Thursday, April 2, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

X marks ‘The Mystery Spot’ at California Stage

The late poet Sylvia Plath and The Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz bring together Liz (Emily Kentta) and Dingo (Nick Koehler) in "The Mystery Spot," enjoying its world premiere at California Stage Company in Sacramento. (Terri Brindisi/Courtesy photo)

By
March 15, 2011 |

What do Santa Cruz’s Mystery Spot and Sylvia Plath have in common?

They are both part of playwright Steve Lyons’ new play, “The Mystery Spot,” now at California Stage in Sacramento, directed by Ray Tatar.

Lyons — whose plays have won multiple awards and been produced in London, Edinburgh, New York City, Boulder, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and elsewhere — always knew that he wanted to write a play that used the setting of The Mystery Spot, a tourist attraction in Santa Cruz that refers to itself as a “gravitational anomaly.”

The play was one of four selected for the Ashland New Plays Festival in 2008 and had a staged reading at City Lights Books in San Francisco. It won first prize in a playwriting contest by Actors’ Theatre of Santa Cruz County in 2010.

A great part of the appeal of this staged production is actor Nick Koehler’s interpretation of the principal character Dingo. Dingo is from Oroville and has come to UC Santa Cruz for the women. He has discovered that by sitting on the quad with a cup of Starbucks coffee and an Ikea catalog, and pretending to read Sylvia Plath, he can catch the attention of the ladies.

Koehler is just so darn engaging. He’s hormone-infused without being either offensive or cloying.

The trick works and Dingo catches the eye of Liz, a women’s studies major (Emily Kentta), who actually questions him about his thoughts about Plath (nobody has ever done that before and he tries, successfully, to bluff his way through her questioning).

Kentta gives a solid performance, especially as she learns the truth about her relationship with her mother.

On learning that there is a whole department for studying women, Dingo declares himself a women’s studies major, though is disappointed because there is a lot of reading and not a lot of hands-on projects involved.

In the meantime, to pay the bills, Dingo gets a job as a tour guide at The Mystery Spot, which just, coincidentally, happens to be owned by Liz’s mother Shirley (Michele Koehler), who has a rocky relationship with her daughter.

Into the picture comes the spirit of Sylvia Plath (poet Bonnie Antonini) and the Angel Celestine (Mahlon Hall), who is sending her back to Earth to learn something (which is not made clear to her — she has to figure it out for herself).

Antonini sparkles in this role, at times both moody and sultry as she plots for a way to remain on Earth rather than return to the afterlife.

Also part of the cast is Mr. Williams (Willliam A. Bergen), who takes several tours of The Mystery Spot trying to convince others that everything is just an optical illusion, and intent on suing Shirley for perpetuating a falsehood.

If the plot sounds a bit convoluted, that’s because it is. The pace is somewhat slow and not all of the actors were secure in their lines (particularly Bergen, who made a better attorney in 2007’s “Patriot Act” than he does a skeptic in this play, where he seemed to suffer from opening-night jitters.)

Set designer Lynn Perry has attempted to recreate the sorts of optical illusions one would find at the Mystery Spot. It is more effective in some areas than in others.

“The Mystery Spot” is an entertaining, unusual play, which runs through April 10 at the California Stage’s main stage.

Check it out

What: “The Mystery Spot,” presented by California Stage

When: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, through April 10

Where: 2509 R St., Sacramento

Tickets: $20 general, $15 students and seniors; call (916) 451-5822 or visit http://www.calstage.org

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    Food Bank springs for year-round assistance

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
     
    Funding sought for slain vet student’s pets

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

    Next-generation GMOs: Pink pineapples and purple tomatoes

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Dismal snowpack gets one more measure

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Woodland Library’s community room reopens

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Museum celebrates Easter with candy-filled eggs

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Easter egg hunt set Sunday at Atria

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    AquaMonsters open summer registration

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Odd Fellows will host a big birthday bash

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Tamblyn presents a comedy concert

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6 | Gallery

     
    Cancer fighters will gather Saturday for Relay For Life kickoff

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Poet laureate emerita celebrates at book-release party

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    UCD gets grant to look at open access to published research

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    ‘Sip and Shop’ kicks off Child Abuse Prevention Month

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    AARP’s free tax-prep services continue

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

    Round up at the registers for Davis schools

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    Pain management lecture slated April 8

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

    Seniors invited to join new social group

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8

     
    Pence Gallery: See artists at work during Garden Tour

    By Natalie Nelson | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    .

    Forum

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: B4

     
    Shootings showed need for MRAP

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Program sparks lots of questions

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    Is Davis on the cusp of an evolutionary change?

    By Rich Rifkin | From Page: B4

    Will containers block cyclists’ path?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    We have no room for another cart

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    This is no way to run a city

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    Get informed on organics program

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Bicycle bells are my birthday wish

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    Groom’s parents overwhelmed

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

    .

    Sports

    Blue Devils drop softball game at CBS

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Aggies get ready for Hawaii by rolling over St. Mary’s

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    UC Davis represents well at Final Four in Indiana

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Descalso looks back at Aggie days, ahead to new Rockies gig

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    JV/frosh roundup: DHS younger girls soccer squad stomps Grant

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    UCD roundup: Nunez powers Aggies to softball win

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Gibson’s heroics ensure a DHS split at Boras Classic

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B10

    .

    Features

    Spring is a busy time for honey and hives

    By Dan Kennedy | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    .

    Arts

    Fiery bluesman brings guitar pyrotechnics to The Palms

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
     
    Bluesman and guitarist Buddy Guy comes to Davis

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics