Legislators move to enshrine abortion rights in state constitution
S1: A state amendment to ensure abortion rights will be on the California ballot.
S1: This is KPBS Midday Edition. Immigrant rights activists react to the truck smuggling tragedy in San Antonio.
S3: It's the same thing that leads migrants to hike through the desert here in San Diego or hop on a raft. Even though they don't know how to swim. Their situation at home must be so horrible that they feel there's no other option but to come to the U.S..
S1: San Diego's fired school superintendent considers a lawsuit , and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde find their voice in a musical production in Ocean Beach. That's ahead on Midday Edition. The State shall not deny or interfere with an individual's reproductive freedom. That's how California's proposed constitutional amendment protecting abortion rights begins. On Monday , the state legislature approved the amendment. It will be submitted for voter approval on the November ballot. The amendment took place. Abortion rights and the California Constitution is only one of the steps being taken to secure those rights for residents and for women seeking abortions from other states. State leaders say they expected the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v Wade and they've been getting ready. Joining me is one of the leaders of the effort to secure reproductive rights in California , State Senate President Tony Atkins of San Diego. And welcome to the program.
S2: Thank you , Maureen. It's always good to see you.
S1: So Roe v Wade was overturned on Friday.
S2: We had a short period of time , June 30th this week to make sure that it passed both houses. So it went fairly quickly through the Senate , three committees in the Senate , two committees in the Assembly before it hit the Assembly floor. And you're right , it passed on Monday , 58 votes in support. We needed a supermajority in both houses. Now it will go on the November ballot. And we need a simple majority of California voters to reaffirm their support for abortion rights in California.
S1: There are already laws in California that protect reproductive rights , including abortion.
S2: And this constitutional amendment will say abortion. Our Constitution right now says the right to privacy. But if you looked at the opinion that was issued by the Supreme Court , they basically said the right to privacy does not include abortion. And I know there are those that say this is maybe just symbolic. I don't feel that way. A court made a decision that for 50 years , a right to privacy that included abortion is now gone. We need to make sure that is not the case in California. While our values reflect the support of privacy to include abortion. We need our Constitution to say that so that no court , no elected official can take that right away going forward.
S2: I mean , that has always been the case from the day that Roe versus Wade was passed. There have been efforts underway to undo it at the federal level , state by state. And what you're seeing now is , is the success of that effort on a state by state basis. But in California , we very much believe and value the right to abortion and contraception to accept it or refuse it. And so we just want to make sure that it's enshrined and we reaffirm peace of mind for those who live in California , that they will not lose this right either now or going forward for future generations.
S2: Maureen , this is personal. You know , I worked in a clinic that provided services for women and their families , including abortion and contraception. For me , this is about making sure that we absolutely protect this. Right. And so I hope it spurs turnout because I hope people understand what's at stake for those of us my age and older. We know what the impacts of reversing Roe versus Wade will be on real people's lives. And so , you know , now our daughters , our granddaughters are going to today grow up in a world where they don't have the protections that we had. And so I hope people turn out to reaffirm and say , this is important , this matters. You cannot take away our rights. So I hope it does drive turnout. But that's not the reason I supported and move this constitutional amendment forward.
S1: Since the Supreme Court decision last Friday. Six states have banned abortion. Other states are lined up to do the same.
S2: And Maureen , I think Friday , the gut punch to me was that in California , we will be okay. We're going to make sure that we enshrine the right in our Constitution. We're going to make sure that we have access to services and more providers and more support. But for those women that woke up in one of those states , I cannot tell you how that makes me feel. I grew up in one of those states. And so I want to be here to welcome women and families and those who come from other states. And in fact , we already know that they are coming. Ask the providers. We've already seen an increase.
S2: I think you saw the governor's executive order on that issue just on Monday. And secondarily , he also on Friday signed a 1666 by Assemblymember Rebecca Balakian that speaks to that issue of liability. So whatever it takes , the future of abortion counsel that was formed last year in the wake of the piece of legislation in Texas really was all about trying to figure out where our gaps were , what we needed to do to protect women and to be there for those who may come here. So that resulted in 13 pieces of legislation , more than $200 million in the California state budget that we will act on tonight to make sure that we are shoring up all of the resources and accessibility and we focus on workforce , all of those things.
