“References to Salvador Dalí Make Me Hot,” the latest and final production brought to you by the Theatre and New Dance Department, showcases magical realism and the effects of war.

Sitting in the front row of the dark and intimate studio theater, the audience can feel the raw emotions and passion from the characters as the story unravels.

The story starts off with a talking moon, where he can see everything around him. 

In comes a talking cat and a transparent coyote, who express their wildest love and compassion. A 14-year-old boy named Martin strides into the scene and implies a sexual act. 

The story continues with another lead character, Gabriela, who is an Army housewife, followed by her wife (the soldier) Benita, who has arrived from the Gulf War.

From left to right: Samantha Joun as Gabriella and Chase Atherton as The Moon in “References to Salvador Dalí Make Me Hot.” (Courtesy of Department of Theatre)

It should be mentioned that the play is extremely graphic in terms of sexual innuendos and sexual acts. 

From kissing to groping and partial nudity, there is not much left to the imagination for the audience, in some instances.

Tension and awkwardness can be sensed from the audience as these specific scenes take place. However, these specific scenes contribute to the overall theme of the story.

The play is about war and its effects on marriage and commitment. 

The play ranges in theme from love, marriage, commitment and destruction. This points to the destruction of self and worthiness.

The play itself is quite a treat, as the seats are close to the set and you can feel the raw emotions of the characters. 

The voice range of actors helps the audience feel like they’re part of the spectacle.

The lights in the studio change in color from time to time. 

This was done to direct the play in a different direction; however, it felt random at times. Nevertheless, the lights were a main highlight of the play, followed by the background that provided the audience with a sense of setting.

The costumes really contribute to the portrayal of the characters. 

“References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot” is directed by Mark Valdez and written by José Rivera. (Courtesy of Department of Theatre)

The household cat was dressed nicely as she was a household cat, whereas the coyote was dressed in raggedy clothing, implying he is from the desert. 

The clothing fit the narrative of the characters, giving the audience a sense of direction. Granted, the moon was not dressed as an actual moon, rather the moon was dressed as a nod to Dalí.

This production is a nice wrap to the semester, as the topics and themes can be applied to the average student. 

War and destruction are not just about airstrikes and dead innocent civilians; rather war is within us and within the vicinity of everything we love and associate with. 

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