Cypress College’s theater program portrays the horrors of the Depression Era through the play, “The American Clock” by Arthur Miller, directed by Jennifer McMillin-Brick.
The play explores the tribulations of wealthy families suffering through the Depression, specifically the Baums. The Cypress College theater students wonderfully portray the unwavering spirit of American people. The central idea of the play is that every society is on a clock and the true power belongs to the people, not the government. “There has never been a society that hasn’t had a clock running on it. How long will they stand for this?”.
The theatrical genre of the play, vaudeville, worked hand in hand with the student actors and comical scenes. Vaudeville is a theatrical genre that, in it’s own way, is also a comedy, sprinkled with song and dance, to portray the spirits of American people. The genre represents the lightheartedness and willingness to laugh in the face of adversity, alluding that humor can withstand suffering.
The Depression is a really hard topic to tackle, but the theater program was accurate in their portrayal. The cast was very successful in showing the exhaustion of low class Americans, the violence that ensued, and the unpreparedness of the wealthy class. The real success of the play lies in individual scenes, specifically scenes involving, Lee Baum, played by Erick Guijarro. He was truly able to capture the fear and scrappiness of young adults, a newfound independence in his character, and the unwillingness of the nation to give up hope for a more fruitful future.
The accomplishment of the Cypress College Theatre program was wonderful to witness, through the bits of comedy, the scattered song and dance, the subtleties of a ticking clock, and finally ending the play with, “The Times They Are a Changin”. Cypress College Theatre Program took on a hard task with “The American Clock”, entangled with humor and fear, violence and unity, courage and panic; they were successful in their portrayal and graceful in their presentation.