A useful trick to not go crazy when dealing with all that college brings is to take a step back from all the madness of being a college student and immerse yourself in how it felt to be a kid. That is what the play “A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings” allowed me to do for an hour on Sunday afternoon.
“A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings” is a short story written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and was adapted into a script by Nilo Cruz. The play is performing here on campus at the CSUN Little Theatre. Anamarie Dwyer, who is a full-time professor in the Theater department, directed the play. The cast was enrolled in TH376, which is Theater for Young Audiences.
The play takes place in a small Colombian town close to the Caribbean Sea. It begins with two young children, Momo (Max Rosenblum) and Fefe (Jennifer Lui). Momo and Fefe find an old man with wings. They are led to believe that the man is an old angel and name him Afar (Jesse Bethune) because he can not remember his own name. Momo and Fefe are the only ones that can understand Afar because he does not speak. He only communicates to the two children with his eyes. When Momo and Fefe bring him back to their home, their father, Pelayo (Matt McKenna) sees Afar as a sideshow for the townspeople. Afar brings him money until something better comes along.
The characters as a whole are very believable for that time period and for what was occurring on stage. There is a definite theme of magical realism when magical elements appear in an otherwise realistic setting, like the angel and the spiderwoman.
Bethune portrayed Afar wonderfully. Throughout the whole play, Afar did not speak but instead used his eyes to convey his emotions and what he wanted to say to the two young children.
“It was extremely difficult for me to rely only on body movement and facial expressions,” said Jesse Bethune, an undergraduate theater major. “It takes a lot of focus and concentration.”
Max Rosenblum and Jennifer Lui, who portrayed the children, gave a very realistic and believable performance that they were children in a small town.
“It was challenging, but it was fun to look back on your childhood,” said Jennifer Lui, a 22-year-old an undergraduate theater major. “I looked at my little cousins and watched how they moved. In terms of innocence, I remembered my experiences from Disneyland.”
There were a lot of colors throughout the play. For example, La Luna (Raychel Espiritu) was dressed in a blue-layered gown with skillfully done blue eye makeup to help portray that she is representing the moon.
The Spiderwoman’s (Danina Moguel) costume was a tight-fitting bodice on both Spiderwoman and Spiderwoman 2 (Raychel Espiritu). Spiderwoman 2’s face was covered to show the unity of the two people portraying one character.
What comes to mind when envisioning Spiderwoman would be the color black. Instead, they took a more creative and imaginative approach in Spiderwoman’s costume and makeup and donned her with varieties of colors ranging from blue and green to purple and pink.
The story was originally written for young audiences and the duration is an hour long with no intermission. It’s a sweet story that makes everybody feel like a kid again.
The cast of this play has just finished their first weekend but will be open for three more weekends. The dates are April 20-22, and April 27-29. There are 11 more chances to watch this play.