“Gloria” review: A fantastic opening for SRJC Theatre Arts’ spring season


Courtesy of Thomas Chown

Through clear body language, Dean (Trevor Braskamp), Ani (Lizzy Bies) and Kendra (Nina Nguyen) express annoyance resulting from how their ambitions in a stressful work environment have affected them.

Lucas Cadigan-Carranza, Editor

It had been quite some time since I last engaged in a theater performance, whether on stage or in the audience, and the Santa Rosa Junior College Theatre Arts Department’s performance of “Gloria” proved to be an amazing return to live theater for me. Completely designed by students, “Gloria” is a funny, shocking and fantastically performed show that resonated with me as not only an audience member, but also as a reporter and someone with a history on stage.

“Gloria,” which takes place in the mid-2010s, revolves around a group of assistants at a Manhattan magazine and how their ambitions in the extremely competitive, dehumanizing and stressful workplace affect who they are, what they do and how they treat others.

The play deals with a question that intrigued me as a reporter: When a big event occurs, whose story is it to tell and which angle is the most appropriate? The storyline dealt with it in a way that was both fascinating and devastating.

As for the actors who brought this story to life, they were all fantastic. All but one of the six played more than one character, with McDieun Philidor (Miles/Shawn/Rashaad) and Lizzy Bies (Ani/Sasha/Callie) ranking the most impressive in this regard. They each played three characters and transformed themselves in ways that convinced me they all were different people.

Juliya Lubin, who played both Gloria and Nan, stole the show every time she was on stage. From the way Lubin moved her eyes to her body language and the way she carried herself, she seemed to genuinely converse in the moment rather than recite lines and take action based on a script.

The other half of the cast, while still amazing, didn’t give as strong or memorable performances.

One cast member delivered her lines in a way that seemed like she was reciting a script rather than genuinely speaking. She also slipped up on her lines occasionally and didn’t fully commit to proper facial acting. For example, during an intense argument, she sounded like she was defending her stance, but her face said otherwise.

Regardless, she still performed well. When she slipped up on her lines, she instantaneously picked herself back up in a way that fit with her character. She also did a great job playing two different characters and managed to get me to laugh quite a few times.

The set was also impressive. The backdrop of a wood wall with clear doors in the center proved to be extremely flexible as the crew was able to completely transform the scene with props alone. And there were a lot of props and set pieces. Although the background was the same in each scene, each prop and set piece transported the audience to a completely different setting, such as an office or a Starbucks.

While “Gloria” is an amazing and thought-provoking experience, I wouldn’t recommend taking children to see it. The show may be funny, but it is also serious and contains strong language as well as mature themes and concepts.