S2: Obviously , the Supreme Court said this is a states rights issue and so California takes that seriously and we're going to be prepared to support Californians and anyone that makes their way here that needs the service.
S1: Now , some anti-abortion politicians are talking about the potential for a federal ban on abortion and in that case , California laws , even a state constitutional amendment won't preserve abortion rights.
S2: And that may be a question going forward in terms of what we have to do legally or the work that needs to be done nationally. So a lot of this is in the hands of Congress , and that may be the reason that people need to turn out to vote in 2022. This will be the voice that people in those states where their rights have been banned , where they don't have access to abortion. This will be their moment to speak. So maybe that is the call to action as it relates to potential fear about a ban federally. That is something available to people in other states to make their voices heard.
S1: I've been speaking with state Senate President Tony Atkins. Thank you so much for joining us.
S2: Maureen , thank you.
S4: The bodies of dozens of migrants were found Monday in the back of a tractor trailer in San Antonio. At least 53 migrants died in what is now the deadliest human smuggling case in modern U.S. history. KPBS investigative border reporter Gustavo Celis joins me now with more. Gustavo , welcome. Hello.
S3: Hello. Thanks for having me.
S4: So details about how people ended up abandoned in 100 degree heat in the back of a semi truck are still unknown.
S3: And unfortunately , migrants dying inside of trailers is not all that uncommon. Back in 2017 , police found 39 dead migrants in a trailer near San Antonio. In 23 , 19 migrants suffocated to death near a trailer outside Victoria , which is a small town between San Antonio and Houston. Here in San Diego , migrants illegal crossings tend to happen when people try to swim or take a boat through the ocean or when they hike up the mountains in the eastern end of the county. So this seems to be kind of exclusive to Texas.
S4: And I'm just imagining how frightening it must be to climb into the back of a crowded semi truck as a way to cross the border. You would really have to be desperate to make that decision. Talk about what leads migrants to make that choice.
S3: Yeah , well , I think you just said it right. You have to be desperate , right ? It's the same thing that leads migrants to hike through the desert here in San Diego or hop on a raft , even though they don't know how to swim. Right. Their situation at home must be so horrible that they feel there's no other option but to come to the U.S.. And they know it's dangerous. They know people die. But it's calculating risk. Right ? Do I stay home or do I go ? And their situation back home is so bad that doing this dangerous journey is actually the lesser of two evils. Right. And currently the traditional path to asylum is blocked because of policies like Title 42 and remain in Mexico. So migrants who would normally have a legal pathway to get in here or at least try to get in here , are now being forced to either stay home or cross illegally. So in a way , these policies are incentivizing more illegal immigration , which is what all the advocates I spoke to said that these deaths are preventable. They're the direct , direct result of U.S. border enforcement policies that simultaneously block legal access while also making it increasingly difficult to cross illegally.
S3: Right , that the migrants are dying. Illegal immigration is still happening. Taxpayers are spending billions of a border enforcement policy that just isn't working. But from the smugglers perspective , I mean , they can charge more money because their services are more in demand. And the harder it is for them to cross , the more they can charge. So. So if anyone is doing well , it's it's the smugglers right now.
S4: You know , while this is the deadliest human smuggling case in recent memory , hundreds of migrants die each year crossing the border , as you mentioned.
S3: Right. Data from Customs and Border Protection shows that fiscal year 2021 was the deadliest year for migrants on record. There were 557 migrant deaths along the border. So while this case in the trailer in Texas is the biggest in modern history , it actually accounts for a very small percentage of overall deaths , which is something advocates I spoke with brought up. They're hoping maybe this can be a catalyst case for bringing more attention and getting people in Washington to really do something about this.
S4: And you spoke with some local activist who said in response to the 53 migrants who died that their deaths were preventable.
S3: We can listen to their perspective. We have a clip from Pedro Rios , who's a local activist here in San Diego , just talking about why these deaths are preventable when the US does not allow people to have their asylum rights recognized. It forces them to make drastic and dangerous decisions like getting into a tractor trailer or.
