Cast and crew tackle fun, challenging play
Billed as a story filled with deception and talk of adultery and murder, “Accomplice” is an intriguing production by Scripps Ranch Theatre about to open Friday, Sept. 8.
Performed in the intimate surroundings of the Legler Benbough Theatre on the campus of Alliant International University, 9783 Avenue of Nations, this should be a fun play to witness. “Accomplice,” written by Rupert Holmes, is directed by Jacquelyn Ritz.
“It’s a murder-mystery-thriller. We are surprising you,” Ritz said. “You’re going to think you have something figured out and we’re going to throw something else at you. It’s very exciting when that happens, and it happens a lot. We’re going to stay ahead of you. … It’s very fun to follow along.”
Some might think that because Scripps Ranch Theatre performs its plays in such a tiny venue that it’s a bush league theater company. Not true. For one thing, it takes professionals to attempt to perform a play of this complexity. Those involved take their performances very seriously and they are true professionals, most having several years of experience.
Ritz, the director, is a perfect example. She moved from Chicago to San Diego in 2010 after years as an actress. She became interested in directing about six years ago. Her directing career didn’t blossom overnight. First, she was matched with a veteran director who became her mentor. Her first experience was as assistant director for “Crimes of the Heart” which happened to be performed by Scripps Ranch Theatre.
It takes only a few moments of conversation with Ritz to understand that she is not only an actress and director with a huge amount of experience, but she has an insatiable passion for all aspects of theater. As a director, Ritz must know the script inside and out.
“I read it many times. I like to read on the treadmill,” she said. “Sometimes I read it from different character’s points of view. That’s always really helpful to see what each character is going through as they are going through the play.”
As for the small theater on the Alliant University campus, well, that makes for a perfect setting in this case, Ritz explained.
“This is a really great play to put on in an intimate space. You want to feel really connected to the audience,” she said. “Rupert Holmes wrote this play … which is basically an homage to theater and theater lovers. He’s very interested in evolving the audience, in giving us little in-jokes.”
Ritz went even further, explaining the feel of the Legler Benbough Theatre.
“To do it in a space like that … we want you to feel part of it. It’s got that space. I mean, you could get your toes stepped on (by the actors),” she said. “I think you feel you’re part of it. I think you feel you’re connected to it. I mean, with the lights and the sounds and we create the mood. … You’re so close that you can touch them. … It’s real. If they’re crying, you’re crying. Human beings are very connected to each other, especially when you’re living in the same space and breathing the same air.”
“Accomplice” stars Kenny Bordieri, Hannah Logan, Tatiana Mac and Charles Peters. It’s a demanding, exhausting play to perform, Ritz said, but she believes the cast is more than up to the challenge.
“Sometimes you go to a play and the people cast are for types, but this really demands four talented actors who are seamless and play with each other on stage,” she said. “It’s a very immediate and exciting play for people who are accomplished actors. We found the right group for sure.”
“Accomplice” is scheduled to run Sept. 8 to Oct. 8. Performance times are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. from Sept. 8 to Oct. 8. Visit scrippsranchtheatre.org.