Defying Gravity embraces an astronaut, an artist and many in between

By wayne.steffen on March 13, 2017 @ 5:24pm

The lives of a teacher-astronaut, a French impressionist painter and assorted bystanders are woven together in the spring mainstage play at Fresno Pacific University.

Defying Gravity will be performed March 23-April 1 in Strasbourg Theater on the main FPU campus, 1717 S. Chestnut Ave., Fresno. Productions on March 23-30, March 30 and April 1 will be at 8:00 p.m. The March 30 showing will be at 2:30 p.m. Admission is $12 for general audiences, $10 for seniors and non-FPU students and $5 for FPU students and alumni card holders. Tickets at defying-gravity.eventbrite.com or call 559-453-5586.

Jayne Anderson’s comedy-drama “artfully interweaves the past with the present and the lives of participants and bystanders, drawing parallels among painter Claude Monet’s artistic quest, the zest of the teacher selected to be the first civilian astronaut, the perspectives of her grieving daughter, the aspirations of elderly tourists who drive their Winnebago to Florida to watch the space shot and dream of hotels in space, the guilt felt by a NASA mechanic and his girlfriend’s fear of heights” (Samuel French, Inc., play publishers)

The student cast, and their home communities, include: Gracie Robinson (Coarsegold) as Teacher, Allison Calhoun (Lemoore) as Elizabeth, Jessica Ham (Reedley) as Betty, Joseph Medina (Tulare) as Ed, Joshua Bachar (Caruthers) as CB, Karen Vargas (Tulare) as Donna and Jorg Letkemann (Friesland, Paraguay) as Claude Monet. Julia Reimer, Ph.D., associate professor and theater program director, is the director. Brooke Aiello designed the costumes, Jerry Vocalino designed the lights and Reimer and Vocalino designed the sets.