Fight or Flight

By Darcie J. Flansburg

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Posted July 1, 2010 in Arts & Culture

Art is not just a pretty picture or a form of entertainment. Art should, in some way, make its viewer aware of the issues being faced within society; portraying the ups and downs of various cultures in a conscious and relatable way.

Gary Griffitts’ Fuselage the Musical brings to light a very relevant issue for San Bernardino County.

“It’s a play about discovery and learning empathy for individuals who are facing hardships and understanding how they got to where they are today,” Griffitts says. “We as a society all face challenging situations, whether mentally, physically or emotionally.”

These challenges can sometimes lead to our destiny. Fuselage the Musical personifies and explains these challenges through a modern-day musical performance. The play follows Nikki, a young girl who moves in with her aunt after the death of her father. After being abused by her uncle, Nikki becomes a runaway. But Nikki soon finds a family amongst the homeless people that take her in.

The play is a multi-media production that includes video, graphic visuals, and dance as well as a live band. And the performers consist of some incredible vocalists.

Naomi Martinez has a very touching song as Nikki’s Aunt Angela. Griffitts’ music coupled with Martinez’s vocals brought me to tears.

But every principal actor had their moments in the show.

Scarlette Garcia, as Nikki, went through an emotional rollercoaster, but her breakthrough moments really showed when she was singing. Nikki goes from losing a father to being molested by her uncle to seeing people she has grown to love die in the streets, but it was only when Garcia was singing that the emotion of the character was truly felt.

Don Nelson was a lovable Billy Bob. He and Amani Butler, who played the Cat Lady, had a great comedic chemistry on stage. Despite the Cat Lady’s situation, Butler’s lovable (and delusional) character always made the audience laugh.

And Keon Blanche, who played the narrator/Judge Tomazo, enlightened the audience with words of wisdom throughout the play and joined the 50-person ensemble for some awesome group numbers.

There were moments where some of the acting felt too raw, lacking depth and integrity. But the musical numbers more than made up for it.

Griffitts (and co-writer Jeremy Hansen) should be commended for this fabulous new musical.

Fuselage is a Broadway quality show that echoes the heartfelt rock musicals the likes of Rent and Spring Awakening. I hope to see the production go beyond San Bernardino to enlighten the many poverty-stricken cities of this nation and world. This is the kind of art that people can relate to and should see.

Experience Theatre’s Fuselage the Musical at Pacific High School Theatre, 1020 Pacific St., San Bernardino, www.fuselagethemusical.com. Shows Thurs-Sat., July 1-3. 8PM. General admission $15. A portion of ticket proceeds will benefit local charities.


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