Poster for 'I Can Hear You, Damn It!’ playing at Center Stage Theater July 22-23 | Credit: Courtesy

Santa Barbara–based playwright Claudia McGarry has been writing a play a year since 2016. Her early plays were based in autobiography, but the messy political situation and pandemic paranoia of 2020 sent her writing in a new direction — toward the inherent humor of the human experience. “I wanted to write things that everyone can relate to,” she says, “and things that will make people laugh out loud.”

Her newest work, which premieres at Center Stage Theater the weekend of July 22-23, is called I Can Hear You, Dammit! The focus of the play is Audrey, a woman in a coma after a collapse. Due to a hospital mix-up, Audrey’s family and friends are led to believe that she may never recover from her vegetative state. As they come to say goodbye, one by one, secrets are revealed, and confessions and apologies are made — little does everyone know that Audrey can hear every word! 

“The idea came to me because a really good friend of mine went into a coma,” says McGarry. “She was in a coma for a few weeks…. The whole experience stuck with me.” 

McGarry calls I Can Hear You, Dammit! a dramedy, filled with love, loss, and laughter.

Directed and performed by community members, McGarry’s productions are truly homegrown — and they extend the invitation to be creative to new blood, rather than relying on the usual suspects of the Santa Barbara theater scene. “I love the energy of the performers,” McGarry says. “They try so hard and they’re not jaded … if a potential performer says they’ve never acted before, they’re at the top of my list.”

 I Can Hear You, Dammit! runs at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 22, and again at 2 p.m. on Sunday July 23. For more information or to purchase tickets, see

Cast of I Can Hear You, Damn It!, playing at Center Stage Theater July 22-23 | Credit: Courtesy


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