CSUMB student play examines gays in the military.
Thursday, April 22, 1999
CSUMB student Philip Pletcher remembers when he first heard about the U.S. Armed Forces'' "don''t ask, don''t tell" policy regarding homosexuality. It was 1993, Pletcher was a systems operator in the Air Force, and he was driving with some fellow servicemen when they heard it on the radio.
"One of my friends said, ''OK, Phil, you going to come out of the closet now?'' Pletcher recalls. "He was just kidding, and I was still in denial at the time. No one knew. I''m a real stickler for rules, and the rule is, you don''t have homosexual relations while in the military. So I didn''t--for six years."
Now 29, and a senior at CSUMB''s Institute for Teledramatic Arts and Technology (TAT), Pletcher has written a full-length play that explores the personal interactions faced by a young, gay serviceman. Don''t Ask, Pletcher''s required "Capstone," or graduating project, will be given a staged reading at CSUMB tonight and Saturday.
Pletcher''s reading is a preview of the university''s Capstone Festival, scheduled for May 20-21, where all graduating CSUMB seniors will present interdisciplinary projects to demonstrate what they''ve learned. All 20 graduating TAT students will present Capstone projects, mostly in video or film, says TAT interim director Eric Hayashi, but Pletcher''s is the only dramatized piece .
Don''t Ask is based on Pletcher''s experience in the Air Force, where he served from 1989 to 1995. The play centers around a group of buddies hanging out in the dorm, shooting the breeze, drinking, laughing and playing pool--pretty much how Pletcher and his friends spent much of their time. "It''s pretty raunchy," he says. The central conflict arises when one of the group is revealed to be gay, and his friends reevaluate their attitude towards him.
Nothing like that happened to Pletcher, however, since he kept his own sexual orientation under wraps until he was out of the Air Force. "I didn''t even know there was a gay community in the military," he says.
Pletcher has done a lot of research on the subject since coming to CSUMB. "The policy hasn''t helped anything," he asserts. "Gay people think they''ll be protected because of it, but they aren''t. They''re still in violation of the Uniform Code of Military Conduct. More people have been forced out [for homosexuality] since the policy."
Pletcher insists his play "is not a political piece." He''s less concerned with political advocacy than with exploring human interactions, the subtle changes that friendships undergo when homosexual issues arise.
Now he hopes to have his play picked up for production, "maybe here, or in San Diego." He''s pleased with his work, now in its fourth draft, and he believes the subject matter is important. "The ''don''t ask, don''t tell'' policy has been in place so long, people have forgotten about it, but people are still being discharged," he says. "I don''t think you should go around blabbing about it. But it''s nobody''s business." cw
Don''t Ask will be performed as a staged reading tonight and Saturday at 8pm in the TAT studio, Building 27, 6th Avenue on the CSUMB campus. $6/General, $4/Students, seniors and military. 582-3750 for reservations.
DeathTakes A Holiday Thursday at 7pm, Friday at 8pm, Saturday and Sunday at 2pm. Comedy. MPC''s new Portable Theater troupe showcases a production of the 1930s radio classic Death Takes a Holiday, complete with old-time sound effects. Also, Fractured Fairy Tales and actors'' improv, Saturday at 8pm. SRO Theater at Monterey Peninsula College, 980 Fremont St., Monterey. Free. 646-4085. Through: 5/2.
A Festival of Ten-Minute Comedies Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 2:30pm and 8pm, Sunday at 2:30pm and 5:30pm. Comedy. Dennis Sakamoto''s Stage One Acting troupe presents an evening of 10-minute comedies to raise funds for Meals on Wheels of the Monterey Peninsula. Wharf Theater, Fisherman''s Wharf, Monterey. $15/General. 375-4454. Through: 4/25.
Ghosties! Saturday, 2pm and 7:30pm; Sunday, 2pm. Children. Dance Kids Inc. production of three young people who run away from home after their parents ban them from using the Internet. There is a Gala benefit at 5:30pm on Saturday. Golden Bough Theater, Monte Verde between 8th and 9th avenues, Carmel. $13/General; $8/Children. 624-3729. Through: 4/25.
The Imaginary Invalid Thursday through Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 2:30pm. Comedy. Moliere''s classic comedy takes on the medical profession of 17th-century France, as quacks and charlatans struggle to cure an indomitable hypochondriac. Indoor Forest Theater, Santa Rita Street and Mountain View Avenue, Carmel. $12/General; $9/Children; $9/Seniors. 624-1531. Through: 5/16.
A Life In The Theater Friday and Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 7pm. Drama. The Unicorn Theatre tackles David Mamet''s penetrating look at the shifting power relationship between a revered older actor and an up-and-coming leading man. Adult content. The Hoffman Playhouse, 320 Hoffman St., Monterey. 649-0259. $15/general; $12/students and seniors. Through: 5/23.
The Shrunken Head of Pancho Villa Friday and Saturday at 8pm. Comedy. An absurdist comedy written in 1964, this play is about a Mexican-American family caught up in the dawn of Chicano-awakening in the 1960s, a "gritty portrait of the Mexican-American experience." Two shows only! El Teatro Campesino, 705 4th St., San Juan Bautista. $10/General; $5/Children; $7/Seniors. 623-2444. Through: 4/24.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Friday and Saturday at 8pm. Melodrama. The Troupers of the Gold Coast tackle this favorite 19th-century figure of pride and madness, immortalized in the Robert Louis Stevenson novel. An olio revue follows, as usual. California''s First Theater, Scott and Pacific streets, Monterey. $10/General; $5/Children; $8/Seniors. 375-4916. Through: 5/31.
