Beginning September 28, the San Diego City College Dramatic Arts Program will present six performances of the Jim Leonard, Jr. drama Anatomy of Gray. Playing in the campus Black Box Theatre, tickets are available for Fridays and Saturdays, September 28, 29, October 5, 6, at 8 p.m. and Sundays, September 30 and October 1 and 7 at 2 p.m.
Directed by Drama Professor and Co-Chair of the Visual and Performing Arts Department Dr. Katie Rodda, Anatomy of Gray was originally staged at Circle Repertory Theatre in New York, and was subsequently staged in Arizona, in San Francisco, and at A Contemporary Theatre in Seattle.
Anatomy of Gray is named for a fictional small town in Indiana, as well as for the outsider, Dr. Galen Gray, whose hot air balloon accidentally crash lands right in the tight-knit, deeply religious community. The play’s protagonist, 15-year-old June Muldoon, is mourning the unexpected death of her father, and she prays for a healer to come to town to keep the people she loves healthy and safe. Dr. Gray shakes up the small town, as he both diagnoses and treats the townsfolk … and falls in love with June’s mother Rebekah. Trouble ensues when a mysterious plague starts to infect the denizens of Gray. June finds strength and skills she did not know she possessed, as she ends up being the one who ultimately saves her family.
In the early 1990s, Leonard’s good friends John Geter died of complications due to AIDS. Coincidentally, both men had grown up in small towns in Indiana. The fact that Geter was a homosexual did not sit well with the members of the deeply religious community from which he came, and in Leonard’s words: “Gay equaled damnation: therefore AIDS, therefore death.” Geter’s death haunted Leonard, and he decided to explore the idea of creating a place where the Christians, the “good people,” were struck down with an incurable illness. He wanted to see what happens when the righteous are faced with a frightening unknown, and prayer isn’t the answer.
“In 1991, I acted in a performance of Jim Leonard’s play The Diviners,” says Rodda. “I re-read it, thinking it would suit City College well, then my colleague Lisa Berger told me about one of Leonard’s other titles, Anatomy of Gray,” says Rodda. “I was really drawn to the beautiful theatricality and simplicity of the play, and I was interested in exploring the dynamic of faith versus reason and logic. I find resonances between the play and today’s volatile political climate, where we see people doggedly holding to their beliefs in the face of contradictory scientific evidence.”
The student cast includes Brandon Arroyo (Crutch), Veronica Cardenas (Maggie), Roosevelt Green (Phineas), Denise Martinez Lopez (Rebekah), Devin McKenna (Gray), Kelsey Morales (Tiny), Floribelle Ocampo (June), Omar Ramos (Homer), and Vanessa Ramos (Belva). The Stage Manager is Lizette Hernandez. Scenic and Costume Design are by City College Professors Duane Gardella and Elisa Benzoni, (respectively). Lighting Design is by Robert Norberg.
Fridays, September 28 and October 5, 8 p.m.
Saturdays, September 29 and October 6, 8 p.m.
Sundays, September 30 and October 7, 2 p.m.
City College Black Box Theatre is on the northwest side of the AH Building (AH 320) near the intersections of C and 15th Streets, directly east of the Saville Theatre.
Tickets: $10 - 15 cash only, or purchase in advance: http://citycollegetheatre.eventbrite.com (+ handling fee).