‘Trepidation Nation’ production sheds light on phobias

Hard work and dedication pays off for CRC theater students


Rachel Norris

“Naked Lunch” – an abusive ex-boyfriend, Vernon (Stig Walker), forces his former girlfriend Lucy (Caitlin Hatfield) to eat a piece of steak after learning she is now a vegetarian. This scene was one of 10 in “Trepidation Nation,” performed on Oct. 14.

Emily Collins, Staff Writer

With haunted houses and costume parties hosted throughout the month, October is often viewed as a time to be frightened for fun and the Cosumnes River College theatre arts department is following that theme.

Students are performing “Trepidation Nation,” a collection of monologues and short scenes portraying a variety of fears and phobias in the Black Box Theatre Oct. 14-Oct. 17.

Though not meant to scare the audience, the theme is one that can be troublesome, for both the audience members and the cast.

“I’m pretty afraid to portray phobias,” said Theodore Butler, 24, a theatre arts for transfer major. “I’m not good at portraying fear.”

More serious pieces include “Hold This,” performed by 22-year-old Stig Walker, a programming major. It is about a young man who obsessively relives the death of a dozen baby chicks he had raised.

“I don’t know how to deal with phobias,” Walker said. “I can emulate them, I suppose, but I don’t understand it.”

Another scene showed two sisters suffering from an inability to sleep and having a serious conversation about their past the night before their father’s funeral.

“It’s about telling the story,” said director and Theatre Arts Professor Cheri Fortin. “That’s where good acting starts, is in really being able to tell the story of the piece.”

The collection of plays, while appropriate for the month of October, was chosen for a much different reason.

“All the plays are chosen to serve an academic purpose,” Fortin said. “This piece was particularly chosen for it’s monologue work.”

Performing plays is a learning experience for the student actors.

“The work is intensive but very satisfying,” Fortin said. “ It’s about creating that believable relationship and connection. Additionally, the learning outcome is learning how to do a performance, how to prepare and present a performance.”

The collection of short plays offers new students the opportunity to get their feet wet before taking on a longer one, such as the upcoming “Side Man.”The student actors in this performance are prepared, enthusiastic and ready to do their best.

“It’s going to be great,” said Caitlin Hatfield, a 23-year-old theatre arts major, during rehearsal. “Everyone here is really dedicated.”

Before the first performance Butler was concerned about his ability to act out fear but he should put his trepidation to rest. “About the Plays and the Players,” the opening act in which he portrays someone suffering from stage fright, was well executed.

The final scene, also performed by Butler, was well received by the audience in attendance on Oct. 14. “Yes,” the story of a man with phobophobia, one who is excessively afraid of phobias, had the actor stripping down to his shorts and throwing flowers around.

It was quite silly, eliciting a faint laugh from Butler, which did not take much away from the performance, viewers were left with a weird yet light-hearted ending.