S2: Crossing to the mountains or.
S3: Crossing through the oceans where the likelihood of injury or death increases.
S3: Right. Because there are two things happening here. Number one , legal access into the country is limited. And number two , we make it increasingly difficult and dangerous to cross the border illegally. So with the first one , there needs to be advocates are saying an expansion not just in asylum but in work visas to write. If there are more legal pathways to enter the country , migrants are going to take those legal pathways and not have to cross illegally. The other one is it's a little bit harder to tackle , I think , which is stop relying on this policy or strategy of deterrence as a way to stop illegal immigration. The theory of deterrence is essentially that if we make it so difficult and deadly to cross the border , no one will want to do it. However , we've been doing that for 30 years and it hasn't really stopped illegal immigration. Deterrence strategy doesn't consider the level of human desperation. It doesn't consider that some of these people are fleeing for their lives. So , like I said before , to these migrants. The dangerous crossing might seem like a safer alternative than staying home. And if we just keep on doubling down and doubling down on this deterrence strategy , which which started by Bill Clinton and it was expanded by Obama and Biden is keeping it up. So it's not just a Republican-Democrat issue. Advocates are saying both parties are kind of responsible for these policies and there needs to be some change. If not , we should expect borders to continue.
S4: I've been speaking with KPBS investigative reporter reporter Gustavo Solis. Gustavo , thank you very much.
S3: Yeah , I appreciate being here. Thank you.
S4: You're listening to KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen CAVANAUGH. The last of California's statewide eviction protections expire on Friday. Lawmakers extended the deadline back in March to give the state more time to pay out emergency rental assistance. But as KQED Aaron Baldassare reports , thousands of people who applied are still waiting and could soon face eviction.
S1: You read , applicants had to stay home during the pandemic to take care of her two young daughters. And when her son lost his job , they can no longer afford the rent on their Los Angeles apartment. She applied to the state's emergency rental aid program about three months ago.
S2: And I have not received an email , a car , anything from them ? Nothing.
S1: California has distributed almost $4 billion in rental aid to nearly 330,000 households. But there are about 86,000 people like Alicante who are still waiting on assistance , according to the National Research Institute Policy Link , which has been closely tracking California's program. Sarah Tru Half is a researcher there , so.
S2: That means that people will still be waiting in line and they will be.
S5: Exposed to. Eviction.
S2: Eviction. They're likely to be evicted or have eviction proceedings against them.
S1: Joshua Howard of the California Apartment Association says his group is advising members to hold off on evicting tenants who are still awaiting aid.
S3: It's better to wait and get money than to go through with the time , cost and stress of an eviction , especially knowing that those funds from the government are just around the corner.
S1: But some tenants have already been evicted. Delilah Medina of South Los Angeles , has two young children. She lost her hotel job during the pandemic and started working at Wal-Mart , even though it was a big pay cut. She applied for rent relief and got some money , but had to reapply in January for more. Then she and her kids were evicted.
S2: We are not shiftless people. We are like the millions of Americans who don't make a wage that supports the rising cost of rent and living.
S1: Medina says now she and her children live in her car. They occasionally use a friend's house to shower and rest during the day.
S4: That was Aaron Baldassare for the California Report. A city of San Diego eviction moratorium will go into effect on Friday when the statewide ban expires. We'll have details on the city's eviction moratorium tomorrow on Midday Edition. The long , strange saga of one , two , one Ash Street took yet another unexpected turn earlier this week. Just an hour before city council members were set to vote on a proposed settlement over the former Sempra Energy headquarters and the nearby Civic Center Plaza. Mayor Todd Gloria withdrew the proposal altogether. According to the mayor , the unusual move was intended to give both the public and the city council more time to digest his settlement plan. Although questions remain as to whether or not the proposal has the needed votes to go forward in the first place. Joining me now with more is San Diego Union-Tribune investigative reporter Jeff McDonald. Jeff , welcome back to the show.
S2: Hello , Jane.
