The Good Doctor: SRJC Theater Arts’ last performance in Newman Auditorium

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Image courtesy of Santa Rosa Junior College Theatre Department

Séamus Reed, A&E Editor

Santa Rosa Junior College Theatre Arts Department opens their fall season with “The Good Doctor” at 8 p.m. on Oct. 4 in Newman Auditorium’s Emeritus Hall — the last time the classroom will be used before the program moves to the new Burbank Amphitheater. 

Based on the works of Russian writer Anton Chekhov as written by American playwright Neil Simon, “The Good Doctor” is split into separate vignettes, with cast members playing different characters in each episode. While the play is not a musical, it features live violin and mandolin accompaniment.

Turning the classroom into a stage was a challenge, said Director Wendy Wisely. Actors incorporate the whole lecture hall during the performance, including the aisles and the audience.

“Some scenes are silly physical farce, some scenes are sweet and poignant. I just can’t choose a favorite,” Wisely said.

Wisely joined the Theatre Arts Department in 1992, and directed for more than 20 years. “I have a lot of favorites for different reasons. They were different challenges,” she said.

“The Good Doctor” features a wide array of actors, experienced and green alike. Some actors return after last season’s “Jesus Christ Superstar,” while some appear on the SRJC stage for the first time. One actor returns to SRJC Theatre Arts after a 10-year hiatus, his last play also a Neil Simon production.

The cast prepared for about six weeks and are in high spirits. “They just have so much fun at every rehearsal. They just have a blast,” Wisely said. “The actors are so ready to have an audience there.” 

Tickets are available for $15 to $25 at theatrearts.santarosa.edu or by calling the SRJC box office at 707-527-4307.