Christian Saint Croix Piece ZACH, Blends in Different Layers While Playing Homage to a 90s Teen Sitcom

A Loud Fridge Theatre Production Currently Playing Until October 28 at Onstage Playhouse 

A Blog View by Alejandra Enciso-Dardashti

Sergio Morejon and Kendall Stallworth. Photo by Brittany Carrillo

Loud Fridge Theatre Company debuted its first official season this past January coming strong with the play Ripped, putting difficult yet necessary conversations on the theatre table, as well as with the co-production of NEAT in late March. For their last show of the year, 'Fridge continues bringing food for thought with their latest show Zach, in a production where playwright Christian Saint Croix delivers a vibrant homage to the 90s teen comedy Saved by the Bell, evident not only in the show title but also with Hsi An Chen's colorful set design that greets audiences with hot pinks, neons, blues, yellows, and greens reminiscent of the era. 

The cast is led by Sergio Morejon as Mexican-American student PJ, and Kendall Stallworth as African-American student Gina. Both actors also skillfully portray multiple roles throughout the 80-minute performance with a story set in a Southern California high school where the majority of kids are white. 
High school is a thick chapter to navigate for a lot of people. While staying true to the 90s, Saint Croix captures that by showing cheerleading tryouts, different clicks, who hangs out with whom, and of course, who is not talking to whom...he also adds layers of racism, tokenism, and a lack of accountability based on skin color, highlighting the privilege of getting away with things that should have consequences. As a 90s teen myself, the show resonated, while diving into the high school scene with a blend of drama, humor, and social commentary. 

Sergio Morejon. Photo by Brittany Carrillo
Despite being still in school at San Diego State, both actors deliver impressive performances, tackling tough scenes with an ebb and flow of drama, comedy, and thought-provoking reality checks. Guided by Amira Temple's direction who has directed shows for SDSU and hopefully, this is the first of many as we have seen her histrionic talents in different productions across San Diego. Amira used the whole stage to have the actors moving and giving air to the different scenes and characters, while Emily Johansson's lighting design meshed well with the bright colors of the set, and also marked the scene changes. Estefanía Ricalde's sound design not only gave the scenes a pop! But emphasized 90s references that the ones who know will recognize and enjoy. And those that do not, will Google and learn.
There are no wardrobe changes but Emily Carter Page's costume design proves that everything is coming back in style, as both characters look like any teen hanging around currently. That makes me laugh and kind of sad at the same time and well, the magic of theatre does those things...I won't spoil this for Zach goers but there is a video component that helps with the character changes which I consider to be not just creative, but a fresh element that "pumps up the volume" (that's more of an 80s reference but, you get it).

"Zack" is showcasing the potential of up-and-coming talent taking on main-stage productions. Loud Fridge Theatre Company deserves recognition for bringing new and diverse voices to the stage, in these interesting exercises that spark important conversations through theater. While needing a little tuning, the piece is an optimistic and promising production with the power to engage audiences and leave a lasting impact.

Currently playing until October 28th at Onstage Playhouse. For more information on times and dates please CLICK here .

Check out the cool Interview From Another Zero that we did with Amira Temple:

You can also listen to the latest episode of Downstage, the SD Theatre Critics Circle podcast where Circle Member David Dixon gives a brief on Loud Fridge. 

No comments:

Post a Comment