S2: Last week , the mayor put forward a settlement plan that would buy out the leases for both the one 2:01 a.m. Street building and the nearby Civic Center Plaza. Two buildings that are the subject of lawsuits filed by the city attorney in 2020 and 2021 over some alleged illegal payments paid to a volunteer real estate broker or a real estate broker who was supposedly acting as a volunteer. What the mayor put forward alongside Council President Shawnee La Ribera and Council member Chris Kate a week ago Monday was a $132 million buyout of both those leases. That's what was brought forward to the city council on Monday. And as you noted , minutes before the start of the hearing , the item was withdrawn by the mayor , supposedly to give the public and the council members more time to review the details of the settlement , which is pretty complicated , but does pay off the landlords on 100 cents on the dollar.
S4: The City Council has been debating this matter in closed session for months.
S2: His answer , of course , is that the community and the elected officials deserve more time to study the details of the of the agreement. Now , the scuttlebutt and people at city hall suspect that it's more likely he lost some support after details of the agreement were reported widely , both by the San Diego Union-Tribune and other local media. Yes.
S4: And city attorney Mara Elliott has publicly opposed this settlement.
S6: A really interesting.
S2: Development because up until last week , both the city attorney and the mayor had been on the same page for this for on this issue , for , you know , since 2020. Her thinking and she issued a 11 page memo or legal opinion outlining all the various reasons why it was not a good deal for the city and why council members should reject the agreement. First off , the cases are close to going to trial. They go to trial in January. And , you know , she feels confident she'll prevail. So she doesn't want to settle and reward these defendants , quote , ill gotten gains. Also , she noted the the cost to the taxpayers was disproportionate to the value of the buildings. The city would agree to indemnify the defendants in future litigation. Also , the agreement didn't really end the lawsuit so much as just right out the two main defendants leaving this real estate broker and others to fight the case going forward and assuming all those legal costs to the city taxpayers. So there were a number of reasons the city attorney's office put forward to the council related to rejecting the idea brought forward by Mayor Gloria.
S4: All right.
S2: The mayor's office stressed that this agreement would provide certainty to the city. And , yeah , it was a bad deal , but there are no good outcomes. And the the the upside of this accepting this agreement was that it would give the city certainty in its legal strategy , but also give the city control of its own real estate planning needs going forward. Both of those are completely legitimate proposals , except they do kind of gloss over the cost for that certainty. And as I said , it's almost $300 million or more than $300 million in additional costs for buildings that didn't appraise for anywhere near that. So the question is , why is the city paying so much money for buildings that that are decades old in need of $175 million in repairs , and they might prevail in court that the contracts were fraudulent as alleged by the city attorney.
S2: I think that any time people register their concerns with City Hall , I mean , we all like to think that our elected representatives are representing our points of view and that. When a number of people come forward with opposition or support for a plan that the elected officials would be responsive. Equally important , of course , is the city attorney's recommendation to oppose the deal. That's pretty unprecedented , as we noted in the newspaper last weekend. It's the first time the mayor and the city attorney have diverged on this issue. They've been on the same page for a long , long time.
S4: And so when this proposal does return to the city council for a vote , members will essentially be making a choice between the mayor and the city attorney.
S2: It's been a lot of strange turns in this case since since we first learned about the $18,000 a day the city was paying the rent , a vacant building , which I think I reported more than four years ago. I'm not sure the deal's coming back. The mayor seems pretty confident. He said it would be back in approximately 30 days. Maybe it will. Maybe it'll come back in the same form it is now. But I'm not sure how an extra 30 days of analysis makes this deal look any any better for the new council members that , you know , they're all going to be up for. A majority of them are going to be up for re-election and people are paying attention to this. So we'll see what comes back and whether it comes back in the current form or if it's amended in any further way. I can tell you the defendants were not very happy to see the delay. They were looking forward to getting paid off and having this in their rearview mirror , as I think the mayor's office is as well. I mean , everybody's tired of dealing with that street. But again , the what will be interesting to be to see is how it shakes out in court or whether the city council , you know , buys out the leases and settles this thing. I should say there's also a third case that's not not been discussed here , and that's the taxpayer case that the former city attorney brought in 2022 , and that's also scheduled for trial.
S3: As early.
