FARMINGTON — Theater Ensemble Arts will be taking its audience to California during its season-opening play California Suites.

The play opens Friday and is split into three unrelated acts.

"The rooms I think are the main character because they never change," ensemble manager Michelle Holmes said.

She said while the characters come and go, the hotel room becomes the one unifying factor.

The first scene "Visitors from New York," tells the story of Hannah Warren, who flies to California from New York to talk to her ex-husband Billy about who should have custody of their daughter, Jenny.

The second section of the play is called "Visitors from London." It portrays a British actress who travels to California with her husband for the Academy Awards.

Actors rehearse for "California Suites", Tuesday at the Little Theatre at San Juan College in Farmington
Actors rehearse for "California Suites", Tuesday at the Little Theatre at San Juan College in Farmington (Jon Austria / The Daily Times)

The final section, called "Visitors from Chicago" shows two affluent couples who are close friends. They have been on a vacation together for weeks.

"That one is kind of about what it's like to spend so much time with your friends," director Lauren McNealy said.

Shannon Roberts plays Gert, one of the wives in the Chicago scene.

"She's kind of ditsy and silly, it's fun," Roberts said.

Roberts also likes portraying Gert because she gets to faint.

Syd Neylan, the stage manager, said he really enjoys the Chicago scene.

"It's just all around hilarious," Neylan said.

He is also able to work with his friend, Zack Howell, a classmate at Farmington High School.

Howell plays Stew, who is Gert's husband in the Chicago scene.

He said theater helps him meet people, make friends and "go on stage and do something crazy."

Holmes said Theater Ensemble Arts, or TEA, provides opportunities for people who don't want the pressure of college plays.

For many of the actors, this won't be their first TEA play. Devin McCormick and Annette DiGiacomo, who play the other couple in the Chicago scene, were also a couple in a previous play by the ensemble and Roberts has been in three others.

Roberts said she thinks community theater is important because it gets people together.

"You have something in common that you can do together," Roberts said.


What: California Suites

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and Nov. 1 and 2 and at 2:30 p.m. Nov. 3

Where: San Juan College Little Theatre

Tickets: $10 for adults $8 for students and seniors. If you bring non-perishable food donation for the Lord's Pantry on Nov. 3, tickets are half price

More info: 505-326-2839

Hannah Grover covers news, arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.