Fullerton College Theatre Department out did themselves and ended the semester with Michael Weems’ surprisingly funny yet emotional “Okay Better Best” musical Friday night at that Bronwyn Dodson Theatre.
Under the direction of FC professor and director Tim Espinosa, the whole cast was set with their own individual daily struggles and it was nothing you would expect from a musical. The immense raw emotion and identities on stage was awe inspiring.
The show was accompanied by pianist Rhonda Kess, violinist Crystaline Tran and guitarist Ryan Navales.
The show started out with three ladies, Tricia, who was played by Mackenzie Hamilton, who seems to be the girl everyone comes across as the undeniable pushover. Anne, played by Rhyan Beanger, is the girl every guy wants. And Eve, played by Hasti Bakian, as the one stuck in a dead end relationship.
All their identities and where they find themselves will eventually make sense.
Very different from most musicals, the setting of the theatre was much more intimate as it gave the feeling of actually being at the bar with the cast. Each time one of the actors and actresses finished their act, they would walk off as if they were going back to their table or to the bar. It felt real.
Tricia starts the show with a phone call by her recent ex boyfriend who had cheated on her. Now in the search for some “rebound booty”, she also initiates a vindictive revenge against the boys who will come into the picture to prove a point about how men hurt women without any consideration.
To help with getting revenge, both Tricia and Eve use Anne, the pretty one who guys drool over for bait.
This is where the boys come along. Leif (Manny Madera) is the stereotypical, egotistical pig that lies to women to take them home. Then we have Martin (Fernando Cardenas Sanchez) who is the charmingly shy guy who gets put under the category of “nice guys finish last”. Lastly is Chad who is at a point of wanting to be committed, but still has that child like behavior.
As the night out at the bar progresses, Tricia believes that her plot will be for a great few laughs, but the show really sets itself apart by proving that in reality that’s not the case.
Each guy approaches the hot Anne but fails, but of course when the shy but charming Martin walks up to take his chance you get a sense of hope and spark for these two.
Next is Eve to pick her victim and it ends up being Chad. As the conversation heats up, it switches gears and they begin to express what they want and what their relationships were like. Here we have Chad telling Eve, the girl stuck in a dead end relationship, that he longs for marriage and kids and her mentality flips.
This is no longer wanting to get revenge.
This also goes for Tricia and Leif as the show progresses. As Leif targets Tricia, the audience starts to notice the heart behind Leifs façade which longs for something more substantial than his unfulfilling no strings attached hook-ups. Tricia started from a want of vengeance to just being a girl with pure compassion that is terrified to be hurt again.
In Act two, it had been a week since both parties have seen each other from the night at the bar. And there’s hurt feelings and realizations that need to be acknowledged.
This is where Jenny comes into the picture, played by Christianne Holly Santiago, the 21 year old who has no problem being Chads arm candy only to upset Eve. She also has a connection to Leif. Jenny was one his targets but the unlikely happened when Leif told her he loved her after sleeping with her.
With no recollection of it Jenny isn’t surprised, but just heartbroken.
But there’s also a change in atmosphere since Eve is now engaged. After spending and enjoying a night with Chads company. We can see where feelings are mixed and hurt.
Then there’s the lovable charming Martin who has fallen for the beautiful Anne, but as for her she’s unsure of what could become of this new interest.
The show didn’t have much a conclusion for each relationship, but it did end on a good note for both Tricia and Leif a new love interest that came out of pure innocent care for one another. His old tricks were left behind and Tricia found trust in him.