S2: As January. So there's a lot going on with this , and I think we all look forward to a resolution.
S4: I've been speaking with San Diego Union-Tribune investigative reporter Jeff MacDonald. Jeff , thanks for taking the time with us today.
S2: You bet. Have a great day.
S1: The San Diego Union High School District made its decision on Sunday. Board members voted unanimously to fire school superintendent Sheryl James Ward. Ward was hired last November and she was placed on administrative leave just five months later. Superintendent Ward made comments that offended some parents at a diversity , equity and inclusion training session , despite her repeated apologies. Ward is now out as superintendent , but she may not go down without a fight. Joining me is KPBS education reporter MJ Perez. And MJ , welcome.
S6: Maureen , good to be with you.
S6: It was actually a training for the district back in April when the discussion turned to reasons that Asian students received better grades than other students. Dr. Ward made a comment where she characterized and credited the success of Chinese students to their wealthy parents and extended Asian families who were able to support them. The implication is that other students did not have that privilege , and so that was the really the spark that started it all back in April.
S1: Now , the superintendent apologized on several occasions for those comments and the pain they caused. Why didn't those apologies and the matter.
S6: For members of the Asian community in particular , they feel and they say that she hit wounds that go very deep , that her words were careless and they were racist. Those are characterizations that they've made and therefore she should be fired is what they have wanted all along because of the seriousness of the statement. She will tell you that she felt the statements were taken out of context in that they were in a training session where discussion was going on. But even with that , she has apologized , as you mentioned , several times. But there are those who said no.
S6: She has a lot of supporters , including students and other members of the community , because they feel that in her short time as superintendent , she managed to get a lot of momentum in addressing racial disparities and in trying to unite various communities within the district. So given what she had accomplished in her short time , they were really excited and looking forward to what she could do for the district in the future. But now that's been cut short , obviously.
S1: Now , M.G. , I know that you've been in touch with Cheryl James Ward this week and spoke to her in an exclusive interview in late April about the controversy. She told you she believed her conflict with board members was behind the move to place her on leave.
S6: She is actually out of the country right now , traveling with her family. And so she was very shocked when she got the news. She had just landed in London when she received the news that she had the news that she had been terminated. And so she was shocked and surprised that it happened so quickly. The disagreement comes with a few of the board members. She believes this is Ward now. Her impression is that they hired her to do their bidding , so to speak , be their yes woman , if you will. And some of that included firing employees that these board members wanted fired , and she did not. So Ward is claiming retaliation , particularly from board member Arman and harassment. And she had issued a complaint against him. And that is kind of at the crux of all of this.
S1: So , Cheryl , James Ward was shocked at being fired.
S6: I asked her point blank , will you resign ? And she said , Absolutely not. And then I said , What if they fire you ? And she said , That is what they will have to do. And so now they have and through her attorney and actually through conversation with her , they do plan to file a wrongful termination lawsuit against the district. I checked with the attorney this morning. That has not happened yet , but it is in the works.
S1: Now , just taking a step back from this , the San Diego school district has been in turmoil for a while now. The San Diego County Board of Education had to step in and clean up the district's redistricting map last spring. The board members don't get along. And here's what one resident told the school board during this Sunday's meeting. Nothing you do.
S2: Today will end the chaos.
S5: The board is a dysfunctional family right now.
S6: And so that dysfunction started two years ago. In the last two years , the district has cycled through four superintendents. Two of the board members have been up for recall and a couple have resigned. So that's the dysfunction. There has been no consistency and the turnover is just debilitating. It's what most parents feel because remember at the middle of this , at the forefront of all this are the students. San Diego Union High School is district is considered one of the top districts in the county. And so it's the students who really are suffering in all of this dysfunction.
S6: Once they put Dr. Ward on administrative leave , she has been with the district more in a business capacity. But Tina Douglas has agreed that she will stay on through the end of this next school year , which would be June 2023 , giving the board plenty of time to try to find a new superintendent.
S1: And I just want to follow up on your point about the students.
S6: And so for for this to happen in their district , it's really a teachable moment. If the adults choose to do that. But what I can tell you is that members of the Black Student Union at Torrey Pines High School reached out to me and they are interested in being heard. So we will be talking to them later today and have their story on Evening Edition this evening.
