The Performance Ensemble from CSUN’s Department of Communication Studies gathered at the X Repertory Theatre Company in Los Angeles on Saturday night in celebration of performing arts, music, fine art and cuisine.
Students, alumni and guest artists put together short plays which showcased Saturday evening. The premiere performance of “Drop” was presented as a 20 minute preview to an even larger play, “The Towne of Bathe.”
“The Performance Ensemble covers important social justice issues,” said Jeanine Minge, director of Performance Ensemble. “‘The Towne of Bathe’ is about water rights, those who have and those who have not.”
The chair space in the separate theatre where “Drop” was performed filled up quickly. Audience members shuffled in more chairs as others looked for a place to stand leaning on the walls while actors on stage waited patiently in their still life poses.
Apart from “Drop” other performances brought about social and political issues of homosexual harassment and discrimination, sex trafficking and dealing with the illness of a family member.
The play, “Sexonomics,” inspired by the controversial sex-tourism website posted by Kenneth Ng, CSUN professor, was intense with its repeated sequences and shouts attempting to re-create the griminess and helplessness in the sex-trafficking industry.
“Whoa, yeah,” said Minge as she walked on stage shortly after “Sexonomics” was performed, “The longevity of that piece doesn’t speak to any element of what they actually go through.”
Another play that sparked thoughts of social importance was “Don’t Ask, Wed, Love, Don’t Tell” which was about the current “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy and its effects on gay relationships in the military.
Prior to the performance of “Drop,” Michael Deragon’s poetry class displayed their talents through rapping, acting and slam poetry. Before each student went on stage, Deragon introduced them and he briefly spoke about their individual evolution as performers.
“Every time he (Zack Algozzino) performs he gets stronger and stronger, he just came to hang out and I said ‘you’re on,’” said Deragon before Algozzino jumped on stage and performed a piece that was not in the program.
Freshman Lachelle Drake, 18, said she decided to attend the event based on an incentive for extra credit for one of her theatre classes but being present for the performances made her consider taking on theatre as a minor.
“I liked the last one,” said the psychology major in reference to “Don’t Ask, Wed, Love, Don’t Tell.” “I felt a connection to what was going on and it was powerful for me.”
Minge said that due to the economic distress on campus, the Performance Ensemble is dependent on the generosity of others to carry on.
“With these budget cuts, in order to do bigger scale production we need to fundraise,” Minge said.
The entrance for the showcase was donation based at $5 for students and $10 for general admission. The Performance Ensemble received assistance for the events that took two months to plan, Minge said.
G2 Graphic service provided all the printed material for the event, including the program.
The wine was donated by Debbie Embree one of the graduate student’s parents and was bought from One Hope Wine, which gives a percentage of its proceeds to charity.
“I support my daughter and I go to all the performances,” Embree said. “I almost feel like a stepchild of CSUN.”
After the performances came to an end the celebration continued with music by The Cooling Time and close to the end of the night with D.J. Professor Ben.