Ophelia’s Jump Brings Four Summer Shakespeare Shows to Sontag

This summer, the Sontag Greek Theatre at Pomona College will not be lying fallow. 

Ophelia’s Jump, a professional
theater company based in Claremont, is finalizing plans with the Pomona theater department to use this space, among others, to perform four different shows beginning in May.

Only about a year and a half old, Ophelia’s Jump is
partway through its second season. The company has already performed such shows as
August Osage County, [title of show], Clybourne Park, Time Stands Still, Boston
, and The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?

“It’s really creating an opportunity for people to see some challenging works,” said Randy Lopez, the marketer for Ophelia’s Jump who is married to one of the founders—the other founders are their children. 

At Pomona College, the group will perform four shows: Eurydice in May in Seaver Theatre, The Merry Wives of Windsor over the summer in the Greek Theatre, Macbeth over the summer in the Greek Theatre, and 33 Variations in the fall in Allen Theatre.

“What is happening at Pomona College is at a very high level, so that is an honor for us to be afforded the opportunity to be a part of it,” Lopez said. “I’m supporting it with the marketing.”

Although the relationship between Pomona and Ophelia’s Jump is not yet set in stone, the two groups are working to make a formal agreement. James Taylor, the chair of Pomona’s theater department, said that Ophelia’s Jump approached Pomona in the fall, asking if the college would be agreeable to an arrangement in which Ophelia’s Jump would be allowed to use the spaces and Pomona students would have the opportunity to intern and perform with the group. 

Ophelia’s Jump plans to
put on a summer Shakespearean or Elizabethan fair to accompany its shows at the Greek Theatre,
during which talents such as The Mechanicals, a Shakespearean improvisation
group based in Fullerton, Calif., may perform.

“We hope that [the audience] will have an experience like a
lot of us that have gone to a summer Shakespeare—the first time we’ve seen a
really great performance that gets you excited about Shakespeare,” Lopez said. 

The goal of the company is to produce theater that leaves
the audience with questions.

“For us, the best praise is for people to leave the theater wanting to talk about what they’ve seen,” Lopez said.

He cited one instance in which the Q&A session following one of the company’s shows had to be cut off after running for an hour and a

“We like the idea of some of the playwrights holding mirrors
up to the audience,” Lopez said.

Taylor said that the first summer of Ophelia’s Jump performances will be a trial run for Pomona’s theater department. 

“We think it’s going to be useful for us to be able to see
professional work up close; we think it’s going to help our audiences,”
Taylor said. “What we’re hoping is that our audiences will go to Ophelia’s Jump
and that Ophelia’s Jump audiences will come to us.” 

Several tech positions and a handful
of acting positions with the company have been filled by Pomona students. Some students may have
received scholarships from Curtain Raisers, a theater scholarship group in
Claremont that has made an effort this year to fund students interning with
Ophelia’s Jump.

One idea for the future is to award Pomona student interns at Ophelia’s Jump course credit for their work. 

“We haven’t really addressed the issue of academic credit,” Taylor said. “I don’t think we’re adverse to that; I think we just haven’t wrapped our head around that.” 

Taylor said he is happy with the arrangement between the college and theater company, and the college is not charging the company much for rent. 

“It’s not
really about the money,” he said. 

Since Pomona’s facilities will not be used over the summer months, providing performance space for Ophelia’s Jump may increase publicity for both groups. 

Ophelia’s Jump has a widespread audience from the Inland Empire, Western Los Angeles, and Orange County. 

Lopez said that Ophelia’s Jump hopes to provide professional theater to people inland and east of LA. He said the group felt that there were people leaving for LA in the evenings “to see new works or challenging works,” and wanted to fill the vacuum. 

Lopez also believes in interacting with his nearby community in ways beyond presenting performances.

“We want to engage the community—and
that’s something we believe very strongly in,” he said.  

Ophelia’s Jump does sketch comedy, hosts live
bands, and performs “reader theater,” in which actors perform rehearsed
read-throughs of little-known scripts in front of audiences, at the dA Center for
the Arts in the city of Pomona regularly.

“It’s been a year of getting people to understand what
Ophelia’s Jump is,” Lopez said. 

stressed that he would love to be contacted by interested students. He can be reached by phone at (909) 624-1464
or by email at info@opheliasjump.org.


Eurydice: May 23
– June 1 in Seaver Theatre

The Merry Wives
of Windsor
: July 17 – July 26 in the Sontag Greek Theatre

Macbeth: July 18
– July 26 in the Sontag Greek Theatre

33 Variations:
Sept. 5 – Sept. 14 in Allen Theatre


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