Sandbox Theatre presents 'June & Jim' at Bedlam Lowertown

June of Arc
June of Arc
Photo courtesy Sandbox Theatre

For one night only at Bedlam's new Lowertown space, Sandbox Theatre is showing two plays before taking them to Duluth's Teatro Zuccone this weekend. They will be reprising their hit 2009 MN Fringe Festival play, June of Arc, about June Cleaver from Leave It to Beaver, and presenting a world premiere, Oh, Father!, about the lead character from Father Knows Best

June of Arc 
June of Arc 
Photo by Richard Fleischman

Sandbox company member Heather Stone, who is in both plays and is the title character in June of Arc, says that when Teatro Zuccone asked them to perform June of Arc, they decided to create a companion piece to make for a longer evening. Both plays are pretty similar in style, she says, with their use of direct address and breaks inserted throughout. June of Arc features 1950s-style commercials, while Oh, Father! has news of various catastrophes that have happened since the creation of the atomic bomb. "They make a nice juxtaposition," Stone says of the catastrophes, as the main character in piece is an insurance salesman trying to maintain control over his life and family. 

Company member Derek Miller, who performs in both plays, says that for June of Arc, they wanted to make the show as structurally similar to a sitcom as possible. So the commercial breaks interrupt when they typically would for a television show. "As we were finding commercials, besides the obvious comic effect there was also a sense of bringing in the messages that people were getting at the time," he says. The commercials are for the most part aimed at women. For example, there's a Listerine spot warning viewers that they'll never get a husband without Listerine clean breath. 
June of Arc
June of Arc

The news breaks in Oh, Father! are "kind of the photo negative of what we're doing in June," Miller says. "Instead of being silly, they're more serious." As they developed the script, they realized the disasters were the perfect foil for the character of Jim Anderson, whose job was selling insurance and "selling assurance," which was what the original show was all about. 

Both plays were written by Sandbox company member Ryan Hill, who also plays Anderson, and both take television characters as a lens to explore the societal pressures of being a perfect father and mother. Company member Derek Lee Miller says that while the TV shows aired half a century ago, in some ways those pressures haven't changed much in 60 years. 


June & Jim
Tonight only
Bedlam Theater
213 4th St., St. Paul
8 p.m.
Tickets are pay-what-you-can

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