‘Durang/Durang’ brings lots of laughs

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Cerritos College Theatre Department

Kelsey England (Amanda) speaks with Matthew Cruz (Lawrence) in 'For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls.'

Viviana Gallo was a force to be reckon with in Cerritos College’s newest theater production “Durang/Durang, ” which debuted Friday.

Gallo who popped up every now and then throughout the night delivered some well deserved laughs all night long.

“Durang/Durang” consists of four short comedic plays written by Christopher Durang.

Durang pokes fun at some of the classic and not-so classic plays of the American and world theater.

Those of which include “Medea, ” “For Whom the Southern Bell Tolls,” “A Stye of the Eye” and “Desire, Desire, Desire.”

Each short comedic play brought a different twist along with laughs to audience members, some more than others but worked overall.

Medea

“Medea,” based on Euripide’s classic Greek tragedy brings in some classic comedic twist right from the start.

“Medea” chorus members Bummi Famuyiwa and Jolene Gazmen, stepped out on stage with some odd choice of words and hand gestures, but started the night with the first laughs from the audience.

Brianna Stephens, who played Medea seemed to be over the top, but worked to her advantaged as audience members seemed to love her.

A highlight from “Medea” has to be when Matthew Cruz’s character, Angel Ex Machina, steps out in an angel costume pushing a stair case that is painted to be clouds in which he walks up and delivers a message from Zeus.

Angel Ex Machina even points out that in other productions he might have came down from the ceiling instead of pushing the stair case out on stage and naturally getting some laughs.

Best part of “Medea?” The unexpected dance number by the cast at the end of the short comedy. It’s overall the best and most unexpected part audience members see in “Medea.”

For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls

“For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls” is an adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ memory play “The Glass Menagerie,” where the fragile and glass-animal obsessed heroine Laura is now played by a man and her name has been changed to Lawrence.

Kelsey England did a remarkable job in portraying Amanda, mother of Lawrence who tries and tries to have him wed all so she can be alone.

We saw Jolene Gazmen once more as Ginny, a hard to hear mine worker who has been blindly set up for a date with Lawrence by Amanda and Tom, Lawrence’s older brother played by Eric Boone.

Matthew Cruz did an excellent job in playing Lawrence with an obsession of glass cocktail mixers and having so-called disabilities, being a limping leg, having eczema and asthma.

Cruz delivered each exaggeratedly, but was delivered so well that it worked as it was intended to be over the top.

A Stye of the Eye

In “A Stye of the Eye” we are introduced to plays from Sam Shepard, where soap opera, family disfunction and the American West are ridiculed.

Matthew Merys, who plays both Jake and Frank did a great job in the beginning of the play until half way, where most audience members seemed to get confused.

Merys would switch off playing both Jake and Frank on stage as if he was bipolar ending with an odd death of one yet one was still living, pretty much confusing the audience.

Carlos Holguin was the star of “A Stye of the Eye.” Holguin who played Agnes and Beth was very amusing to watch.

We get to see Holguin in a nun outfit then to a mini red dress. The most entertaining part of watching Holguin has to be his very unexpected confession as he play Agnes and his hilarious exit from the comedy at the end.

Desire, Desire, Desire

“Desire, Desire, Desire” takes the characters Blanche, Stanley and Stella from “A Streetcar Named Desire” and throws it in with six other different plays that got extremely confusing at the end.

Although “Desire, Desire, Desire” started with some laughs ultimately it left many audience members with more questions than anything else.

Viviana Gallo who played Blanche delivered most of the laughs from Desire, Desire, Desire.

Stanley, played by Matthew Merys was once again confusing due to his character. He would yell “Stella” in the most odd times which seemed to just confuse audience members even more.

Even with the plot being all over the place “Desire, Desire, Desire” was the most entertaining to watch out of all four comedies.

It made audience members laugh countless times from the very start to the very end.

“Durang/Durang” overall brought many laughs throughout the night and contains a spectacular cast. Each actor did a great job, even if the character was oddly written.

If you want to have a great time and laugh all night, then this is a must-see. But you should beware for some confusion in the last comedy as it will leave many questions pertaining to the plot.