Purple colored squares decorate the center of the floor in the dimly lit Studio Theatre setting the tone for an adventure quite similar to Alice’s in Wonderland.
The carnivalesque music is merry and cheerful, much like a child’s ride at Disneyland. Several seats are literally on the stage of ‘Bill’s New Frock,’ which opened Thursday Feb. 5 at CSUN’s Studio Theater Lab.
Eventually a pre-show begins with five actors appearing on stage who begin to play with imaginary balls, gum, arrows, balloons and other magnificent creations.’ The actors are quite successful in their portrayal of a youth spent in utter bliss and resplendent experiences.
Soon the children stop playing and retreat backstage for a few moments as the narrator begins to guide the story.
Bobby Avila, who plays Bill Simpson, embodies the innocence and freedom so often associated with childhood excellently.
Bill, like any other elementary school aged child resents and loathes the alarm that signals the beginning of another long day.’ After a slight delay, he snaps out of bed, briefly massages his cat and proceeds to hop in the shower singing the opening lines of James Brown’s hit, ‘I Feel Good.’
All is going splendidly until he appears before the mirror and his mother, whose English accent is on point, throws a pink dress on him.’ He tries resisting and even removing the garment, but all in vain.
He feels like Bill, but to the rest of us he’s just another little girl.’ He endures a number of hardships simply getting to school.’ The ridicule lasts the duration of his day.
Bill learns the differences in treatment that people feel based simply on appearance.’ Going beyond commonplace stereotypes seems to be the main point.
Although the play is intended for children, its messages are applicable to adults.
‘It’s geared towards kids and what’s expected of young boys and girls,’ said Cortez.’ ‘There are differences you shouldn’t be limited to in any shape or form.’ It’s still Bill yet he’s frustrated about how everyone reacts around him,’ said Rene Cortez, 21, who is studying Biology and Theatre.