Leading a Growing Theatre Company

Soroya Rowley in LGBTQ+. (Photo courtesy of Katherine Harroff.)

Soroya Rowley in LGBTQ+. (Photo courtesy of Katherine Harroff.)

Circle Circle dot dot (CCdd) has been creating original plays covering a variety of topics over the last several years in locations such as the La Jolla Playhouse, Ocean Beach Playhouse and San Diego Dance Theater’s White Box. On December 8, the group in collaboration with San Diego University’s Pride Center presented a two-hour rotating installation project entitled LGBTQ+ On-Campus.

The event featured nine short stories about people in the LGBTQ community. Scenes were staged all over the school grounds, including the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union, the War Memorial Terrace and even a women’s restroom. “We were really fortunate to work with the pride center,” the Artistic Director of CCdd, Katherine Harroff, said. “They seem to have great connections with the University and they gave us free access.”

LGBTQ+ On Campus was partially developed after members set up interviews with different individuals. “We typically interview people for our mainstage shows and write the pieces from there. We ended up speaking with about 30 students and originally wrote roughly 14 pieces total, but they were trimmed down.”

Harroff wanted to make sure that the vignettes handled the subject matter as delicately as possible. “We were super sensitive about the transgender tales we were telling. All of us wanted to make sure that the voices were being represented accurately.”

If a new version of LGBTQ+ On Campus is staged, Harroff would like the project to connect with an even bigger audience. “There was a talk-back discussion at the Glazer Center that was mostly made up of members of the community. However, some students showed up because they wanted to know what the heck was going on all over campus. I would like to connect with young adults who don’t know about the issues discussed so that they can have empathy and more of a basic understanding of the community.”

CCdd’s next event is a holiday fundraiser at the 10th Avenue Arts Center called A Christmas Bizarre! Hosted by the smooth St. Beat Nick (Michael Nieto), the night has the makings of a fun and wild time. “It’s an opportunity to celebrate the festive season,” Harroff said. “There have been Christmas shows for the last two years, and an audience has been built on our passion for the holidays. There are so many stories the artists have about Christmas that will be shared throughout the celebration.” Anecdotes will be shared in short comedy sketches, but that is only a small part of what is planned for the special occasion.

In addition, there will be live acoustic music from CCdd artists, singing from the a cappella group Pacific Sound and a drag performance by the protagonist of Deconstruction of a Drag Queen, Sunny Peaks (Shaun Tuazon-Martin).

Company members of Circle Circle dot dot. (Photo courtesy of Rich Soublet.)

Company members of Circle Circle dot dot. (Photo courtesy of Rich Soublet.)

The 2016 season is going to be announced at the arts center. Harroff was able to talk a little bit about the first selection for next year. “Our newest show is going to be the next installment of San Diego, I Love You.” Each edition are site-specific plays that take place in different parts of the city.

Previous productions have been at UCSD, Hillcrest and University Heights. While the other chapters were about positive romantic relationships, the fourth has a huge twist. “The plot is a little bit inspired by our first play ever, The Break-Up/Break-Down. This story will be about a couple who break up and get back together again, which is tied to our seasonal theme that will be announced at the fundraiser. At the moment, the working title is San Diego, I Don’t Love You (But I Do).”

Besides being excited about, A Christmas Bizarre! and the newest season, Harroff is very enthusiastic about an all female playwriting festival next September. “We are going to be opening up the floodgates for submissions for the first time ever,” she said.

“A structure that we started last year is we would like to post a festival reading of new community inspired plays and then, the following year, we want to produce those plays. If everything goes well, the 2017 season is going to be made up of female inspired works and shows.”

Although a still relatively new theatre company, Harroff and CCdd clearly have plenty of potentially unique theatrical experiences lined up in the near future. Celebrating December 25th early with Harroff and company should give audiences an idea of why the group has been on the rise since 2011.

If you go: A Christmas Bizarre! is December 21 at Tenth Avenue Arts Center. Tickets are $20.

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