Alice Cash, actress, director, and former San Diego theatre youth performer is coming back home, but this time she’s bringing her show 8000M (pronounced 8,000 meters) and her production company Golden Shard Productions, back with her.
Written by David Greig, the play follows an exhibition team’s attempt at climbing the Himalayas. As the characters encounter challenges and obstacles, both physically, and emotionally, this play seemed like a good fit to bring to San Diego as the Director. Especially since she feels the plays themes of passionate pursuit of challenging goals can also be applied to making theatre.
Cash recently discussed with me her feelings on the play, the evolution of the show, and her production company’s philanthropic side, and the power of mentorship from the theatre community in shaping who she is today.
What was it about this play that felt like something you needed to put on stage?
8000M is a play I can’t get out of my mind. I was stuck in a blizzard at Everest Base Camp on the Tibetan side in a backpacking trip after college and the experience really shaped my sense of adventure. I love the work of David Greig and I learned that he wrote this play years ago, it was done once in Scotland, and then hadn’t been touched since. I got ahold of the play and fell in love.
It’s about climbing, about scaling the Himalayas, but also about so much more than that. It’s also about what it means to fall in love, to fall in love with a profession, with climbing, or really anything you can substitute for scaling a mountain. For me, the show has always been about passion for making theatre. It’s also a show about being a woman in a man’s world, and I think it’s a story we all need to think about in this current political climate. Not only does it question what it takes to make it as a female in a primarily male profession, but we’re also bringing it to the Moxie’s stage, so it felt like this play was the inevitable choice.
It’s also a challenge of a play, which always makes me excited to get to work. How in the world do you create the danger of Mount Everest on a stage? I was actually climbing myself when the concept for the show came to me, I talked to my designers about the idea and we’ve created a piece that I think really challenges what it means to create theatre, to pull upon climbing, and a truly epic visual narrative!
How has this show and process evolved for you as you work on it after having done it in New York?
The show is something that I’m constantly thinking about, I don’t think it will ever truly be done, I hope it can keep evolving and pushing forward, just like climbing itself. I’m working with most of the same actors and designers for the production and we’re excited to bring it to San Diego. It’s great to get to work on it again to think about the characters as we grow ourselves.
It’s been two years since the first production, so the biggest thing for me about the evolution of this new incarnation is how the characters continued to live for me in my mind, and so how we could flesh them out more and more with this new production.
As an native to San Diego who has done multiple theatrically based roles; performed as a kid, wrote about theater for a local paper, and started your own youth theatre, what is it like to bring this show back to San Diego with you as the Director?
I’m so excited to bring this show back to San Diego as a professional Director! It’s amazing to be able to say my profession is Director! I love San Diego and I love the San Diego theatre community, so I can’t wait to dive in to the middle of it with this production. This is just the beginning for Golden Shards here in California, and I’m so happy to be back in the most beautiful city in the world. It’s especially thrilling to be working on Moxie’s Stage.
I Assistant Directed for Jen and Delicia growing up, and I learned how to be a powerful female director from them, they taught me how to lead a room, how to stand up for my beliefs, and to create work with strong women both in the room and on the stage, I’m proud to bring a show to their stage about gender dynamics in the climbing world.
Your production company Golden Shards Productions has been involved in multiple ways to help promote youth involvement in theatre- with a mentorship program while you’re in San Diego, to Project Edeline in Haiti, how do you think theater and the arts are beneficial to young adults?
The San Diego theatre community gave me so much when I was younger, from working with the Moxie Women, to ion, to the Globe, to the Playhouse, to the wonderful children’s companies, and the wisdom of Pat Launer. Each of these companies allowed me to see myself as someone who could make it in the field of directing, become a powerful female leader, and develop a creative voice.
I want to give back to my incredible community of San Diego, and so I started the mentorship program to do what the Moxie women did for me, to train four young women as Assistant Directors to be able to watch how a show develops in a professional company, and see what they can accomplish when they start their own company, just as I watched the Moxie develop through the years.
Theatre gives young people a voice, it gives them a way to express feelings to the world, to ask questions, to learn; 8000M is about what it takes to a be a woman leader in the field, and so I think it’s important that as many young women see it as possible.
Why not dream of climbing Mount Everest? Why not dream of being a female director? Why not dream of being President? Mountain climbing can be substituted for anything within this production, but it’s about the passion for a pursuit, and I want to bring my passion to young people of San Diego.
8000M is playing November 15th through the 18th at the MOXIE Theatre. For ticket and show information go to www.goldenshards.com