Full of emotion and creativity, seniors Teresa Yslas Beardsley and Jose Arias debuted “Mademoiselle X: Ourselves in Disguise” and “Voices,” respectively, as their senior projects from April 4 through April 6 at the Jane Dibbell Cabaret Theatre.
The two performances shared a similar theme when came it to the characters having multiple personalities.
The night opened with Beardsley’s one-woman show of “Mademoiselle X” where she not only played as the title character but also as other characters, such as a homeless man and Mademoiselle X’s mother.
The stage had few props, such as a trunk and a coat hanger, which would become a important throughout the performance because it held most of the props such as hats and clothes that would help her transform into her other characters. It also had a piano with a bottle of wine on top of it, a chair, and a little table with a teapot and teacup.
Mademoiselle X greeted and gave an introduction of the show to the audience in French.
“Turn off your cell phones because I don’t want to hear them,” Mademoiselle X said in a French accent.
“Mademoiselle X” is a about a young lady who tells the stories of the people she has encountered throughout her adventures that have made an impact in her life.
During her journey, she comes across a driver who met a Bengali princess and a homeless man named Johnny Seed who claims that Jesus is aware of everything.
“Jesus already knows everything,” Seed said. “God cannot lie to you because it is not in his nature.”
Mademoiselle X then switches into the role of her recovering addict mother who is part of the social movement Occupy Los Angeles. She sells hats for a living and barely makes enough money.
While she is in Los Angeles, she meets a cook who is fighting for justice because he wants to form a union at his work. The catering company he works for likes to discriminate against non-native English speakers.
“You should see the way they talk to them,” he said. “They’re not children. They’re adults.”
The audience got a laugh when Mademoiselle X introduced a woman with a loud personality who wore a red hat throughout her skit. The woman hates men and is constantly annoyed by her husband, Steve.
Her last transformation is to Georgie, who teaches theater and closes the show with him when he asks the audience to clap for the ending.
Ramiro Marin, a freshman psychology major, thought the show was unique and was fond of the Beardsley’s character of the woman who wore the red hat.
“It was really clever,” he said. “I thought she was ridiculous. They were all ridiculous.”
Daniel Ramirez, a sophomore theater major, was astonished with the way Beardsley played several characters.
“I enjoyed seeing how many players Teresa was able to portray,” he said. “It’s difficult for me to portray people that aren’t real.”
After a 15-minute intermission, Arias’ play “Voices” began with Sophie (senior Sierra Taylor) giving birth to fraternal twins Elyon (Arias) and Aveen (Victoria Wyatt) and loses her mind as soon as she sees her babies because she does not recognize them as her own.
The play then jumps to the present where Elyon, an aspiring writer, is the head of his dysfunctional family after his father abandons them after trying to kill his two kids and crazy wife. His family is having financial problems and Sophie cannot work because of her mental state.
“We have insufficient funds, which means we can’t afford food,” Elyon said.
Elyon takes care of his mother because his sister resents her for not being there when they were growing up.
The twins’ grandparents, portrayed by Rachel Strowbridge and Jordan Klomp, arrive one day unexpectedly to visit, which does not please Elyon and Aveen because the last thing they want to do is feed two extra mouths since they can barely afford to have food for the three of them.
The grandparents and the twins are constantly fighting because they cannot agree on anything. Aveen blames her grandmother for her mother’s craziness, while Elyon is getting stressed because no one is doing anything to make the financial situation any better.
With all the troubles that are going on his life, Elyon begins to hear voices in his head that tell him to murder his family.
“Kill them,” the voices said. “Kill them all.”
On the day of his birthday, his family throws him a surprise party. He comes into the house and kills his family one by one by stabbing his grandmother first and ending his mother’s life last.
Arias said he does not know what inspired him to write this play but has seen people act the way his characters did in real life. He said he went to the mall one day to observe people and saw people acting like Sophie, Aveen, and the grandparents.
It took six months and eight drafts to get the play right, but he could not be any more pleased with the ending especially since he does not like happy endings.
Clo Hidalgo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.