The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Open minded people will enjoy unique ‘Personality Crisis’

Personality Crisis” is a dark comedy about celebrity identity mixed with rock and metal music, inspired by the recent literary hoaxes of “JT LeRoy” and “Nasdijj.”

The “sinful” and “dirty” writing of Trixie’s autobiographical fiction, which concentrates on the transgendered hustler BJ McCool, becomes the ticket to fame not only for the author, and the rock band, but also to an unexpected new celebrity. Be it that the protagonist of the novel is male, not female, pressure mounts as demands for BJ to appear in public exasperate. Unfortunately, Trixie has to figure out what to do next, where the public believes she is a male when she uses a false male name, BJ.

A struggling creative writing student, Kelly agrees to play the BJ character in public, but hunger for more fame and money creates further chaos than ever expected. The lies, disguise, secrets, grimy language and conspiracies keep the audience attentive.

Not many dare to create such a unique and daring play as playwright, lyricists and director Rick Mitchell did in this play. The play features a combination of emo, grunge and punk music which create the progressive metal music from the direction of Art Karamian of The Apex Theory.

A former CSUN English student who is now a lecturer in Asian American Studies, Maria Turnmeyer, produced the play,which is not typical of her work.

Professor Rick Mitchell has written over 20 plays. In addition to writing and directing, Mitchell teaches playwriting, drama and performance in the Department of English at CSUN. The world premiere production of “Personality Crisis,” is presented by the non-profit community-based arts organization, Urban Ensemble. The play is supported in part by the College of Humanities at CSUN. ?

The play features Jose Delano, Nick Denning, Megan Lee Etheridge, Michael Hampton and Kerri Reed. In the small North Hollywood Raven Theatre, Reed browses the audience and talks out to them, making them part of the play in a seducing street walker scene, intimidating those shy audience members and making others feel special.

The good acting is not surprising when some have experience in film and television. Not all the actors have a great amount of television experience but some like Etheridge have appeared in certain shows like “Charmed” and the film “Eugene.” Reed has appeared in shows like “The Young and the Restless.”

All of the actors and actresses dedicated themselves to their roles. When the lead actor, Etheridge, had to say a line like “condom in my mouth,” she never got out of character. Etheridge had to talk “dirty” about the fantasies and dealings she had “done” as a prostitute, but she still manages to be comedic at the same time. What was surprising was how the cast was musically inclined; playing instruments and singing with the music.

The play and the story behind it are unique and mysterious. In the modern world, Mitchell captures exactly what society thinks about celebrities and what people will do to get to that fame. In a way he also shows the patriarchy in society where success is much easier if you are a man and the easy way for women to get there is by being “easy.”

The well-written script respectfully gives personality to the real life JT LeRoy story; emphasizing on who LeRoy was and giving the actors plenty of direction.

While the play is strong in content and acting, the only negative was the sound in some of the songs. The rhythm was fine, but you could not exactly understand what was being sung the whole time.

“Personality Crisis” concludes with a finale that leaves audience wanting more. Even though the set is small, the actors manage to work well within the set and play variations of scenes in it. The dark lighting helps maintain the feel of the dark comedy and the costumes range with each scene from uptight teacher to grungy prostitute.

If you are not open-minded with a young spirit and are not able to freely express yourself, then this play might not be good for you. The play is highly recommended because it gives you a good time to think, laugh, enjoy music and be free in expression and mind. It is definitely worth your $10 to go watch it with your friends.

“Personality Crisis” will be playing April 3 to 27 at the “Raven Playhouse” in North Hollywood. Friday and Saturday shows are at 8 p.m. and Sunday shows at 7 p.m. You can learn more about the play at and about Urban Ensemble at (818) 437-1839.

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