the reply is simple. She’s placing on a play.

On April 1, the founder and inventive director of San Diego Actors Theatre will produce and direct a staged studying of David Mamet’s “The Duck Variations” on the Riford Library in La Jolla. Two extra readings are deliberate in June and in both August or September. The three-reading collection marks the primary stay occasions San Diego Actors Theatre has introduced because the pandemic hit. Costa she’s excited to get again to work.

Two older men sit on a park bench together.

Fred Harlow, left, and Byron LaDue in San Diego Actors Theatre’s 2017 manufacturing of “The Zoo Story.” The actors will re-team April 1 for SDAT’s “The Duck Variations.”

(Courtesy of San Diego Actors Theatre)

Costa grew up in Chicago, the place she was a member of the Second Metropolis comedy troupe with household pal Invoice Murray, studied appearing underneath playwright Mamet, labored at evening as an actor on stage, radio and tv and supported herself with a day job as a Okay-12 schoolteacher. She moved to San Diego in 1977 to marry San Diego Police Lt. Det. Joseph James Costa, who was an enthusiastic supporter of her theater profession till he handed away from most cancers in 2002.

Costa began out in San Diego in an improvisational theater troupe, Spontaneous Combustion, with the as-yet undiscovered Whoopi Goldberg. She went on to carry out at just about each theater in San Diego County.

Patricia Elmore Costa

Patricia Elmore Costa

(Patricia Elmore Costa)

In 1985, Costa and a few associates launched San Diego Actors Theatre, which through the years has produced dozens of staged readings and full-length performs, usually in site-specific productions at spots like a swimming pool, artwork gallery, convent, restaurant and park. For 12 years she ran Youngsters’s Classics theater in Del Mar’s Seaside Park. And since 2018, she has co-created family-friendly leisure for the San Diego Museum of Artwork and San Diego Shakespeare Society. This 12 months, Costa can also be celebrating her fiftieth 12 months as a trainer, targeted primarily within the areas of appearing for the stage, tv and movie for adults and kids.

Costa talked final week about her lengthy profession, a few of her favourite previous productions and what’s nonetheless on her bucket checklist.

Q: What was it like coaching underneath David Mamet?

A: I used to be recent out of faculty with a level in theater. He was powerful and I keep in mind pondering I knew nothing. He was younger then, too, and experimenting with the Stanislavski Technique. I didn’t discover doing his performs troublesome. Perhaps it’s as a result of he was from Chicago and I used to be from Chicago. The person I used to be courting on the time, J.J. Johnston, was a favourite of Mamet’s and Mamet devoted “American Buffalo” to him. That they had that very same staccato fashion of speaking. Mamet was a fast-talking, actually good man.

Q: It should have been tradition shock to transition from the huge theater market in Chicago to then-sleepy San Diego.

A: Transferring right here, it was a totally completely different tempo and pacing, and never solely in theater. I used to be doing a number of TV and radio commercials in San Diego. One of many first issues I did was I labored with Whoopi for 2-1/2 years doing one thing referred to as Lunchtime Theatre on the Marquee Public Theatre, the Outdated City Theatre and the Comedy Shops in La Jolla and Los Angeles.

Q: What led you to start out San Diego Actors Theatre in 1985?

A: I assumed it was time to do some work that I actually needed to do as an actor, director and producer. I actually take pleasure in working in an surroundings the place you could have extra management, extra say over your season and in selecting actors and administrators you wish to work with.

Q: What sort of performs would you say SDAT is understood for?

A: We don’t produce native playwrights. I used to be drawn to performs written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwrights and that have been getting good notices out of New York, Chicago and main regional theaters.

Q: What was San Diego Actors Theatre’s first huge success?

A: It was Beth Henley’s “The Miss Firecracker Contest” in 1987. I produced it and carried out in it, and when the run was over it was picked up on the Fiesta Dinner Theatre the place it ran for 4 extra weeks.

Q: Are you able to title just a few of your favourite productions from SDAT’s 37-year historical past?

A: That’s a troublesome one. Let me assume. “The Miss Firecracker Contest” could be one. “Eleemosynary” by Lee Blessing in 1991 (which marked Costa’s directorial debut). “The Final Yankee” by Arthur Miller in 1999 is one other. I acquired a hand-written word from (Miller) on his private stationery thanking us for the manufacturing. And possibly “The Good Social gathering” by A.R. Gurney in 1989.

Q: Are there any performs nonetheless in your want checklist?

A: I’d actually love to do some Shakespeare — carry out in it, direct it and produce it. I’ve no plans to retire at this level. I prefer to hold working as a result of it’s essential to maintain the mind shifting.

“The Duck Variations” will likely be introduced at 2 p.m. April 1 on the Riford Library, 7555 Draper Ave., La Jolla. It’s the story of two older males sitting by a pond watching geese as they discuss life, friendship, happiness and loss of life. It’ll star actors Fred Harlow and Byron LaDue, who co-starred in SDAT’s 2017 manufacturing of Edward Albee’s “Zoo Story,” which was introduced on a park bench in Mission Hills’ Pioneer Park. Tickets for “Duck Variations” are $10 to $15 and will likely be offered on the door, money solely. For extra, go to sdactorstheatre.web.

Kragen writes about theater for the San Diego Union-Tribune. Electronic mail her at [email protected].

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button