GCC theatre production of ‘Rashomon’ receives standing ovation

A breeze in the woods is all it took for a series of events to occur. The events that took place involved the murder of a lord, the rape of a lady and the brutality of a bandit. The truth of this story depends upon perception.

The Glendale Community College theatre performed the play “Rashomon.” The setting takes place in Kyoto, Japan, 1,000 years ago.

The samurai’s wife, played by Danielle Lopez, in an embrace with Tajomaro, played by Jajime Gaeta, in a recent GCC Theatre performance of “Rashomon.” Photo courtesy of AZ Outlaw Photography

A priest, played by GCC student Brandon Renfro and a woodcutter, played by GCC student Jared Queen tell the story of a lord, lady and bandit. They share this story with a sinister wigmaker, performed by Luis Prado III. The three men are gathered at an edge of the Rashomon Gate, taking shelter from a tumultuous rainstorm.
Renfro, Queen, and Prado endured real water raining down on them from the ceiling, for the entirety of the play.

“Impressive, is the word I would use to describe it,” said Nathaniel McKamie, an attendee.

The woodcutter and priest tell the wigmaker of the trial they have just testified in. The trial had called three witnesses to the stand, and unveiled three different testimonies. The first story was the one of the bandit Tajomaru.

Tajomaru, played by GCC business major, Jaime Gaeta, was an infamous bandit, he was an admitted killer, thief and took women for his pleasure. Tajomaru’s perception of the crime was one of passion.
The next testimony came from the wife of the samurai, played by GCC student Danielle Lopez. Her story contrasts from that of Tajomaru’s passionate tale. Her perception is one of humiliation and being controlled against her will.

The next and arguably the most intense testimony came from beyond the grave, through a medium, played by Ashley Charette. Michelle Mays, an audience member said, “The medium did an incredible job, she had to lip synch to a recording of the deceased samurai, and she did an almost perfect job.”

The samurai’s story was one of betrayal and disgrace. This lead role was played by GCC student, Kris Jaus.

A breeze in the woods carried the scent of a woman to awaken a napping man, to cause him to act upon his stirrings, resulting in a sword in the chest of a samurai. There are three different perceptions, all describing differently the same moment in time.

Last the woodcutter admits his memory of the day the samurai was found with a sword in his chest. For, it was he who first came upon the crime. His story is less heroic than the others. His story is one of truth and deception.

The truth depends upon perception.

“It fascinates me how different people can watch the same play or movie and come away with such different opinions,” Director David Seitz said.

The play included sword fighting, romance and rain effects. The amount of time, effort and energy that went in to this production did not go unnoticed. It was immaculate. The only complaint one might have had was that the cast deserved a much larger audience. They received a standing ovation, as they genuinely deserved.

“One of the most impressive things about the play was that the three main characters were able to act as four separate characters depending on which characters’ perception was being acted out, that is talented!” McKamie said.

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