CLU theatre pushes boundaries with current season

Last year, California Lutheran University performed plays that many non-theater majors were unfamiliar with.

This year, the theatre arts department is bringing shows that are not only classics but are also exciting and eye opening.

“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Spring Awakening” are two of the mainstage productions chosen for the 2013-2014 academic year.

These shows are controversial because they deal with very serious topics, as sex is a major component in both. Despite its controversy, I am looking forward to viewing the shows.

Just because we attend a Lutheran university doesn’t mean we are all religious conservatives despite the assumption.

Today, society is fighting for rights that are considered inappropriate, sinful or even taboo, like cross dressing, abortion and the right to love who you want. But, these productions will show how open minded we are as a student body, while also teaching us a few things.

Some may think “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is inappropriate for audiences of any age due to its suggestive material, but the show is more than the sex that is portrayed.

According to, the main message is “Don’t Dream It, Be It” and fans have taken this to heart by dressing “in lingerie, and [hanging] out with a couple hundred other free-spirits.” Audience members are encouraged to dress in drag, dance to the “Time Warp” and call out during the show.

“I hope that the audience will leave knowing that it is OK to not always play it safe. You may discover something new about yourself from pushing the limit,” said Jamell Dorton, a sophomore cast member of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

The show is more than entertainment. It’s about having the chance to surround yourself around other people who accept you for who you are.

Labels, generalizations and stereotypes are put aside for a few hours and for many, this is a relief.

I think “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is good for CLU students because it celebrates individuality.

“Spring Awakening,” another production that the theatre arts department will hold, deals with teen sexuality, sex education, abortion, rape and suicide.

“Spring Awakening” will be performed at the Civic Arts Plaza in Thousand Oaks in the spring of 2014. The award-winning musical is sure to spark conversation among those who see it.

“It brings up a lot of issues that are still happening today. People still have problems talking about sexual things. You go see a movie and there’s lots of violence, people getting killed off right and left and ‘oh, that’s fine.’ But, if there’s any sense of sexuality, it’s like ‘Woah, wait a second,’” said Kenneth Gardner, theatre arts department chair.

Are the elements of “Spring Awakening” sensitive topics to talk about? Yes, but they are also very important.

Without discussion, there is no awareness. If people were aware of how important sex education is, there might be less teen pregnancy or abortions due to unprotected sex.

Suicide can be prevented, but not many people want to talk about it.

Therefore, a lot of suicide signs are missed. Also, there is no way for those considering suicide to talk about what they’re going through because they feel like people don’t want to hear about it, but in reality, people are just uncomfortable talking about it.

I believe “Spring Awakening” is a great way to open the doors for communication. Starting the conversation is the most difficult part and this show takes that difficulty away.

Genesis Rodriguez, a sophomore with a love of theater,  thinks that these productions will serve as a lesson to students.

“I hope the audience leaves a bit more educated, but in a non-traditional way. These plays are definitely deep and can be very moving when dealing with such ‘touchy’ topics,” Rodriguez said.


Alesandria Posada
Staff Writer
Published Oct. 16, 2013