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Kalamazoo College Senior Performances Feature MISS LONG BEACH and THE CHAIRS

Members of the cast of HOW MISS LONG BEACH BECAME MISS LONG BEACH include (at left) Natalie Vazquez ’17 (seated) and Belinda McCauley ’16, and, at right (l-r): Wendy Rubio ’16, Mireya Guzman-Ortiz ’17, and Marta Gonzalez Infante ’17.

The Senior Performance Series of Festival Playhouse of Kalamazoo College presents two one-act plays: the world premiere of How Miss Long Beach Became Miss Long Beach, (written by Alejandra Castillo ’15 and directed by Amy Jimenez ’14) and a new staging of The Chairs (written by Eugene Ionesco and directed by Grace Gilmore ’15).

Performances occur Thursday, May 1, through Sunday, May 4, in the Light Fine Arts Building’s Dungeon Theatre.

Playwright Alejandra Castillo says her play poses important questions: What does it mean to be a girl? What does it mean to be a woman? What does it mean to be a Latina?

Miss Long Beach is a play that explores femininity and womanhood in Latino culture,” she adds. “Sixteen-year-old Angie must decide whether to compete in a beauty pageant to please her glamorous mother or continue with her tomboy ways. The play touches upon issues of gender, sexuality and cultural assimilation, and the importance of mother-daughter relationships.” Director Amy Jimenez says, “Although this play speaks to the Latina experience to some extent, it is definitely relevant to all female experiences because it deals with issues of identity, sexuality, family, and the ideology of beauty.”

In Eugene Ionesco’s landmark Absurdist play, The Chairs, the Old Man and the Old Woman prepare their guests for the arrival of the mysterious Orator, whose speech will not only be the couple’s farewell to life, but also will contain a great message for humanity. The Chairs is a comedy of language,” director Grace Gilmore explains, “that forces us to imagine a world where the meaning of life is undefinable, where loneliness is in the eye of the beholder, and where what we say is not always what we mean. When we look closer we realize this world is not so different from our own.”

Katie Anderson ’15 designed the sets for the two performances, and Michael Wecht ’14 serves as the lighting engineer.

The Senior Performance Series showcases the best and brightest of Kalamazoo College students creating their own theatre. Show times for the two plays are Thursday, May 1, at 7:30pm, Friday and Saturday, May 2 and 3, at 8pm, and Sunday, May 4, at 2pm.. After Thursday’s performance the audience is invited to converse with the director and actors for The Chairs, and, after Friday’s performance, with the cast, director, and playwright of Miss Long Beach. All tickets at the door are $5, with the exception of Thursday’s performance, which is pay what you can.

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