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Selma Arts Center’s ‘Head Over Heels’ is outside — and proud of it

As Selma Arts Center’s production of “Head Over Heels” settles into its opening weekend, it’s worth once again reminding folks that you shouldn’t head for the company’s architecturally stunning downtown performance space for this one.

Pictured above: the cast of ‘Head Over Heels’ outdoors at Pioneer Village.  Photo: Kyle Lowe / Selma Arts Center

Instead, the musical — which marries an Elizabethan romp through the forest with the breezy ’80s appeal of The Go-Go’s — is being staged outdoors on the grounds of Selma’s Pioneer Village (1880 Art Gonzales Parkway). This is the first outdoor production in Selma Art Center history, and director Michael C. Flores is anxious to let audiences know what the experience will be like. His major points:

1. It’ll be cooler than you think.

It doesn’t matter how hot it gets during the day — by the time you hit 8 p.m. (curtain time) and factor in the trees and breeze at Pioneer Village, temps most evenings are downright pleasant.


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“You can see all the trees that are surrounding us form a canopy,” Flores says. “So it really is nice and breezy. Highway 99 next to us kind of offers a breeze, in a very good way. We’ve been rehearsing here about a month already. And we’ve gotten so accustomed to it. And, yeah, so it’s really not that bad, honestly.”

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Plus, water is readily available.

2. You don’t need to bring your own seats.

You can bring a lawn chair or a blanket if that makes you more comfortable, but general seating (the actual chairs from the Selma Arts Center) will be available. Plus, at Friday and Saturday performances, there will be pizza and beer.


FACEBOOK LIVE: AN INTERVIEW WITH MICHAEL C. FLORES AT PIONEER VILLAGE


3. Be prepared for a different kind of stage.

Flores is working with a much different configuration than the more traditional proscenium theater at Selma Arts Center. The “stage” is essentially a concrete floor in front of a pavilion that accommodates the live band. There’s no wing space, so all entrances by the actors will be from the rear.

The show is extremely dance-heavy, and it’s been a challenge for both the choreographer (also Flores) and the dancers to deal with the concrete.

Still, theater is all about making use of what you have. “And I always love a challenge,” Flores says.

4. COVID isn’t the only reason the show is outside.

Plans were made months ago for the outdoor venue because of the pandemic, of course. But Flores could have made the decision to switch indoors a month or so ago. He decided not to.

This is a tale about kings and queens, of woodland creatures and giant snakes, about being immersed in the forests of Arcadia.

“The story really lends itself to being outside,” he says.


Show info

‘Head Over Heels,’ a Selma Arts Center production at Pioneer Village, Selma. 8 p.m. Friday, July 16; 8 p.m. Saturday, July 17; 8 p.m. Sunday, July 18; and 8 p.m. July 22-25. Tickets are are $21 adults, $19 seniors/students, $15 children. Rated PG-13.


Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

donaldfresnoarts@gmail.com

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