“Power Lines” brings energy to Ives 119

COURTESY // David Papas

COURTESY // David Papas

Come one come all, to the new play festival with hard hats. “Power Lines” opened on campus in Ives 119 over the weekend. Festival director Scott Horstein, who has annually hosted the “Super Mega Molten Hot Lava New Play Festival” curated “Power Lines” in order to give students a chance to experience a higher level of production. The students were given a real budget, full design and shop support, in addition to a spot in the school’s main stage season. If you missed opening weekend, you’ll have until May 13.

The festival features three plays, each written by a student. “The Tar: A Play” written by Victoria Saitz, depicts the importance of friendship in dark times. The growing bond between the characters overshadows the horror of the apocalyptic plot. It’s setting is in San Diego with mention of the Sonoma/Napa area, offering believability and excitement to the audience. The sound and narration provided by two “radio hosts” help carry a strong script through moments of silence. Additionally, the fusion of well-known songs such as “Paint it Black” by the Rolling Stones helps keep the mood relevant.

“I liked how ‘The Tar’ highlighted both religious and political views that are significant to today’s culture, especially in California,” said Tania Freimuth, who came to watch her cousin in the show.

After the hour-long staging of “The Tar,” you’ll be greeted by a shorter production called “Nuclear Housewife,” written by James Rich. This play takes place in 1945 during World War II, and opens with the police interrogating a housewife about the murder of her husband. While the time, setting and characters are less relatable to the student body, the politics within the play are strikingly familiar. Anyone who believes in the phrase “history repeats itself” will grasp why this retelling of the past is so necessary for understanding the patterns in our government today.

The festival concludes on a more quirky note with “The Cultural Significance of the Dumpster” written by Natasha Potts. An abnormal woman, Sam, faces an existential crisis as she wades her way through a local dumpster.  However, the extremity of her antics do not go misunderstood.  

Sam is struggling to find her way after graduating high school. As she compares herself to her friends that seem to have it together, things only get worse, and more humorous. During her time “researching” the dumpster, Sam realizes the path she wants to take. Post graduation is a time when society pressures young people to follow a certain path. Whether it’s continuing your education or immediately getting a job, it’s not easy to avoid the pressure. 

“I’m not planning on dumpster diving anytime soon, but I definitely related to Sam,” said Skye Dow, a senior at Sonoma State University. “The trouble she had accepting a predetermined path for herself is similar to my own feelings about graduation.”

“Power Lines” was a chance for theater students to direct, produce, write and act outside of the classroom. 

“I’m an acting major, so it was different for me to be behind the scenes,” said Saitz. “Usually there is a set script, but we were able to substitute and edit our scripts throughout production.”