I’ve covered a number of shows at the World Theater now for The Lutrinae this semester, the most recent being the Johnny Cash cover band, James Garner, concert the weekend before Spring Break. We were kindly gifted two tickets to the show from the World Theater so a reporter and a photographer could review the show. After the show, I couldn’t help compare my experience here at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) with my experience at the last school I went to.
See, I’m a transfer student from Humboldt State. I spent my Freshman and Sophomore year living on Humboldt State’s campus, and I completed the majority of my General Education there. Part of my experience at Humboldt is that I spent a lot of time in the theater there. Every semester, we boasted a packed collection of performers and artists of all kinds at Humboldt. We touted local bands and artists, as well as famous performers such as Pop singer Natasha Bedingfield. We had talks from famous scientists, such as Bill Nye and Neil DeGrasse Tyson. I even worked for a musical one semester backstage, and it certainly wasn’t the only play or musical shown at the Humboldt Theater.
Here at CSUMB, I’ve been to three shows myself, while friends of mine have seen other shows that I was unable to attend. “Much Ado About Nothing,” which I reviewed in a previous article, was directed by a student who used his own money for the production of the play. The World Theater is an incredible stage and could easily invite more talent and showcase more plays and musicals, yet CSUMB still has a startling lack of theater. Sure, there are the “Vagina Monologues” and “MENding Monologues,” which are performed annually here on campus, but those aren’t what I consider traditional theater like “Much Ado About Nothing.”
Now, going back to the Johnny Cash show, it was an enjoyable cover band. James Garner was funny, and he cracked jokes between songs that didn’t completely go over my head. The thing is, I have no idea who Johnny Cash is. I’ve never really heard his songs before, and I’ve never really cared to. Perhaps tons of people know Johnny Cash, and they were interested in experiencing a cover band. To an extent, that was true.
There was a packed theater that night, but it wasn’t comprised of students. Samantha Calderon, the photographer that night, and I saw only a handful of students in the entire theater. The theater was mostly people from outside the campus who filled the World Theater, and I couldn’t help but wonder why the student body pays fees every semester for a program that isn’t designed with our interests in mind.
I’m not asking for famous names like Natasha Bedingfield, or famous scientists like Bill Nye and Neil DeGrasse Tyson, but it would be nice if the World Theater had a wider variety of guests and included more actual plays and musicals. Why are all the cool science talks relegated to a random room in the science building, and why can’t they be on stage in the World Theater? Why doesn’t the Visual and Performing Arts major facilitate more classic theater productions in the World Theater?
While I do think the World Theater has a nice selection now, and I will be seeing “Broadway Boys” next Saturday, I think the World Theater could better focus on student interests. I really do hope to see more variety in the shows offered at the World Theater.