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CCA grad bringing West Coast debut of play to San Diego

A New York-based woman who began developing her craft for theater in San Diego is returning home next month to show just how far she’s come.

Alice Cash, 27, founder of Golden Shards Productions, will direct a production of "8000M" (pronounced “8,000 Meters”) from Nov. 15 through Nov. 18 at the Moxie Theatre for the first time on the West Coast. Previously, the San Diego native directed the show in New York, where it garnered favorable reviews and captured sold-out audiences. Many of the actors from that performance are returning for the San Diego shows, Cash said.

The Scottish play, written by David Greig, follows an exhibition team's attempt at climbing the Himalayas. During the journey, the climbers undertake challenges with relationships, as well as physical obstacles.

Cash, a Carmel Valley native, said the show also reveals the struggles of a woman attempting to fit into a "man's world." The director said that theme was important to her because of her own challenges in the field. Golden Shards Productions works to empower young women by bringing them to the forefront of theater.

Prior to directing, while attending Canyon Crest Academy, Cash wrote theater reviews for various outlets (including this paper) and also founded Broadway Kids, a theater group only involving people under 18.

And, despite her growing success, Cash is still finding ways to give back and help others who may be considering careers in the theater. Golden Shards Productions is starting a mentorship program for San Diego-based girls and will also donate all proceeds from opening night to Project Edeline, a San Diego-based non-governmental organization that is developing a school in Haiti.

Cash recently discussed her excitement for bringing "8000M" to San Diego and the importance of women in the theater.

What significance has '8000M' played in your life?

It's about following your passion, especially as a woman, in a pursuit that's mostly a man's world, whether that be about climbing or theater directing. I really identified with the leading character and thought I needed to direct the show. ... It's this crazy play where we're setting it in the Himalayas. I was intrigued with how we could create danger in a space.

8000M
Actors performing in a past production of "8000M" Courtesy

What type of research have you done for this?

I've read a lot of climbing books. All of my actors and I also go to climbing gyms every week now so we can get ready for the show and climbing. We also have a climbing consultant on board who climbed Everest. He's kind of been able to talk to us about his experience climbing and make sure that our play is accurate.

What is the set like?

We're creating a whole place with climbing material, so carabiners, ropes, flashlights... that's kind of how we're creating the space and story. We're excited to get doing it again. It's great to be able to figure out what worked and didn't work [in the last production] and push forward and put on the best work possible.

What made you want to bring in young female assistant directors this time around?

We're opening up this mentorship program. What I did in San Diego was assistant direct at the Moxie, where the show is being done, and also other places in the city. That's really how I learned to be a female leader in the theater world. I'm hoping that other young women might be interested in bringing a professional show to San Diego. ... The mentorship program is going to begin once we come to San Diego, so just one week in November.

Why is promoting females in the theater important to you?

Being a female director is unusual, especially in the film world but even in the theater world. I would love to give other young women the opportunity to try being a director. There's not a program in San Diego that allows young people to direct or to create their own [theater] company or learn about the directing craft when they're in high school or college. This mentorship could give young women the opportunity to see what it means to be a female leader, what it means to move forward in the theater business and what it means to be a director.

What are your goals with the Project Edeline fundraiser? Why did you decide to work with this organization?

I've worked with this organization before. I volunteered to create theater and film curriculums for them. It seems like a natural course. This show is all about following your dream, pursuing your passions and pursuing the impossible, which is exactly what building a school in Haiti is as well. We're going to have a talkback after the show with the school's founders and are also going to have a reception before and after for the audience that night.

For more information about “8000M,” visit www.goldenshards.com.

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