10-Minute Acts Bring Timeless Effort

michael-j.-arvizu
el-vaquero-staff-writer/" class="creditline">MICHAEL J. ARVIZU
El Vaquero Staff Writer

This year’s production of 10-minute plays, “Random of Acts of Theater,” presented by the theater arts department, exhibited an array of original pieces that touched the heart, questioned human kind’s morality and presented difficult choices.

GCC theater arts professor and department chairman Ken Gray’s “Buddy System,” directed by Gagig Kevorgian, featured Jim and roommate Jason. Jason has a religious complex.

But the irony here is the concept of the commandment “Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s wife,” is lost when the audience discovers that Jason has slept with his coach’s wife.

Jonell Shamhart, as Jim, and Misho Avramov, as Jason, have good chemistry on stage, though their fight scene could have been choreographed better.
Jose A. Benteria Jr.’s piece, “Choices,” directed by Yelena Lychakova, revolves around a pair of Ku Klux Klan members who attempt to convince George to make a video interview describing his heritage for a substantial amount of money.

The catch is, he’s got to do it in the way of the KKK, by using racial slurs to describe people. Suddenly, George is faced with making a difficult choice: accepting the money and making the video or rejecting the offer.

George, played by Jose Fernandez, starts off slowly but warms up for his first time on stage for the night as he takes his character further by using his accent as an anchor for his performance. The ending makes this one of the stronger pieces.

Tye (Elizabeth Saryan) and Alexandra (Helen Huss) are two sisters in Brent Falco’s “Almost Over,” directed by Sean Madden.

Tye finds herself overwhelmed by having to witness her alcoholic grandmother’s deterioration. To make things worse, she believes her sister doesn’t care about the situation.

But later, the audience learns why Alexandra is having a difficult time talking with her sister. She also needs a friend in Tye as much as Tye needs a friend in her. Alexandra comes to realize this and decides to tell her the story.

This was a moving piece on the part of Saryan and Huss. The characters connect well on stage, and it seems the audience is transformed into friends of theirs in listening to their story. In addition, the scene change music for this piece reflected the plot of the story well, unlike the other pieces.

In Dynda’s “Root Problems,” directed by Jessyca Bluwal, talking vegetables and a gardener who cannot make up her mind about being a vegetarian take center stage. The gardener, played by Kim Smyser, is determined to become a vegetarian, all the while trying to ignore the craving she has for a juicy hamburger.

As she waters her garden, she soon realizes that not all is what it seems when her vegetables come alive. Carrot, played by Ian Felchin, is not at all happy about almost becoming part of a salad, and with the help of Kohlrabi (Avramov) tries to convince the gardener to go back to her meat eating ways.

James E. Garcia’s “The Crossing,” directed by Suzanna Mirzoian, is another strong piece. Brian Keith Price plays Agent Garza. Garza is a border patrol agent who discovers Esperanza Fuentes (Elisa Hoyas), a schoolteacher from Guanajuato, trying to cross the border. As Garza places Fuentes under arrest, she discovers a long-hidden secret about Garza that presents him with a difficult choice. What made this piece strong was the interaction of the two characters and Garza’s struggle with accepting the truth about himself.

“The Crossing” will be presented at the national Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in Washington, D.C., this year.

Shows are held in the auditorium Studio Theater. Tickets are $7 for general admission and $5 for students and seniors.

Reservations are recommended. For reservations, call (818) 240-1000, ext. 5618. For show times, see our Calendar section on Page 16.