S1: I've been speaking with KPBS education reporter MJ Perez. And MJ , thank you so much.
S6: Thank you , Maureen.
S1: As California's craft liquor scene grows , some of the state's smaller distillers say their growth is limited by laws preventing them from shipping direct to consumers. Now , a new bill headed back to a state assembly committee today could change that. Benjamin Perper has more on this story.
S3: After the start of the COVID 19 pandemic in 2020. The state allowed distillers to ship their product directly to adult consumers in California. And it kept a lot of the doors open because I think without any income for 21 months , most of us probably would have had to close our doors because we would have had no access to sales whatsoever. That's Alex O'Connor , the president of the California Artisanal Distillers Guild. He's also the owner of Refined Distillery and Villa kind of winery in Paso Robles. He says the emergency provision allowing direct to consumer shipping expired last March , meaning distilleries like his are now back to pre-pandemic rules unable to ship directly and limited to selling 2.5 liters per day per customer. They could buy three bottles of bourbon , but if they wanted a pallet of wine , I can load it on the back of their truck and send them home with it. That led to Senate Bill 620 , introduced in the state legislature last year by Senators Ben Allen and Bill Dodd. The bill , as initially introduced , would have let distilleries of all sizes ship direct to consumer in California with certain limitations. But the bill was amended in the Assembly last month to limit that privilege to smaller craft distilleries who produce less than 150,000 gallons per fiscal year. I think that's fair to say that there shouldn't be a law that discriminates against a producer who has had some level of success. That's Adam Smith with the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. or DISCUS. The group lobbies for distilleries of all sizes , as well as provides economic analysis of the liquor industry for companies. He says DISCUS initially supported the bill but changed their stance after the amendment. We're just trying to educate assembly members at this point on what a good bill would look like. Senator Ben Allen represents the 26th State Senate District within Los Angeles County. He says the bill has gone through several iterations and changed significantly so he understands larger distillers concerns. I respect the position of discus and they know that we were with them from the very beginning. But this is where the bill got to , you know , in order for us to get to a place where we could get the bill out of the Senate. Allen says he had hoped for a compromise between the various interests representing smaller and larger distillers. But he says the bill in its current state is still a step in the right direction. I was hoping that we could find a , you know , some sort of compromise where there'd be a limited amount that the big guys could could use the bill to ship through. But but ultimately , that didn't fly. And so we're at a place now where we're only focused on the small guys. Allen says even though SB 620 is now focused on the craft distilleries like those in Paso Robles , there could be expanded direct to consumer privileges in the future. The question , of course , is does it go far enough ? And , you know , that's a battle that's going to have to be fought in the future. Alex O'Connell , with Refined in Paso , says the bill in its current form isn't perfect and could even limit his own distillery business someday. You know , if I grow big enough , I got up to that hundred and 50,000 gallon level and I was still , you know , growing and and I wanted to ship out. I would love that cap to be higher. But Videocon also says expanding direct to consumer shipping would help keep craft distilleries around the state afloat. Now that the emergency provision allowing that is over , unfortunately , if this bill gets killed and we have to start from scratch next year , a lot of the California distillers and even distillers across the U.S. will have lost you know , it'll be nine months this year and then probably another 12 months next year if we're lucky enough to get a bill through next year.
S1: That was Benjamin Pepper for the California report. This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH with Jade Heineman. Wild Song Productions staged three shows before the pandemic shut the young company down. But they return this year with a full slate of shows , including Jekyll and Hyde , which opens tomorrow night at AUB Playhouse. It's a musical based on Robert Louis Stevenson's classic Victorian tale of the strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. KPBS arts reporter Beth ACCOMANDO speaks with actor Cody Ingram , who takes on the dual roles of the well-intentioned Dr. Jekyll and his bestial alter ego.
S5: So , Cody , you are playing Jekyll and Hyde.
S3: It's very challenging as an actor. You spend a lot of time coming up with the character and making them real and what they want , what they desire. But then you have to do it for two different people , and you have to find a way to switch between them and not make it look ridiculous. So it's been a wonderful challenge to explore that.
