‘When Thunder Comes’ is funny, poignant, ironic, deeply personal
By Owen Woods | firstname.lastname@example.org
EVERY once in a while, a senior thesis play comes around and really does the trick. With the creative leeway that Adams State University’s Xperimental Theatre gives its students, this is a trend I foresee occurring senior thesis after senior thesis.
Written and directed by senior theater major Joaquin Rodriguez, “When Thunder Comes” is weird – in all the right ways. It’s a coming-of-age tale that dips its toes in North American folklore and Scandinavian folk horror. It’s funny, poignant, ironic, and most of all, deeply personal. This is one you should go into as blind as possible, because it’s more of an experience than just a typical theater-in-the-round show.
This play is the product of a very focused team of young actors. With just some basic set dressing, the actors transformed the stage into a magical piece of forest. Just like the characters who find themselves lost after searching for the Jackalope, I was lost alongside them. Which is the exact kind of feeling you should have.
Gabbo, played by Trajen Baustista, escapes to the woods. His life has seen some ups and downs and these woods are his church. Bautista’s performance had echoes of River Phoenix in “Stand By Me.” His character is a young man faced with new adversity, and leaving his friends and his woods behind is seemingly a fate worse than death.
This production is unlike anything I’ve seen in the Xperimental Theatre. Without giving too much away, you can expect strange characters, skin-tight clothing and leather, full scale, choreographed fights, and a story that is more than just experiencing the threshold of adulthood. Not everything you see has an explanation. Rather than saying it’s wrong to chase an answer, “When Thunder Comes” encourages us to chase an answer for just the sake of the chase.
“When Thunder Comes” is an Xperimental Theatre Production Presented by Adams State University and The School of Visual and Performing Arts. The one-act is approximately an hour in length with no intermission. Performances continue nightly through Saturday, March 11. General admissions tickets are $13 and free for Adams State Associated Students and Faculty. Tickets can be purchased online at Theatre Department; or in-person at the Theatre Box Office between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or by calling 719-587-8499.