Hotel visitors tell stories from around the country |

Hotel visitors tell stories from around the country

by Sarah Hauck
Cast members, from left, Kade Sergent, Jeff Basa, Rachelle Resnick and Chris Nerska rehearse a scene for "California Suite" by Neil Simon.
Jim Grant | The Record-Courier

Audiences will get a fly-on-the-wall perspective of the temporary inhabitants of a California hotel room.

Carson Valley Community Theatre presents Neil Simon’s “California Suite” for two weekends with the first curtain rising Friday.

“The last scene will have the audience leaving the theater laughing, which is always great,” first time director Diana Jones said. “The first scene has a lot of emotion and the second has a lot of surprises.”

“California Suite” is a compilation of four mini-plays each featuring a different group of guests within the same suite in a Los Angeles hotel.

The characters tackle everything from infidelity, to piecing together a newly broken home, to having a career and passion hang in the balance.

“I spent many, many hours reading and re-reading the script to make sure I understood the characters and what the writer, Neil Simon, was going for in each scene,” Jones said. “I bought lots of books on directing. I hope I got it right. This is a complex play because, while the scenes may seem somewhat simple, in each of them there are multiple levels of emotion occurring simultaneously with the characters. I wanted to make sure I understood this so I could help my actors.”

The emotional connection with a character is something new community theater member Kade Sergent is enjoying about her character.

Having moved from France less than a year ago, Sergent’s role within the play has been a learning experience in more than one way.

“This is a new culture for me,” Sergent said. “The play itself is very funny so I am really enjoying it. In France I had more dramatic roles that involved a lot of emotion and lines to learn, so this one has not been too bad.”

Sergent’s character is part of a quartet of friends on vacation that slowly starts to take a turn for the worst, after an injury encourages accusatory banter.

Taking on a woe-is-me mentality during her scene has been easier than she expected.

“‘Beth’ is easy to play and she is so funny,” Sergent said. “The irony of the situation is that she has an injury and I actually have a twisted knee so I don’t have to pretend I am hurt. It is even the same leg. I love acting as a different person than myself. I love being on stage and the group here has been enjoyable to work with. Everyone is very nice.”

Carson City theater transplant Rachelle Resnick shares Sergent’s sentiments about the community theater group being welcoming and fun to be with.

Taking on roles in two different scenes Resnick gets to play an array of emotions.

“My first character has a lot of emotion,” she said. “Sometimes she is very high and other times she is very low. It has been fun playing someone with that much emotional range. My other role is very slap stick and has been a lot of fun.”

Resnick complimented the community theater on the quality of their shows, having seen a few herself.

Being a part of one is no different she said.

“The people at Carson Valley Community Theatre are fabulous to work with,” she said. “We are always laughing and they are very organized and it shows in their productions.”

Being organized and being able to keep rehearsals under control is something Jones credits to her background in elementary education.

Organization combined with the casts’ talents have helped Jones settle into her director’s position.

“In directing, you help people learn by offering suggestions most of the time,” she sid. “You sometimes show them directly if needed, but the rest of the time, you simply offer the guidance to help them make their own discoveries about the script and the characters. The rest is up to them. I have a great group and they have done a wonderful job.”

“California Suite” will show 7:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday, March 31, April 1-2 and 2 p.m. April 3 at CVIC Hall, 1604 Esmeralda Ave., Minden.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $13 for students and seniors.

They can be purchased online at, CVCT box office (1572 Highway 395, Minden) 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, or at the door.

Because of the nature of some of the play, the show is not recommended for those under 13 years old.

For more information call 292-0939 or email