The theatre department will present playwright Neil LaBute’s most recent work, ‘Reasons to be Happy,’ as the second production of the fall 2013 semester.
As a followup to LaBute’s 2008 play ‘Reasons to be Pretty,’ the sequel ‘Reasons to be Happy’ picks up three years later and follows the same familiar cast of characters.
While all of the main characters — Steph, Greg, Carly and Kent — have collectively grown in the time that’s passed, each is now grappling with an entirely new set of personal issues.
Steph and Greg are contemplating rekindling their relationship after a contentious breakup, but with just one problem. Steph is already married. Meanwhile, Greg has just started up a romantic relationship with Steph’s best friend Carly, a single mom who must also contend with her jealous ex-husband, Kent.
Needless to say, navigating the rocky landscape of conflicting agendas and exploding emotions isn’t going to be easy for any of them.
“In ‘Reasons to be Pretty’ Neil LaBute explores society’s obsession with looks — how it serves us and what it costs us,” said COC theatre instructor Susan Hinshaw, who is also directing the production. “His latest installment instead focuses on the choices and sacrifices people are willing to make in pursuit of that often elusive ideal — happiness.
“When I first read this play I was very attracted to the acting and teaching possibilities,” added Hinshaw, “and I thought ‘what a wonderful challenge for college-aged students.’ LaBute’s dialogue is edgy, funny, challenging and provocative.”
The COC theatre production of ‘Reasons to be Happy’ will open at 8 p.m. Friday. Nov. 1, at the college’s Studio Theatre, located in Student Center, Room 130 on the Valencia campus.
Additional performances will take place at: 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2; 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 3; 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8; 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10.
Tickets for all performances are $10 for adults and $5 for students/seniors.
The production contains profanity and adult situations and is recommended for mature audiences only.
More About the Cast
Comprised of just four talented actors, the cast of ‘Reasons to be Happy’ features a stable of COC theatre veteran actors, and introduces one newcomer to the COC stage.
Valencia High School graduate Tyler Menjivar will make his COC theatre debut in the role of ‘Greg.’ Menjivar, who is currently studying theatre at COC and CSU, Northridge, was most recently featured in the CSUN production of ‘Arcadia.’
Best remembered from her work in the COC theatre productions of ‘Sing Me a Happy Song,’ ‘The Giver,’ and ‘Lysistrata,’ Clare Tmopkins-Cook is returning to the college’s theatre department in the role of ‘Steph,’ having already completed her associate degree in theatre performance.
Kelsey Krosskove is also making her return to the COC theatre department in the role of ‘Carly,’ after last being featured in the cast of ‘Lend Me a Tenor.’ In addition to her studies at COC, Krosskove is recently studied at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, and is currently taking classes at the SAG-AFTRA Conservatory in Los Angeles.
Film production and theatre student Hunter Muhl will tackle the role of ‘Kent,’ after previously starring in the COC production of ‘In Arabia We’d All Be Kings’ and writing/performing an original comedy sketch during the college’s annual Solopalooza event.
“Having just a four person cast requires a true ensemble, and this group of actors has definitely delivered,” added Hinshaw. “They have been an absolute joy to work with.”