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The Orion

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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

“The River Bride” brings magic and heartache to Chico State

Jason Halley
Helena anguishes over her unrequited love for her sister’s fiance in “The River Bride.” Photo credit: Jason Halley – University Photographer

There’s no fairy godmother to save the day, or happily ever after while riding off into the sunset. This isn’t a typical Walt Disney fairytale.

Chico State School of the Arts’ Department of Music and Theatre presented “The River Bride” on Thursday, its opening night. Described as a “grim Latino fairytale,” this story was told by a cast of six actors at Wismer Theatre in the Performing Arts Center.

Deep in the Amazon rainforest, a secluded community lives on the banks of a shoreline. A family is thrown into turmoil as Helena, the oldest daughter, is in love with Duarte, her younger sister’s soon-to-be-husband. This love triangle takes a turn when the girls’ father pulls a mysterious man from the river.

Well-to-do and seemingly perfect, the girls are infatuated with this young man. But his deep secret remains undercover until a critical moment changes all of their lives forever and a chance at true love is ruined.

The set of the play was vibrant like an Amazon rainforest would be with trees and flora painted on the backdrop. The duration of the play was performed on one non-changing set, which included a wooden pier and the home that the family lived in. Characters often rowed on set with a makeshift boat that would roll across the riverbed-painted floor.

The lighting and sound effects were unique and didn’t miss a beat during the performance. In a few scenes, the theatre went dark as lightning struck across the set while the sound of thunder and rain roared overhead. Use of music set the mood for tender scenes, even in situations where a character was simply pondering onstage.

Department of Music and Theatre faculty members, William Johnson and Cynthia Lammel, co-directed “The River Bride.”

“Our acting students have had an exciting time exploring the beautiful language and complex relationships,” said Lammel in a School of the Arts (SOTA) press release about the play. “Our design students have been challenged and delighted by the design of the set and the quality of the painting, lighting, and sound.”

This play is a tale for all ages, as most people can relate to the characters’ passions, dreams, dilemmas and hope of finding love that will last a lifetime. The student actors visibly put their hearts and souls into the production of their characters and the overall story.

“The River Bride” is showing at Chico State until Sunday afternoon. More information on showtimes and ticket prices can be found on the Facebook event page.

Rayanne Painter can be reached at [email protected] or @rayphenomenon on Twitter.

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