S5: When movies do Jekyll and Hyde , they have the ability to do special effects and editing.
S3: It was that the formula triggered something that was already inherent within Jekyll. So I worked a lot with , like , the idea of this dissociative identity disorder. And that's kind of where the basis of my work began , this idea of in your brain , someone is sitting in the chair , whether that is Jekyll or it is Hyde. And Hyde starts to pull Jekyll out of the chair multiple times as he gets more comfortable and more and has more control over Jekyll. So I watched a lot of videos of people switching on camera and and what that looks like , what that feels like. And that's that's kind of where I started with my research and that's really how I am approaching this.
S5: So this is going to be more of a like psychological transformation.
S3: Yeah , my my body posture changes and the voice changes. I wanted there to be a way to show that Hyde was an extension of Jekyll. He's not necessarily a totally different person. He's Jekyll. If Jekyll were released and able to explore any inhibition times 200.
S5: And this is a musical.
S3: So Phantom Limb is so that that style is very particular to this show. We've really tried to add a lot of modern flair to it , but the style is something that I really wanted to honor and I really wanted to stick with. So singing it is actually very similar to where my voice likes to sit. It's a little more pop up. It's like a little bit of operatic round tone with some modern flair , add some pop sound in there , and that's kind of where the music generally sits. So it's just it's really fun to mess around with that and to have that kind of ability to explore in that style. We've got to rebuild. All the trees that the winds have scattered from.
UU: The blades have shattered its grip on my time and somehow I am going to leave all that. The fireworks completed. I will not be cheated.
S3: As an actor. I always ask myself , What do I get to experience today ? And it's this idea of stepping into someone's shoes who who thinks they are so altruistic and someone who is doing something that they feel is for the greater good. But then they become addicted to their own mistake , I guess. And I really wanted to show that Jekyll is not good. He's not evil , he's flawed , like like most people.
S5: And you were working with a new theatre company here in San Diego.
S3: I was brought on board for the Secret Garden when they asked me to come on board. It was such a wonderful experience working with Wild Song that when they offered me the role to Jekyll , it was. It was an easy , easy. Yes. Because it's it's a truly wonderful experience to work in an environment where everyone supports each other. It's not competitive. Everyone is here to just do the best show they can from the production team down to the to all the actors. Everyone is just here to put on a good show and just really support each other. And that's I think that's really special.
S5: And we are still in the pandemic.
S3: But the core elements of do we , you know , we choose what we become , what we choose to be is very relevant in this time. And we are also really working with the idea of , you know , the class system in Victorian London and power over the working class and things like that. Those are themes that I think are very relevant today. And also I think people like to enjoy a journey that they can kind of watch from a distance , but experience for themselves as well. So I do think that this show has a lot of relevant themes to it. I think it will resonate with a lot of people.
S5: So you are back here at the Obi Playhouse , which is a nice , intimate space.
S3: Here , we actually have a little bit of like , you know , audience participation and there's actors moving through the house and that just helps the audience come into the world and immerse themselves in this in this world of transporting to , you know , Victorian and Edwardian London at that time. And when it when it is done in such an intimate space , it actually , I think , changes the dynamic of the story. And you actually become more attached to these characters and their story and their journey , and the audience feels like they are more a part of it rather than just sitting there and watching it happen. They are actually moving with the characters and moving through the journey with the characters and feeling what they're feeling. So I think I think it is a rare gift to be able to have this space and to do that.
S3: You know , from the time that it was written to the time it was done in the 1940s , everyone knows the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Everybody kind of questions Is there an evil side and a good side to everyone ? And the thing that I love about this story is , is this tagline that I that I read , which is , Are we good because we are inherently good or are we good because we don't want to be punished by society ? And I think especially right now , there's a lot of questions about morality , what is morality and what is accepted societal behavior. And I think this has a lot of tie in to that.
S5: Well , thank you very much for talking about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
S3: Thanks for having me.
S1: That was Beth ACCOMANDO speaking with actor Cody Ingram. Wild Songs Jekyll and Hyde opens tomorrow at Obx Playhouse and runs through July 10th.