Essay on Suburbia
The play Suburbia takes place in a small suburb called Burnfield and transpires in one night. The main characters are Buff, Jeff, Suze, Tim, Pony, Posey, and Bee-Bee. One key difference between this play and the previous play, Heathen Valley that was reported on earlier, is the way the set is arranged. In Heathen Valley the set consisted of a single box on stage. Although the set was bare it was still effective in conveying the meaning of the play. The set of Suburbia was the complete opposite. It consisted of; a mailbox, 7-11, a trash can, 4 crates, a bench, hockey sticks, a duffel bag, beer, liquor, sneakers, and a pay phone. All of these props did not enhance my understanding of the meaning from this play. Although it was performed reasonably well it was not convincing enough for me and I walked out feeling like I hadn’t gotten the message of the play at all.
Reading the play before watching the performance gave me a lot of expectations coming in. As I understood it the play was supposed to be gritty, dealing with a lot of the contemporary issues including racism, sexuality, AIDS, feminism, gun control, drugs, alcoholism, depression/mental illness/youth suicide, sex, pornography, mate ship, and leaving home. The theme as I interpreted it dealt with our promise and potential as human beings. I expected characters that I would easily relate to and to see dilemmas that I face as a young adult dealt with to my satisfaction. The plot of the play is a group of teens in a small suburban town who try to develop into adults. As they reminisce about their high school days, they find out that one of their old classmates who turned into a pop star is coming back to Burnfield. What ensues is a scintillating mixture of jealousy, deceit and betrayal which leads to the tragic consequences. By the next day some of the group have escaped the town while others are left to deal with the repercussions of such a tragic occurrence.
Although the plot is a bit depressing there were many sections in the play clearly meant to be comedic. The overall play itself was not very strong except for the performance of a few actors. Jeff, who was probably the most important character, had a very strong performance in my opinion. Also, Buff had a good performance because of his humor. He was able to make the audience laugh in almost (if not all) the scenes that he was in. These two actors were able to get into contact with the characters and portray them the way they were meant to be. However, my expectations coming in were high and they definitely were not met. After reading such a powerful play I expected a performance just as powerful that would do justice to the script. Though the performance was good it just did not reach that level.
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