South campus takes theater audiences on a ‘Dark Ride’

San Jacinto College South Campus Theatre Department promises to have audiences holding on to their seats with their daring season opener “Dark Ride.”

South campus Theatre Director Kevin Holden said this performance is going to be very different from what audiences saw during past seasons.

“Dark Ride is an experience, not a show. It’s more like an actual ride than a ‘sit down, be quiet, and wait-to-clap-at-the-end’ play,” Holden said.

According to Holden, the play emphasizes something that most people experience during their lives; losing sight of what is important.

“The point is this,” he said, “it is so easy to get immersed in all the trivial distractions that life throws at us and soon the trivial matters become deceptively important to us. This is when we lose our way in the ‘Dark Ride’ of life.”

Holden said the show can be unclear at times, but eventually the audience will capture the true meaning behind the play.

“The action of the play can be very bizarre, confusing, and disturbing,” he said. “It may seem that all the insanity going on around you has no real point at all, like life itself, but there is a method to all the madness.”

Meanwhile, Holden offers an important piece of advice for audiences attending the performances.

“Don’t try to make sense of the show. It’s not going to happen. Just enjoy the ride,” he said.

Student Mitchell Dudley plays several characters in “Dark Ride” and said students should see the play because it offers exciting, no cost amusement.

“It is entertainment that you can’t afford to miss,” Dudley said, “especially, when it’s free for students. The dialogue and soliloquies of the characters will capture your attention from the jump.”

Holden said South campus stages shows different from fare other theater programs offer.

“We feel that in large, theatre has become a nearly invalid art form in its current state,” he said. “Believing this makes us try to create new and better ways for the audience to experience the theatre.”

Holden said his group wants to highlight the elements distinguishing theater from other forms of art and entertainment.

“We strive to create shows that utilize the one aspect that theatre has, that TV, film, video games, and the Internet don’t; a live audience with live performers,” he said.

Holden encourages audiences to interact with the performance as they might at other live happenings.

“We want our experiences to be more akin to a sporting event, or a rock concert, or a rousing religious service…,” Holden said. “We encourage our audiences to break the old rules of audience etiquette, and feel free to do whatever they want.”

“Dark Ride” runs Nov. 14 to Nov. 16 in the Black Box Theatre at Marie Spence Flickinger Fine Arts Center on the South campus. All performances begin at 8 p.m. Admission is free for students and $10 for all others.