Steve Martin’s “The Underpants”

The Underpants, written by Carl Sternheim and adapted for the modern stage by Steve Martin, will be performed on Friday, April 25 at 8pm, Saturday, April 26 at 8pm, Thursday, May 1 at 8pm, Friday, May 2 at 8pm, Saturday, May 3 at 8pm, and Sunday, May 4 at 3pm. Thursday, April 24 (8 pm), the final dress rehearsal, is open to the public at no charge.
The Underpants features the performance and production talent of Ventura College Theatre Arts students:, Kevin Bass, , Michael Byrne, James Culbertson, Drew Davenport, Berkeley Deitch, Dayna Miles, TJ Mora, Dan Saad, Elyse Sinklier, and Josh Zelman.

The Underpants tells the story of Louise, a pretty young wife with an inattentive husband, who, while stretching to get a better view the King in a parade, realizes that her dainty underpants have fallen around her ankles! Embarrassed, she quickly retrieves them and hopes no one has noticed. The only concern of her husband Theo, a stuffy bureaucrat, is that her indiscretion may affect his reputation and career aspirations. While her husband may be unaware of Louise’s feelings and charms, two men who witnessed the underpants “incident” come to rent a room in the couple’s flat in the hopes of romancing Louise. Theo, oblivious to the threat to his marriage, conspires to split the room and rent to them both in an effort to double his money. Gertrude, a nosy neighbor, urges the naïve Louise towards an amorous affair with one of the men, while the men themselves try to outdo and undermine each other to gain her attention. All this admiration brings Louise to a new awareness of her circumstances, her own worth and empowerment. When the King shows up looking to rent a room (it seems he, too, witnessed the underpants event), Louise has developed an understanding of how to get what she wants in the world.

Students in my classes will each receive one complimentary ticket. Come early, as these tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Additional tickets are available for purchase at the box office one half hour prior to each performance, and are $9.00 general admission, and $7.00 for students, staff, and seniors.

We hope this opportunity to use the theatre as part of our shared teaching and learning experience is of value to you and that you will take advantage of it. If you have any questions regarding The Underpants, please contact Jay Varela at 805.654.6400 ext. 3194.

Al Young on NPR’s Morning Edition 4/24

Hear Al Young discuss poetry and poetics during NPR’s Morning Edition. You can find it on KCRW 89.1 or KCLU 88.3.

If you missed it, it’s on-line at

or read below (btw, the links aren’t live–but if you go to the site, you should be able to make them work and hear Al’s rich, melodious voice or click here to hear the NPR’s interview with Al Young)

California Poet Laureate Al Young’s ‘Blues’

Al Young is California's poet laureate.

Al Young was born on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. He grew up in the rural South and in Detroit before moving to the San Francisco Bay area in 1960. Courtesy Al Young

Young Reads Young

Al Young reads two poems from his new collection, Something About the Blues.

Morning Edition, April 24, 2008 · Al Young took to writing poetry, as he describes it in one poem, “to make out the sound of my own background music.”

He’s now the poet laureate of California, celebrating National Poetry Month with a collection called Something About the Blues.

Though he’s lived in California for decades, the 68-year-old poet was born in rural Mississippi and had the good luck to find himself in one very special classroom in the second grade.

In the segregated South of the 1940s, Young attend a black-only school. “At the Kingston School for Colored, we put a lot of emphasis on things that would be now called African American, on Negro literature and Negro culture,” he tells Renee Montagne. “So we memorized poems by people like Langston Hughes, of course, and Paul Laurence Dunbar.”

Young moved to the San Francisco Bay area in 1960, “under the sway, all of the hullabaloo. The Beat Generation was sounding its horns … and there was just a lot of romance about it.” He had $15 and a guitar.

Young’s poems touch on not only blues and jazz music but also, not surprisingly, life in California. In “Watsonville After the Quake,” he writes about the Mexican immigrants forgotten in the aftermath of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. In “Blues My Naughty Poetry Taught Me,” Young observes the state through the window of an Amtrak train:

Sea-fences, industrial wash-ups, slushy tracks
and rickety light: skies so soulfully watercolored
you’d have to be an arts commissioner not to see it.
Seen across the Bay through trees and the undersides
of freeways San Francisco looks lonely at the end
of one bridge and the beginning of another…

Poems: ‘Something About the Blues’

'Something About the Blues', April 23, 2008 ·

‘Watsonville After the Quake’

On Central Coast radio KTOM blasts
Eddie Rabbitt thru waves of air the sea
surrounds, & all the other country stars
come out (Claude King, Tammy Wynette, Shelley
West) & spread themselves in droplets.
The sacred moisture of their song is skin
to seal a pain that quavers in this ash blue night
coming on just now like a downcast motel date,
who’s warned you from in front that she’ll be coming
’round the mountain when she comes.

Whose tents are these? What’s with these shot
parking lot & alleyway families peeping around
the raggedy backs of undemolished fronts?
That brownskin kid on a grassy patch along Main,
catching a football & falling with joy
on the run, is his family up from Mazatlán,
up from Baja or Celaya—or edges of eternity?

Network TV didn’t do this news up right.
For all their huff & puff & blow your house down,
the mediators of disaster and distress
didn’t find this sickly devastation sexy.
Besides, who’s going to cry or lose sleep
over a spaced out, tar papered, toppled down town
by the sea, brown now with alien debris?

‘Los Angeles, Los Angeles:
One Long-Shot, One Cutaway’


Inside your belly, a new beast ripens.
While all your twilit litters guard the door,
the ghost of Ho Chi Minh pours out a toast:

Here’s to old Saigon, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Beijing;
Iran before the Shah; to Port-au-Prince,
and Port of Spain, Tijuana, Kingston Town;
to Tokyo, Bombay, Tel-Aviv, Nairobi and Accra.

Not Ghana but the oldest Gold Coast drums
her thoughts out loud in not so cooling colors,
The darkest nights of Seoul turn into tunnels,
where rays of hope, spaghetti thin, break skin
and ream the veins of dreams so long deferred

that laser-lined Thought Police 100 years from now
still can’t decrypt the meaning of their blood;
their blues.


A Stoly on the rocks, some rock cocaine,
a spoon of smack can crack the sound of barriers
and barrios alike. But light is hard.

‘The James Cotton Band at Keystone’

And the blues, I tell you, they blew up
on target; blew the roof right off
& went whistling skyward, starward,
stilling every zooming one of us
mojo’d in the room that night, that
instant, that whenever it was. Torn
inside at first, we all got turned out,
twisting in a blooming space where
afternoon & evening fused like Adam
with Eve. The joyful urge to cry
mushroomed into a blinding cloudburst
of spirit wired for sound, then atomized
into one long, thunderous, cooling downpour.

What ceased to be was now & now & now.
Time somehow was what the blues froze
tight like an underground pipe before
busting it loose in glad explosions; a
blast that shattered us—ice, flow & all.
The drift of what we’d been began to
shift, dragging us neither upstream nor
down but lifting us, safe & high, above
the very storm that, only flashing moments
ago, we’d been huddling in for warmth.

Melted at last, liquefied, we became
losers to the blues & victors, both.
Now that he’d blown us away with his shout,
this reigning brownskinned wizard, wise
to the ways of alchemy, squeezed new life
back into us by breathing through cracks
in our broken hearts; coaxing & choking
while speaking in tongues that fork & bend
like the watery peripheries of time; a
crime no more punishable than what the
dreaming volcano does waking from what it was.

Believe me, the blues can be volatile too,
but the blues don’t bruise; they only renew.

© 2008 by Al Young, from Something About the Blues. Published by Sourcebooks.