Malibu Playhouse Begins Celebrity Reading Series With ‘Hidden in the Sand’

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Local actor Julie Carmen, famous Cypress singer Alexia Vassiliou and British/Cypress actor Daphne Alexander —all involved in last Saturday night’s staged reading of the new play “Hidden in the Sand” at the Malibu Playhouse.

Last Saturday night, the Malibu Playhouse was the scene of a sold-out staged reading of “Hidden in the Sand” by award-winning writer James Phillips. The lead roles were played by well-known local actors Julie Carmen and Jamey Sheridan; and the play was directed by Shoshana Kuttner (director of Malibu’s Young Actors Project). Supporting roles were played by local Colette Kilroy and Cypriot/British actress Daphne Alexander.

The recently written play is set in both Britain and Cyprus, and involves a passionate love story complicated by the aftermath of the Turkish invasion of the Greek island of Cyprus in 1974.

It was Julie Carmen who pulled together the idea for the production. She knew actress Daphne Alexander, the playwright’s wife, from studying Shakespeare with Patsy Rodenburg in NYC together. 

“Then my family and I saw his play “City Stories” when it was part of Brits Off Broadway,” Carmen wrote.”I asked him if we could do “City Stories” in LA, but he sent me “Hidden in the Sand” instead.

After reading it, she said, “I interrogated my Greek friends relentlessly until I better understood the 1974 holocaust in Cyprus.

“When Daphne called to say they’d be coming to town for pilot season, I said, ‘Let’s do a reading of the play.’” Carmen said. There were only two full rehearsals with the director prior to last Saturday’s presentation.

Prior to the performance, Carmen and Daphne were introduced to Alexia Vassiliou, perhaps the best-known female singer from Cyprus. “We felt it was a huge gift to consult with her,” Carmen said. “The two Cypriots were incredulous about how the play brought us all together. I just absorbed their stories and made them read my lines in their accents.”

Director Kuttner “Loved the idea of starting a celebrity reading series,” according to Carmen. “It’s a short time commitment and keeps our instruments sharp, reading wonderful contemporary plays for the community.”

The play received positive reviews in Great Britain from The Daily Telegraph, Whatsonstage, The Stage and LondonTheatre.com

A reception of Greek treats was catered by Taverna Tony restaurant.