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Davis, California

Monday, July 15, 2024

It’s a Mad, Mad World

Beyond Therapy

Today through Saturday, 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., $12 general admission, $9 with a student ID

Wyatt Pavilion Theatre

Tickets can be purchased at the Freeborn Box Office

Ticket special: Tickets for today’s performance will admit two for the price of one.


Anyone who’s ever been on a blind dateor a just a really bad datewill appreciate Beyond Therapy.

The play, presented by student-run theater group Studio 301, runs today through Sunday at the Wyatt Pavilion Theatre. Written by Christopher Durang, Beyond Therapy follows the comedic trials and tribulations of two characterslove lives.

It opens with a blind date from hell. Bruce says inappropriate things, cries a lot and has a boyfriend. Prudence is standoffish and super critical. It becomes clear quite quickly that these two characters are in desperate need of some therapy. And wouldn’t you know itin the next scene we meet their therapists, who turn out to be just as dysfunctional as their patients.

As Studio 301 is completely student run, the production runs on limited resources. There are no exceptional set pieces or lighting designs, and the costumes are something you might find in your own closet. In essence, the pressure is entirely on the actors to carry the show, and all in all they get the job done.

Junior managerial economics and communication major Jessica Stemwedel does a good job of portraying the cynical Prudence, who doesn’t believe that relationships work. In the opening scene, upon being asked about her serious relationships, she replies,I have two cats.

It’s a difficult challenge to create chemistry between two characters as different as Prudence and Bruce. And while the train wreck of their romance is initially funny, after a while the humor seems to fizzle and the play relies on other zany characters to bring the laughs.

Prudence’s psychiatrist Stuart, sophomore psychology major Kyle Lochridge, is hard not to like as an arrogant, smooth talking ladies man who just can’t seem to get it together. Constantly making sexual references to his patients, Stuart prides himself on his machismo, belt buckle and overall greatness.

Charlotte, Bruce’s eccentric psychiatrist, is played by first-time Davis theater actress Katie Welch. She livens up the stage with her over-the-top energy, making it easy for the audience to enjoy her insanity.

The play is heavy on the dialogue, as witty lines are tossed back and forth between characters. In this sense, timing is everything, and while there are some hit and misses, the actors always manage to pick things back up.

From the storyline to the props, the bottom line in this production is fun. It’s clear that the members of Studio 301 are enjoying themselves and having a good time, which makes it easy for the audience to laugh and do just the same.


JULIA MCCANDLESS can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.




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