Gods and Hollywood monsters


This only seems to be a good idea.

This only seems to be a good idea.

PHOTO by Robert Schulz

Psyche, 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday, Saturday; $10-$15. Barnyard Theatre in the historic Schmeiser Barn, 35125 County Road 31 in Davis; (530) 574-1318; www.barnyardtheatre.org. Through August 4.

Barnyard Theatre

35125 County Road 31
Davis, CA 95616

(530) 574-1318

Rated 4.0

Psyche is an upstairs-downstairs story, but not in the sense of aristocrats and servants. Downstairs, there’s a cautionary tale about the Hollywood meat grinder, with aging, substance-abusing actress Vera (Alison Whismore) fresh out of rehab and trying to jump-start her faltering career while having a fling with Ali (Jason Oler). He’s a charming, opportunistic actor half her age who views Vera as his stepping stone to stardom. But up in the attic, Vera’s shy son Peter (Anthony Pinto)—the proverbial struggling writer—is fully obsessed with his muse, the beautiful goddess Psyche, who materializes amid Peter’s scribbled manuscripts.

If you know anything about myths in which humans get involved with immortals, you know that things rarely end well for the former.

This new play by Meghan Brown, a UC Irvine graduate, is directed by Steven Schmidt (a set designer and builder at B Street Theatre) and Maddy Ryen (a veteran of Acme Theatre Company in Davis).

Barnyard Theatre is one of the region’s most interesting summer projects. Shows are staged in a working barn built in 1893 (with a dirt floor—be prepared for dust!) on a farm west of Davis. Shows start at 8:30 p.m., because that’s when it gets dark. Company members are mostly recent college grads—many of whom are Davis Senior High School alums—and their energetic productions lean toward ambitious newer dramas and original works.

In addition to being a very interesting new play, this show’s technical aspects—lights, sound, video—are fairly sophisticated and impressive, especially so given that the production is literally being staged in a barn.