June 20 2014 12:00 AM

New Village Arts stages Beth Henley play

MISS FIRECRACKER PICTURE
Samantha Ginn (left) Melissa Coleman-Freed and Kristin Woodburn in "The Miss Firecracker Contest"
Daren Scott

The whistle that the Miss Firecracker pageant organizer, Tessy (Lauren King), blows exemplifies the rather shrill Southern-fried tone of Beth Henley's The Miss Firecracker Contest, on stage at Carlsbad's New Village Arts Theatre through June 29. The antics of a broadly performing cast that includes King, Melissa Coleman-Reed, Kristin Woodburn, Justin Lang and Eddie Yaroch are demonstrated at full volume most of the way, and it gets rather exhausting by the middle of Act 2.

The saving grace of the production is star Samantha Ginn, who portrays Carnelle (aka Carnation) Scott, the self-esteem-challenged gal from a small town in Mississippi who badly wants personal validation by winning the title of Miss Firecracker. Ginn leaves it all out on the stage in an impressive, raw performance that's certainly one of the finest so far on her San Diego-theater résumé. The only thing more amazing than Ginn's energy, honesty and complete lack of self-consciousness is the fact that amid all the ruckus on stage, there was at least one patron the night I attended who somehow nodded off.

"Wake up. You're snoring," I heard the husband whisper to the wife in back of me. How the hell did that happen?

This is a production (directed by Daren Scott) that, without Ginn, would be miss-able on your theater travels. But because of her dedication to making Carnelle come alive, it's a show that will probably outdo your upcoming Fourth of July fireworks experience, wherever that might be.

Calendar

  • Visit one of the 70 participating restaurants, bars, coffeehouses and nightclubs in town on this night and 25 to 50 percent of sales will go to local HIV/AIDS services and prevention programs. 
  • Anthony Bernal and Chris Ward, who are vying to replace Todd Gloria on the San Diego City Council, will discuss urban issues, such as parking, homelessness and new developments
  • The new exhibition designed by Dave Ghilarducci is made from hundreds of rolls of packing tape and bound together by layers of plastic shrink-wrap. Visitors can navigate their way through cocoon-like passageways...
  • The renowned Mexican black and white photographer presents an exhibition exploring the principal themes within three groups: "Bestiarium"," Fantastic Women" and "Silent Natures."
  • Presented by Pacific Arts Movement, the sixth annual mini film fest features 14 film programs from 10 countries that includes everything from docs to romantic tearjerkers. See website for full lineup and...
  • The San Diego County Bike Coalition hosts this monthly bike-in happy hour event to get biking residents involved in their communities and discuss bike projects planned for that specific community
  • Debunk some of the stereotypes surrounding cannibalism at this new exhibition that takes a hands-on approach to the subject. Includes video games and interactive activities where patrons will have to decide...
  • So Say We All's monthly storytelling night features stories about those jobs we took because we had to take a job. Featured readers include Allison Gauss, Annmarie Houghtailing, Cecile Estelle, and more
  • Artists from the all-abstracts group show will talk about their work and techniques. Artists include Edwin Nutting, Danielle Nelisse, Leah Pantea, Lenore Simon, and more
See all events on Thursday, Apr 28