Theater Department Dazzles Audience with Short Plays


Monica Terada, Staff Writer

Creative gusto explodes from the corners of GCC’s theater arts department, taking the shape of seven 10-minute plays and proving students don’t have to stroll too far for an amusing night of witty jests and first-class performances.

With GCC’s 85th anniversary in mind, the theater arts department put together an evening of several short plays pertaining to the theme of birthdays and anniversaries.

The evening started off with a sophisticated situation comedy titled, “The Rental,” in which Sonya (Maria Canapino) receives a rented boyfriend (Guilherme Zaiden) for her birthday. He’s the perfect man (and actor), but only for a day. The author, Mark Harvey Levine, has had his plays produced all over the world, from New York to South Korea to Glendale Community College.

The play has won awards and contests such as, the Audience Choice award at the Canton One-Act Festival in Michigan and the annual short play contest from the Village Writers Group in Atlanta. At GCC it won the audience, with a full house of laughter and praises.

Clara Rodriguez delivered a hilarious interpretation of Shelly, the beer-drinking mermaid with bushy hair and strong opinions regarding pollution. “The land cannot live within the sea,” she cries. In other words, don’t trash the alcoholic mermaid’s home. Her home being a highly imaginative scenario made up of a kiddie plastic swimming pool and empty beer cans, clearly placed around her with the touch of an artist. Her makeup really brought out the color in her hysterical facial expressions.

But Rodriguez wasn’t the only one bringing in the laughs. The Barbershop Quartet and an Angelina Jolie who stalks random Joe’s, listed high among the contributors as well. Not to mention the random Joe himself, Colin, played by Charlie Carr.

The script for “Angelina Jolie Is Stalking Me,” by Stephanie Alison Walker was very original. It’s premise being that Jolie decides to turn the tables and stalk her obsessed admirer. But for the audience’s eyes, one brings out the best in the other.

Toward the middle of the production, the plays drop the comedy act and take a turn for the dramatic.

Harbin, brought to life by Zaiden, blows his boyfriend’s sense of humor right out the doors of the auditorium in an intense emotional scene sure to vibrate even the most frigid of hearts. Harbin and Jerome (Carr) argue over the name of their newborn son, discovering not only the perfect name, but so much more. The actors form quite a duo, delivering ardent performances worthy of the playwright’s (Nick Sawin) fervent script, “Unnamed Lands.”

Keeping to the birthday theme and still turning toward the dramatic is Jeanette D. Farr’s “Happy Birthday L.A.,” directed by Royce Herron. Farr is not only the writer of the play, but the production supervisor, director of “Unnamed Lands” and a professor of theater arts at GCC.

Her play takes place in a parked car outside of Clint Eastwood’s house. Eastwood, however, has no idea of the discussion unraveling among mother, son and an organic Twinkie, let alone of his possibly new child. Farr’s story is vividly brought to life by actors, almost convincing that Eastwood himself is even really there.

The evening journey comes to an end with the sways of a hipster (Rainier Mendoza) moving to the beats of house music in “Desperate for Unfettered.” He experiences a metaphorical rebirth, and the audience, a wild trip.

The GCC production, “Present Life: An Evening of 10-minute Plays,” proved to be quite a delightful event; a drunk mermaid, Angelina Jolie stalking stalkers, and the perfect man all in one evening. To be honest, it was worth it for the organic Twinkie alone.