No cause for rejoice

A Life

A Life, 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday, Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday; $8-$15. Through March 3. Celebration Arts, 4469 D Street; (916) 455-2787;

Celebration Arts Theatre

4469 D St.
Sacramento, CA 95819

(916) 455-2787

Rated 2.0

Celebration Arts doesn’t seem to want to be taken seriously. Its latest production, A Life, written by Anne L. Peters and directed by James Wheatley, tells the story of septuagenarian Eunice Katem (Patricia Coleman), a Jamaican immigrant dealing with her declining years and friendships.

The play itself is a sound piece of theater, combining touching monologues with subtle character interactions. The harsh reality of geriatric care is given a strong voice in Peters’ work. The cast also performs to the best of its ability: always in the moment.

These issues, however, seem to be exacerbated by the poor quality of the production’s technical ability. A recurring happening issue at Celebration Arts occurs after the preshow announcements when the lights go down and the audience is left in silence and darkness as actors and technicians are heard scurrying and muttering behind the stage.

Sound cues are never on time and pull attention from the story. The lights also go up and down incorrectly throughout the play, and it’s obvious to any audience member that someone in the technical booth is listening to music and, what’s more, not paying attention to the stage.

This is not a new complaint about Celebration Arts, which should be able, after 27 years, to produce shows with basic lights and sound. The company, once known as a unique powerhouse in Sacramento, is in many ways one of the most important theaters we have in our city, but lately seems to be settling to produce lazy theater.