Preview: ‘Polaroid Stories’ brings awareness

Cal Poly Pomona’s Department of Theatre and New Dance is presenting the production “Polaroid Stories,” written by Naomi Iizuka, to the CPP community.

The play highlights the experiences of homeless and troubled youth through stories of Greek gods as an adaptation of Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” that takes place in an abandoned pier on the outermost edge of a city, according to guest director Jessica Hanna.

“The staff is really supportive, and the students are really eager and creative,” Hanna said. “We are building a play quickly and it’s a very fast process. Everyone is having to jump in and commit to the choices fast. However, I feel the process is going well so far.”

(Courtesy of Chelsea Sutton)

“Polaroid Stories” marks the first time Hanna has worked as the director for a production by the Theatre and New Dance department at CPP.  Prior to her involvement with CPP, Hanna cofounded and ran the Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles for 12 years. However, she began freelancing as a director and producer after leaving the Bootleg Theater last year.   

Fourth-year theater student Christie Hui will play the role of Philomel in the play. With Hui’s previous experience in two productions, she explains how this production is very different from the plays that she took part in.

“One unique thing about my role is that my character has very little lines, and I will be mostly singing throughout the play. Also, I feel something that makes this different from other plays that I have been in is how there is a lot of movement involved while acting in our roles,” Hui said.

According to Hanna, the movement on stage mentioned by Hui refers to viewpoints that stemmed from the dance world. Hanna explained how theater artist and educator Mary Overlie developed viewpoints as a strategy for actors to have more presence on the stage and express a character’s emotions through physical movements.

Guest director Jessica Hanna working to get fourth-year theater student, Christie Hui, into her role of Philomel. (Courtesy of Chelsea Sutton) 

Third-year theater student David Hermosillo is eager to portray Narcissus, a character that carries high-level confidence on stage. 

“One of my favorite parts about playing Narcissus is that I get to bring out the vulnerability of his character when he has the façade of being the best,” Hermosillo said. “It really shows others how there is more to people than you may think and how we are all multi-layered.”

Hermosillo stated how excited he is to present the ideas and techniques brought to the production by Hanna and assist in telling a story of struggling and homeless youth for the audience to experience for themselves.

Showings of “Polaroid Stories” will be held in the Studio Theater (Bldg. 25-110) at 8 p.m. Feb. 27-29 and March 5-7. An additional showing will be at 2 p.m. March 8.

General admission tickets are $15, CPP alumni tickets are $12, and all CPP faculty, staff, student and senior citizen tickets are $10.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit https://classcsupomona.tix.com/Schedule.aspx?OrgNum=3530&framed=true

Correction: The playwright is Naomi Iizuka, not Naomi Lizuka.

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