Desert Ensemble Theatre (DET) continues its season at the Palm Springs Cultural Center in February with the California premiere of Salty, a play by AJ Clauss slated to begin on Feb. 18.
Salty was inspired by the true story of two male African penguins at a Dutch zoo who made international headlines in 2019 when they stole an egg from a heterosexual couple. In Clauss’s comedy, penguins Silver and Bowie decide to raise an egg together, challenge the gender binary, and potentially save their breed from extinction — and maybe even teach us a thing or two about humanity.
The play was a recent hit at Seattle’s ReAct Theatre.
In Palm Springs, the production is directed by DET Artistic Director Jerome Elliott, with August Pearson, assistant director. The design team includes Thomas L. Valach, set; Jason Smith, lighting; Andrew MacLaine, costumes; and Gus Sanchez, sound. Sanchez is a graduate of DET’s Theatre Internship Program. The multi-award-winning cast includes Miguel Arballo, Heather Bates, Melanie Blue, John Corr, Phylicia Mason, Anthony Nannini, and Tessa Gregory Walker.
Clauss is a writer from Kentuckiana (Indiana + Kentucky) living in New York City. Their writing aims for a queer pastoral tenderness orbiting their own personal mythologies, stumbling head-first into accidental beauty. They are a current member of Youngblood, an Obie Award-winning writer’s group for young playwrights. Currently they are in development on the Superbloom, a screenplay with co-creator Jason Sherwood. Their plays include Salty, Henry Makes a Bible (Alfred P. Sloan Foundation/EST Commission), When You Were Small, and others.
More information: Performances of Salty are February 18–20 and 25–27: Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., and Sundays at 7 p.m. Tickets are $35 and available at www.desertensembletheatre.org. The Palm Springs Cultural Center is located at 2300 East Baristo Rd (in the Camelot Theatres building).