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bullet Topic: A New Theatre Company in CA- The Relevant Stage
    Posted: 6/24/07 at 2:02am

New Theatre Company Engages Southern California in Stimulating Performances for Adults and Teens


SAN PEDRO, CA - The Relevant Stage (TRS) is the name of a new theatre company set to begin its first season in January 2008.  The company will present plays, musicals, operas and other mixed media experiences to Los Angeles and surrounding area audiences in the historic, 1500 seat, Warner Grand Theatre located near the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro, California.

PHOTO: (L to R Rear) Ray Buffer, Ronald Bidinger, Gregg Lawrence (L to R Front) Eileen Webb, Roberta McMillan, Jennifer Wallace.


TRS will perform in the beautifully restored 76-year-old Warner Grand Theatre located in San Pedro – the port town of Los Angeles. The theatre seats over 1500.

Founder, Artistic and Managing Director, Ray Buffer will direct 5 productions as part of TRS’ inaugural 2008 season. The season will consist of three plays, two musicals and even a documentary film.

Buffer, a professional actor, director and vocalist, brings over 20 years in arts management experience to the new company having worked most recently in marketing and development for The Laguna Playhouse, and as general manager for Long Beach Opera.

Distinguishing TRS from other theatre companies is its mission: to produce works that pertain to current social issues.

It is Buffer's vision that TRS will invigorate dialogue about issues that face the contemporary world.

At a recent public presentation, Buffer stated, "So much of what we see on television, in film, and even on stage is disposable and escapist. While there is certainly a need for that type of entertainment, I think that people also yearn for well-rounded provocative stories - for it is through them that we grow." He added, “Theatre should stimulate, and the stories should stay with you after you leave the building."

Confirmed for 2008 is a pairing of a one act play and a documentary film. Rats & Bullies: The Dawn-Marie Wesley Story is the documentary film by Roberta McMillan and Ray Buffer that focuses on relational aggression among teen girls, and the ramifications of bullying and teen suicide. William Mastrosimone’s short play, Bang Bang You’re Dead addresses dramatically the issue of school shootings and violence.

Also in the season are two West Coast Premiere plays: Reinventing Eden by Seth Rozin and Over There/Over Here by Michael Reyes.
Reinventing Eden tells the story of a geneticist who many years earlier “corrected” a gene defect in his second child prior to birth, after his first son had been born a few years earlier with a syndrome characterized by mental disability. His act was unethical and illegal, and he now finds that he is being held accountable not only by the scientific community but also by the son that he “cured”.

Over There/Over Here shows the impact of the military experience on a young man who joined the military because his options were limited by poverty and then served in Iraq prior to the fall of Baghdad. It is a story of a man desiring to find meaning in sacrifice.

The two musicals have yet to be confirmed due to rights restrictions and will be announced along with the entire season in September, 2007.

Buffer envisions producing two, daytime, weekday matinees of each production, exclusively for teen students who can be transported from their schools. Each school presentation will be accompanied by a discussion afterward. This will be offered to schools for free on a first come, first served basis. This outreach program has the potential of reaching 15,000 teens.

Even the public performances will allow youth to experience the performances for far less that other theaters. Buffer stated "because I believe in the power of live theatre and the need to compel youth to be exposed to the arts, our prices for teens 18 and younger to see TRS productions will only be five dollars. I believe that in order to make it attractive for youth and accessible for teens from working class families, our price needs to be less than a movie ticket." Buffer concluded, “Our adult admission prices will also be more than reasonable." "It is TRS’ intention to produce experiences that appeal to both Adults of all ages and mature teens."

Subscriptions and tickets will go on sale in September, 2007.

Additional information is available through the company’s website, where patrons can sign up for email updates and through Warner Grand Theatre at


About TRS: The Relevant Stage is a non-profit, 501(c) 3, public benefit corporation.  EIN# 71-1-32382.  TRS’ primary objectives and purposes are to promote the artistic necessity of theatre to the public; to foster theatre appreciation to youth, and to present plays, operas, musicals and mixed media performances that reflect current social issues, to the regional community.

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