Folksiest Amateur Theater 

The Orinda Starlight Village Players

Remember those theater nights at summer camp? All the campers would crowd around the fire while a giggling group of kids performed a skit they'd been practicing all week. You could smell the smoke in the crisp air and see the trees framing a starry sky. The same spirit -- gutsy, outdoorsy, and a little magical -- reigns at the Orinda Starlight Village Players' summer productions in Orinda Community Center Park. Now in its 24th year, the scrappy company specializes in Agatha Christie mysteries and slapstick comedies, performed in an intimate outdoor amphitheater with surprisingly well-crafted sets. Come several seasons in a row and you'll see familiar faces, but there's always a new high-school kid or senior making their theater debut. While the acting is uneven and the audience sometimes numbers less than twenty, the troupe's enthusiasm is contagious. You can feast on homemade popcorn and lemonade at intermission, and after the show, shake hands with every cast member.

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