The Whitefire Theatre Solofest Presents “Streamside Social Club”

Written and Performed by Julie Guevara. Developed and Directed by Jessica Lynn Johnson.

Part of the Solofest 2020

The Whitefire Theatre, 13500 Ventures Blvd, Sherman Oaks, 91423

“The Streamside Social Club” is a wonderful mix of a show.  Part dance, part music, part memoir, part magic. 

Julie Guevara is Cuban American and as she says, “When you’re a Cuban, all you inherit in life is one good joke and a song and a dance!”  The story centers around Julia and her father.  We hear about her mother and of course, we touch on her life growing up. But it is her relationship to her father that everything revolves around and as he ages and forgets so much, due to Alzheimer’s, it is Julia and the music that brings him back to her.

It’s a moving and deeply personal piece, yet Julia manages somehow to lift up the sadness of losing a parent little bit by little bit.  Alzheimer’s is so cruel.  She lifts us with humor and with love.  She becomes her father’s memories and, as he slips further into confusion and hallucinations she guides him and supports him and tries to understand his scattered mind.

Bring your tissues…I lost my father some years ago and I had the same kind of unmatched closeness to him that Julia has with hers.  A deep, profound and unspoken connection.  An irreplaceable place in my heart and my life.  Fathers and daughters.

Julia is an irrepressible talent.  She fills the stage with her soul and quite magically creates a world within a world. 

When her father can no longer visit his special place, the Streamside Social Club, to listen to music, to laugh with his friends and to dance, she recreates it for him, in his room, and together they dance and laugh and sing, even as he can do little else.

They say music awakens the mind as it hides away from everything else.  Julia reaches her father through music and she shows us how in priceless and deeply touching videos she took of him and we see how the power of music and song held them together.

Solo shows are about all kinds of things, not always trauma or change or darkness.  They can also bear witness to a life worth treasuring and honoring, a life not our own but as dear to us as our own.  Julia shares her father with us in such a way that we feel him with us in this little dark theatre in Sherman Oaks.  She conjures up a beautiful man and an exquisite relationship. She proudly and lovingly and with effortless storytelling skills and some pretty terrific dancing, brings us into the heart of these most precious moments with her father and it is beautiful.

Sharing a little of someone’s life, when what they chose to show us is because they need to, is something to be treasured.  Each time I come to Solofest I am surprised. I am invited to share moments of importance, moments of purpose, moments of life, love, loss, laughter and it is always, always worthwhile.  Julia Guevara now joins a long list of solo performers that The Whitefire Theatre and Jessica Lynn Johnson have supported and encouraged and that I am lucky enough to laugh and to cry and feel deeply with  Bravo!!!!!

If you get the chance to see this show…take it. It’s truly wonderful.

Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros
Author: Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros

Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros is a British writer and filmmaker living In Los Angeles.