The Summer Jeremy Gable Took Over OC Theater

Welcome to the summer of Jeremy Gable's content—emphasis on the first syllable. You name it, he's doing it: acting, writing, directing and administrating—often on the same night.

Last Friday, Gable missed opening night of his new musical riff on Godzilla, Giant Green Lizard! The Musical, at the Maverick Theater in Fullerton due to a prior engagement: portraying four roles in the Hunger Artists' Threepenny Opera. Meanwhile, auditions for another original Gable play, the superhero-infused American Way,were set the following afternoon at the Maverick.

Individuals adept at some combination of writing, directing and acting aren't unusual in Orange County theater. But I can't recall anyone accomplishing as many different things so quickly as the 24-year-old Gable. In just over two years, he's cut through the county like a far less irritating strain of chlamydia: he's everywhere and impossible to ignore.

And here's the cool part: his projects are anything but mundane. At the Hunger Artists, he's garnered raves in Jason Lindner's brilliant mind-fuck of a one-man show, The Gog/Magog Project, and displayed versatility by portraying more than 15 characters in Darcy Hogan's cautionary nuclear testing tale, The Land Southward. He helmed an ambitious adaptation of the theatrical totem Marat/Sadeand chose the incredibly challenging Sarah Kane play 4:48 Psychosisas his directorial debut. He's also the newly named literary manager at one of the county's most literary-minded theaters, the Hunger Artists, as well as its associate artistic director.

“He has such a remarkable creative energy and a fearless imagination,” Hunger Artists' artistic director Kelly Flynn said, facetiously copping to a slight strain of envy at Gable's diverse talents. “He is multitalented. He's a great director, actor, even singer. I'm glad he's chosen to be so involved with us, because I would probably have killed him by now.”

Gable is the latest example of how it's possible to thrive in an otherwise insular Orange County small theater scene that provides little money, few reviews and fewer industry types. But the proverbial silver lining is unlimited opportunity: if motivated, the relative lack of rigid structure and defined roles means you can do just about anything.

And that's why Gable is one of the few promising young theater types not planning an exodus up I-5 any time soon.

“I've done theater in Los Angeles and been a part of that scene, but the reason I like Orange County theater is that people do it out of a genuine love of doing it,” Gable said. “They're not necessarily looking for an agent or [exposure]. Sure, I'd love to branch out and get my work seen by a larger audience, and I've been sending out my plays. But right now, I'm very interested in theater management and how a theater runs.”

Making Gable's rapid progression even more remarkable is his alien status. After he graduated high school in Idaho, his family—tired of the bone-numbing winters and annoying white supremacist parades—moved to California. Well, Barstow.

Eventually, Gable got to civilization (Orange County) and began exploring the local theater scene, working at several community theaters but tiring of the limiting middle-of-the-road fare. He found a home after auditioning for the Hunger Artists production of Stephen Sondheim's Assassins.

“I immediately knew that was the type of company I wanted to work with,” he said, citing the company's penchant for non-mainstream, form-tweaking work.

His energy and talent quickly made him an integral part of one of the county's best storefront troupes.

“The thing about Jeremy is that he does the work,” Flynn said. “A lot of people talk about doing this or that, but once he sets his mind to it, he does it. That's what has made him such a breath of fresh air from the moment he joined the company.”

Giant Green Lizard! The Musical at Maverick Theater, 110 E. Walnut, Fullerton, (714) 526-7070; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m. Through Sept. 10. $18.

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