UVSC’s theater department is taking the transition to university status very seriously. Among the several changes they are making, the program is starting to approach topics and genres which five years ago were not yet a twinkle in their young eye.
Their first significant step toward the realm of university status is now showing in the Black Box. Canyon Suite, which I like to think of as the department’s bar mitzvah, is a very modern-contemporary piece. It was brave of them to take a script as challenging as this one on.
The show is about relationships, and spans over thirty years. It makes the intangible connection between two people as corporeal as possible, and really has some engaging moments. The acting was good in general, but I expected more gritty reality out of it.
The best aspect of the production was that it did not, in any way, apologize for itself. Too often when a company takes on a new genre of theater they become uncomfortable and unintentionally ask their audience’s forgiveness for their growth. It is an unhealthy practice, and I was thrilled to see how comfortable and confident the cast was with their production.
But the truth is, puberty ain’t pretty. It’s funny and beautifully poignant and endlessly interesting, but it sure doesn’t make for a shiny happy ending. But so what if the show has a few blemishes and leaves you a bit lost in the end; it is at least a step in the right direction.
Canyon Suite does not deserve to be ignored. We must be supportive of our theater department’s attempts at progress. The show continues through Dec. 8, and begins at 7:30 p.m.