Theatre department hosts performance


Photo courtesy of the CSUSM theatre department

CSUSM theatre hosted their final performance of the fall semester, Solos.

Jaelyn Decena, A&E Editor

CSUSM’s theatre department hosted their third and final performance of the fall 2020 semester, Solos, on Dec. 4. The performance was a compilation of solo performances by various CSUSM theatre students. 

Directed by Macedonio Arteaga Jr. and Jessica Cortez, each student has their time to shine in their solo performance. The cast of Solos includes Noah Palm, Edrick Agustin, Dwann Hicks, Matthew Schaerer, Jacob James and Dylan McCall. 

Macedonio Arteaga Jr. and Jessica Cortez begin the night with a brief introduction to the performance. Arteaga said that the Solos performance was put on “with all young men.” He later added that he began to look into the question of “what is it to be a man?” 

The performance intended to help his ensemble explore this question. “Some of these young men have never written a piece. We wanted to guide them with some topics that they could relate to, that they could understand,” said Arteaga. 

CSUSM senior Dylan McCall began the performance in his solo act Our Selfish Reason. McCall’s performance covered life in the pandemic and the struggle of being a college student in lockdown. In the performance, McCall has a conversation with a friend, who tells him that they’re travelling to Cabo, regardless of the risks. McCall emphasizes the dangers of travelling during the pandemic, and faces the struggle of being the friend to push responsibility onto others. 

The performance then moveD to Jacob James, who is in his final semester at CSUSM, in his performance of This Piece Doesn’t Have a Title Yet. Through various FaceTime calls with friends, James shared his vulnerabilities and fears when creating his solo performance. The piece explores theatre’s impact on James’ life. 

“Performing, it just makes me happy and … making other people laugh is just such a great feeling. Theatre is my chance to tell a story,” James said. “When I perform, I get to be away from the real me for a little bit.” He then went on to explore how theatre went on to change his life by helping him find his voice. 

The compilation of solo performances included those of four other CSUSM students who had each written a piece for Solos. Noah Palm, a transfer student from MiraCosta College, performed in If You Give a Cub a Dream. Edrick Agustin starred in the performance of The Coat. Additionally, Dwann Hicks, a second-year theatre major, performed in his solo piece Hidden Horrors of History. Finally, Matthew Schaerer starred in his performance of Transformations. 

Solos provided its audience with a wide exploration of topics. Each performance in Solos was unique, yet the performance never felt jarring. While the pandemic has created challenges for the theatre department regarding live performances, Solos was a very strong note to end the fall 2020 semester on.A recording of Solos can be watched on CSUSM theatre’s YouTube channel.