Oakhurst's Golden Chain Theatre kicked-off its 45th melodrama season last weekend with the production "Dark Deeds at Swan Place."
Written by Tim Kelly and directed by Jason Turner and Nathan Avery, the two-act play is set in a tavern in Monterey in 1844.
It's 1844 and evil has overtaken a tavern in the small coastal town of Monterey, California. Montague Leech and his cohorts, including Carlotta Castanet de San Diego have gotten themselves into some shady business. Young men's drinks are being spiked with drugs that knock them out. When these men wake up, they are being shanghaied to China on ships. However, complications to the wicked plan occur when actor Jack Swan comes to town and wants to start a theater.
The villain Leech is played by Jason Turner, Tony Beguez plays the hero Jack Swan and Jessalyn Talley players the heroine Bertha Birthright.
A strong supporting cast is led by Tawni Jackson playing Carlotta Castanet de San Diego, and Rawhide played by Gary Talley.
Additional cast members are Julie O'Brien (Mother McGoof), Ron Lawrence (Sourdough Birthright), William O'Brien (Billy), Karah Varner (Tai Pan), Jennifer Varner (Augusta Van Gush), Austin Browar (Lt. Lorne Order), Jenny Turner (suspicious female) and Ken Ryder (preacher).
California owes its first melodrama theatre to Jack Swan, and English sailor who settled in Monterey in 1843. He owned a tavern-lodging house. It was soldiers from New York assigned to Monterey at the time of statehood, along with towns people and a number of sailors who decided to put on plays to relieve their boredom.
According to historical records, Swan agreed to furnish his tavern with a stage, benches and curtains made of red and blue blankets. Built in 1846, as the first melodrama theatre in California, it was given to the state in 1906 as an historical landmark.
The play will continue its run June 22 through July 28 7 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m., Sunday June 16 and 30, and July 14 and 28.
The Golden Chain Theatre is dedicated to providing 19th century historic and melodramatic presentations and instruction in theatre arts to the community. All income for the theatre is currently derived from ticket sales and private donations.
The theatre is located two miles north of Oakhurst across from the Hounds Tooth Inn.
General admission tickets are $12, seniors (55 and older) $10, student (13-18) $8, children (4-12 years) $6, children three and under free. Group rates available. Card carrying members of the MET Cinema, $8.
Reservations: (559) 683-7112. Details: goldenchaintheatre.org.
More "Dark Deeds at Swan's Place" photos can be seen at sierrastar.com.