Put on your red plaid shirt and celebrate with the Santa Clara Players as it premiers its 60th season with A Red Plaid Shirt, a laugh-out-loud comedy by Canadian playwright Michael G. Wilmot, running Feb. 18 – March 12.
“It seems to me that it wasn’t too long ago that we celebrated 50 years,” said Santa Clara Players Board president and producer George Doeltz. “I’m still recovering from that.”
Doeltz credits the longevity of the nonprofit community theater to its loyal audience and volunteers, its unique selection of plays, and actors who love what they do.
“[The Santa Clara Players] is a good model for [community] theater and, even though it would be nice to reimburse people more for their time, most people on our stage are there because of their love of theater,” said Doeltz. “I believe that this is what makes really great theater.”
Laughter-producing (and often quirky) comedies and farces have long been a tour de force of the Santa Clara Players, founded in 1961.
“A Red Plaid Shirt is a comedy but at the same time addresses some of the real challenges of retirement for couples,” said actor Pat Cross, who plays Deb, the wife in one of the two couples in the cast of four.
“Interestingly, the wives have found good ways to deal with retirement while the men, well, let’s just say, have really struggled with it,” continued Cross.
The comedy is the first Santa Clara Players production since the COVID pandemic shut down productions in Feb. 2019, after the successful run of Drinking Habits.
“It feels wonderful to finally be back on stage and work with such a great cast and crew,” said Cross. “There is something very special about working together to make A Red Plaid Shirt finally happen.”
“It’s a comedy with enough serious moments and, being about retirement, I think much of our audience will relate to that,” said Doeltz, the show’s director. “We got a lot of laughs opening night.”
“I love this show. It hits on how couples deal with a major life event and find ways to come through even stronger,” said Cross. “The characters evolve throughout the play, and it shows how people change and find out what really matters in life.”
Cross has some favorite lines.
“There are a thousand things we haven’t done, a thousand places we haven’t been, and now we have freedom to do those things. This has the potential to be the best time of our lives, so smarten up!” says Deb (played by Cross) to her husband, who is in the throes of self-pity.
Visit www.santaclaraplayers.org for tickets to A Red Plaid Shirt, playing at Hall Pavilion (behind Santa Clara’s Triton Museum of Art), 1750 Don Ave. at Warburton Ave. Next up is Drinking Habits 2, playing May 20 – June 11.
Due to COVID protocol and the intimate size of the theater, attendees must be fully vaccinated and wear masks inside the theater. Seating is limited to 50 people per performance.