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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Prelude to Prelude to a Kiss

During the last three weekends in October, Common House Productions will present Prelude to a Kiss at 8 p.m. on the Wyatt Deck in the Arboretum.

Written by esteemed playwright Craig Lucas, Prelude to a Kiss tells the story of newlyweds Peter and Rita. Shortly after they exchange vows, an elderly man asks to kiss Rita and, as a result, the two exchange souls, and Peter is left to find a way to restore his bride to her body.

The play, a sentimental romantic comedy that highlights the importance of loving the essence of a human being rather than their physical appearance, will be sure to entice Davis audiences this October.

Common House Productions will be celebrating its one-year anniversary this Halloween. Starting out as a small grassroots theater company, Common House has created an outlet for artists to participate in collective theater by giving performers the opportunity to be involved with all aspects of a production. Everyone has multiple roles — cast members can also be involved in set design, as well as managerial positions.

Common House is made up of a combination of former and current UC Davis theater students, UC Davis faculty and community members. It provides the Davis community with strong, unique narrative centers. Vanessa Rapatz, a UC Davis lecturer in the English Department and current board member of Common House, describes the theater group as a democratic theater group of the Davis theater community.

“The theater company brings something slightly different from the other groups in the area. We have Davis Musical Theater and Davis Shakespeare; and you have Barnyard, who is doing brand new stuff that they have contemporary people writing,” Rapatz said. “And so we are fitting into another niche where we are doing some different shows, but we’re always focusing on unique stories.”

Common House is co-sponsored by the Arboretum and the Wyatt Deck, and will utilize the space for Prelude to a Kiss. According to Rob Williamson, both the production manager for Common House and the director of Prelude to a Kiss, the Wyatt Deck provides a space that is both intimate and organic. The location, which allows for the unique experience of outdoor theater, will give the production a level of spontaneity not found in controlled indoor environments.

Prelude to a Kiss has been performed hundreds of times, on Broadway and on local stages. Wendy Wyatt-Mair, lead actress in the play, described how Common House’s adaptation differs from other versions of the play through its outdoor location and diverse cast.

“I think we have a really playful, witty cast who act very natural together and our interpretation of the play highlights that. I don’t think we’ve set out to be deliberately ‘different’ but we do have a minimalist design — we have to because of the space we’re performing in — which, along with our own particular playful spirit and our ‘keep it natural’ attitude will make for a very enjoyable experience for the audience,” Wyatt-Mair said in an email interview.

Prelude to a Kiss will be performed by Common House Productions at Wyatt Deck in the Arboretum on Oct. 11 to 13, 18 to 20 and 25 to 27 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students, seniors (60+) and children. For more information about Common House productions visitcommonhouseproductions.com.

COLEMAN SAWYER can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.

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