Sierra Stages’ “End Games”: poignant and entertaining

We thoroughly enjoyed Sierra Stages production of “End Days” this weekend at the Nevada Theatre in Nevada City.  “Waiting for Wednesday,” when the Rapture is supposed to arrive, has never been so funny  — and touching.

In this poignant, five-cast member play — the first production of its ninth season — Sierra Stages continues to delight its audience with imaginative and well-executed performances.

Playwright Debra Zoe Laufer sets the scene: “Sixteen year old Rachel Stein is having a bad year.  Her father hasn’t changed out of his pajamas since 9/11.  Her mother has begun a close, personal relationship with Jesus.  Her new neighbor, a 16-year-old Elvis impersonator, has fallen for her hard. And the Apocolypse is coming Wednesday. Her only hope is that Stephen Hawking will save them all.”

Nelson Steinberg’s one-liners were hilarious and delivered perfectly. His character’s quirky, awkward but enthusiastic personality shows through. Watching brooding teenager Rachel Stein assess her world and her role in it reminds us that we should all “shoot for the stars.”

Mom and Dad’s realization of their own shortcomings and their eventual path to become whole again reminded the audience we all need to look in the mirror once in a while. (The actors were Maxwell Freedman as Nelson Steinberg; T.E. Wolfe as Arthur Stein; Cathy Callas as Syliva Stein; Brian Arnold as Jesus; Michele Fitzhugh Nesbit as Rachel Stein; and Brian Arnold as Stephen Hawking).

The play’s comparison of different religions’ interpretation of Scriptures shows us we’re really one big family — a timely message.

The two teenagers in our group loved it, and we were laughing out loud, along with the rest of the audience throughout the play. There are just six more performances of “End Days” — do yourself a favor and catch one of them.

And as Board Member Peter Mason reminds us: “Now, more than ever, it is important that we support live theatre, as well as all of the arts, for the perspective that artists offer on our lives in these unsettled and unsettling times.”

—Shannon Pelline

(Photo: David Wong)

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