‘The Fantasticks’ is not as fantastic as it seems


Cast members of “The Fantasticks” acting out a scene during one of their dress rehearsals. The production runs from April 27-28 and May 3-5.

Bianca Martinez

The Cerritos College Theatre Department’s production of “The Fantasticks” proved several things; they own a stock in confetti, saved money on costumes and can carry a tune for the most part, but they came up short in proving the most important aspect of a successful production and that was convincing the audience.

A black box theater holds a lot of potential to create a convincing set design, due to a lack of a physical stage, however, the set-up was reminiscent of the previous play, Anton Chekov’s play, “The Seagull.”

The plain and simple set-up consisting a stage, bench, prop crates and a curtain didn’t display the appropriate amount of whimsy an audience member would expect when watching a musical. There was no color, liveliness nor immense creativity.

Warning to those with epilepsy, strobe lighting is utilized throughout the entirety of the “Abduction Ballet,” which is about over a minute. The novelty of the strobe effect is fun for about the first 30 seconds before the audience becomes irritated.

Due to the lack of creativity, the production required the actors to hold up their end of the bargain and sell the illusion that there was a wall and that they were in rural area and there was a passing theatre troupe. Unfortunately, such a feat was poorly executed and resulted in confusion for those who were unable to deduce what exactly was the role of each player.

However, the “Round and Round” scene would have been well done if the setting was clearly established. How does one stand outside and all of a sudden see an epic tableau?

Another aspect that resulted in the lack of believe-ability was the fact the characters wore the same costume throughout the play even though it was established through dialogue that some time had past. No actual person wears a bright floral dress or a straw hat during winter.

Musicals can be a tricky performance to sell since it may not be to everyone’s taste, yet only two of the actors could deliver a performance that is vital to a good musical, one knew how to sing beautifully and both sold their characters exceptionally well.

Long Beach Community College student Kathryn Mata, who played Luisa, gave us a lovelorn, strange, quirky teenager who can belt out vibrato like Snow White calling to blue birds.

Manuel Delgado, who played a fossil thespian named Henry, gave a compelling performance due to special effects makeup, mannerisms and idiosyncrasies typical of an elderly man.

Erick Guijarro, who played Luisa’s counterpart, Matt, had some trouble in harmonizing with her and pretty much portrayed Rick Moranis’s role as Seymour Krelboin in the musical, “Little Shop of Horrors.”

For those of you not that hip into musicals and missed the reference, it means Guijarro was standard in his singing and acting.

Maya Hasiba Ohayon, who played Matt’s mother, Hucklebee, gave a good performance, however, did not project her voice so that it displayed a more demanding quality.

Ohayon sold her character perfectly well, even without a husky tinge to her voice which would have coincided with Hucklebee’s brash comments directed to her son.

Randy Calcetas, as Luisa’s father, Bellomy, also gave a good, standard performance.

Isaac Simons-Araya as Mortimer delivered in a comical death scene, where he could not in a Cockney accent.

Simons-Araya’s minute long death demonstration scene, which was intentionally overkill, did not drag on and maintained slapstick humor throughout.

Melissa Ongko, Mute, kept scene changes and prop delivery seamless as her role at essentially being a stage hand. Comedy from her mime inspired character is much needed as “The Fantasticks” is somewhat of a comedic musical and should require humor from more than two characters, Henry and Mortimer.

El Gallo, played by Zachary Balagot, was convincing as the suave con-ster with occasional smoldering glances, commanding voice and the smooth sauntering strides he takes on-stage.