Western Stage Summer Season Saturday and Sunday. Auditions are held for three summer shows: Steinbeck''s dustbowl drama, The Grapes of Wrath; a comedy-thriller about Sherlock Holmes, The Mask of Moriarty; and the fast-paced newspaper comedy set in Chicago of the 1930s, The Front Page. Must call for audition appointment. The Western Stage, Salinas. 759-6037.
Hartnell Seminar Gallery Manyoshu. Opening Reception. Photographs by Rie Naraoka interpreting traditional Japanese texts that explore love, nature, the seasons and more. Also, "Simple Pleasures," works in clay by Skip Baker. Hartnell Visual Arts Building, 156 Homestead Ave., Salinas. 755-6791. Reception: 4/26, 6pm. Through: 4/30.
Pajaro Valley Gallery Sidewalk Painting. Special Event. Young artists and students of the Pajaro Valley Art School create pictures on the sidewalks of Plaza Park. Main and East Beach streets, Watsonville. 722-3062. Reception: 4/25, 1-4pm. Through: 4/25.
Sunset Center Demonstration. David Amland demonstrates his mixed-media techniques; showcase artist: Catherine Swisher. Sunset Center, Room 6, San Carlos Street and 8th Avenue, Carmel. 372-2841. Reception: 4/26, 7:30pm. Through: 4/26.
Alvarado Gallery The Traveler in the Country: Pleasant Views Within. Exhibit. Paintings of abandoned barns in the Midwest and farm scenes of the Monterey area. At the Monterey Conference Center, 1 Portola Plaza, Monterey. 646-3858. Through: 5/3.
Ansel Adams Gallery Florachromes. Exhibit. "Camera-less" photographs of floral arrangements by Carol Henry. At the Inn at Spanish Bay, 2700 17 Mile Drive, Pebble Beach. 375-7215. Through: 4/30.
Carmel Art Association Exhibit. Watercolors by Miguel and Miguelin Dominguez, landscapes by William Hannum and Helen Barker. Dolores Street, between 5th and 6th avenues, Carmel. 624-6176. Through: 5/5.
Carmel Valley Manor Photographs. Works by E. Arlyle Grensted. 8545 Carmel Valley Rd., Carmel Valley. 626-4806. Through: 4/30.
Center for Photographic Art Duane Michals: Now Becoming Then. Exhibit. Narrative series of photographs telling visual, otherworldly, stories. At the Sunset Center, San Carlos Street and 8th Avenue, Carmel. 625-5181. Through: 4/30.
Gray''s Art Gallery Just Us. Exhibit. New works by regular exhibitors Sandra Gray, Colleen Lingenfelter, Angelo Buffone, Jimi Claybrooks, Rick Smith and Mona Burk. 1104 Broadway Ave., Suite J, Seaside. 899-1069. Through: 5/29.
Hartnell College Seminar Gallery
Firefighters, Explosions and the Aftermath of Fire. Exhibit. Photographs by Walt Days, who spent 28 years with the Salinas Rural Fire Department and who currently investigates suspected arson cases for insurance companies. Also, Botanical Essay, carved ceramic vessels by Kathie Lingo. Visual Arts Building, Hartnell College, 156 Homestead Ave., Salinas. 755-6791. Through: 4/23.
Henry Miller Memorial Library Linear Poems, 1953-87. Exhibit. Small drawings by Bob Nash inspired by the shapes of nature. Highway 1, 1/4 mile south of Nepenthe Restaurant, Big Sur. 667-2574. Through: 4/25.
Marjorie Evans Gallery MPC Photography Student Competitive. Exhibit. Works by students in Monterey Peninsula College''s photography department. At the Sunset Center, San Carlos Street and 8th Avenue, Carmel. 646-4063. Through: 4/30.
Morgan''s Coffee & Tea Spirit of Life. Exhibit. Black-and-white photographs by Santa Catalina School photography students Sarah Gallagher and Michelle Schumaher. 498 Washington St., Monterey. 373-1479. Through: 5/15.
Pacific Grove Art Center A Day in the Life of Pacific Grove. Exhibit. Paintings, photographs, poems, musical compositions, sculpture and video by artists of all ages that depict life in Pacific Grove. Also, "Mostly Drawings," by Gail Reeves and "Landscapes," paintings by Molly Martin. 568 Lighthouse Ave., Pacific Grove. 375-2208. Through: 5/14.
Seaside City Hall Student Sculpture Competition. Exhibit. The winning sculptures from the "Student Sculpture Competition." 440 Harcourt St., Seaside. 841-2100. Through: 5/1.
Todd Elliott Fine Art Gallery Exhibit. French etchings by Mi Desmedt. 26362 Carmel Rancho Lane, Carmel. 626-0654. Through: 4/24.
Valley Art Gallery Wood and Stone. Exhibit. Sculptures by Charley Abildgaard. 218 Main St., Salinas. 422-4162. Through: 4/25.
Weston Gallery Exhibit. Works by contemporary photographers including Paul Kozal, Rod Dresser, Tom Hawkins, Tom Baril and others. 6th Avenue, between Dolores and Lincoln streets, Carmel. 624-4453. Through: 5/30.