Dim lighting and rows of stools on stage set a relaxing mood for a sold-out evening Oct. 19 of Emerging American Voices in the Citrus College Little Theatre.
This performance gave opportunity to three Citrus College screenwriters presented their works, performed by student actors for an appreciative audience.
The student writers debuted the first acts of their screenplays with the help and guidance of Professors Neil Weiss and Cherie Brown.
The “Emerging American Voices” program, now in its second year of production, follows a guerrilla theater-esque style with its spontaneous preparation and attention grabbing content.
With few rehearsals and minimal costuming, the success of each act was dependent on the actors’ ability to convincingly portray their characters.
The first performance, titled “Life Unsettled,” written by Chris McKinley, is the heartbreaking story of David, played by Kevin Figueroa, a man whose life has plateaued until he witnesses a woman attempt suicide by jumping off a bridge.
From this point on, David continues on a downward spiral. First he discovers he has cancer then later crosses paths with Janice, played by Shawn Wagner, the woman whom he witnessed attempt suicide.
Figueroa and Wagner enticed the audience with their obvious chemistry on stage and their clear passion for performing.
Following this performance was “Fortune Cookie,” written by Alex Pineda, which introduces a magical realism element to romantic comedy.
Charlie, played by Brandon Lozano, who has just lost his teaching job, and begins to believe he will find his way by following the sage advice of fortune cookies.
The little paper helpers reconnect Charlie with an old teacher as well as find a love interest – at least for a while.
This concept is brightly entertaining and humorous, but the storyline could use more realistic scenarios. Lozano does his best to lure the audience into the plot with his character, but unfortunately it’s quite easy to be distracted during this performance.
Screenwriter Deborah Daniels took a difficult approach to depicting the seven deadly in her screenplay.
“Deadly Sins” is a dark and compelling story with a multitude of characters, Shadow Man (Arturo Alvarez), Melody (Britney Baca), Bentley (Aaron Bess), Aurora (Monica Brown), Rosalia (Mercedes DeGuchy), Lyric (Spencer Nemeth) and Jackson (Ryan Perez).
Touching on controversial topics like domestic abuse, prostitution and homosexuality, Daniels keeps the audience on edge of their seats.
As the first act unfolds, each sin is presented as a lost soul trying to find its way. In the end, they discover that they are all connected.
Without a doubt, “Deadly Sins” is the most heart wrenching and breath-taking of the performances. Once the scene was complete the audience present was actually left speechless.
Overall these three performances were a success, they have the potential to be great.
The student actors showed such passion and fed the audience such strong emotion that any line they may have stumbled over simply went unnoticed.