HFCC presents gritty “SubUrbia” at Centennial Library

Photo by Sue Suchyta

Photo by Sue Suchyta

Henry Ford Community College presents Eric Bogosian’s, “SubUrbia” at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday at Henry Ford Centennial Library Auditorium, 16301 Michigan Ave. in Dearborn. Lila Ghaddar (left) of Dearborn as Sooze watches in fear as Tim (second left) played by Jon Stanley of Dearborn Heights, threatens Pony, played by Tim Beson (right) of Riverview. Brandon Grantz (seated, third from left) of Riverview, as Buff, finds the whole episode amusing.

By Sue Suchyta
Henry Ford Community College presents one more weekend of the gritty Eric Bogosian drama, “SubUrbia” at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday at the Henry Ford Centennial Library Auditorium, 16301 Michigan Ave. in Dearborn.

The gritty urban drama and the experienced direction of Christopher Bremer bring out the best in the student actors.

Bremer, who regularly directs professional actors at the Jewish Ensemble Theatre in Bloomfield Hills, says he sets the same high expectations for his college students as he does for the professional actors at the JET, and is gratified with the results.

“SubUrbia” is set in a parking lot outside a convenience store, where the lives of several young adults seem poised to slide into depression fueled by disappointments and substance abuse. Others in the drama seem to have the internal fortitude to escape their present circumstances to build a future and accept responsibility for their fate.

Others opt to not chose, and self-medicate until they explode with anger or slip into oblivion.

The ensemble effectively brings out the raw emotions of the characters and their respective fears with energy and passion.

Jon Stanley of Dearborn Heights, as Tim, is superb as the physically and emotionally disabled young veteran unable to find peace on the home front.

Eric Bennett of Riverview is equally strong as Jeff, a likeable young man who seems riddled with doubts about not only his place in the world but his ability to keep his girlfriend from leaving him behind in her search for meaning in her life.

Chris Braz of Detroit is convincingly intense as a stressed out Pakistani who escaped political corruption and harassment in his native country and who works long hours to earn an engineering degree while running a convenience store.

Monique Tokar of Dearborn embodies the bleak frustration of Bee-Bee, a young woman burdened by the heavy yoke of chemical addiction and what she perceives to be a betrayal by her parents, who committed her to three months of rehab.

Lila Ghaddar of Dearborn as Sooze and Yolanda Aquino of Detroit as Erica have some strong moments when their characters take center stage and they capture the imagination with the boldness of young women chaffing at monotony and the perceived meaninglessness of their lives.

Tim Beson of Riverview captures the contradictions of Pony, a musician on the cusp of success and fame. He’s a local boy who has begun to escape the dead-end future of his peers, but who still craves their approval and acceptance.

Brandon Grantz of Riverview is amusing as Buff, the stoner sidekick.

Alex Carr’s set design captures the mood of a generic all night chain store right down to the graffiti on both the brick wall and Dumpster to the trash-strewn parking lot and the pale light bulb hanging near the faded green and orange signage.

Tickets are available at the door, with open seating.

The show contains profanity and mature themes, and is not appropriate for children and young teens; parental discretion is strongly advised.

Future HFCC theater productions include “The Secret Garden,” which will be performed three weekends for the public, with two weeks of matinees for select Wayne County elementary schools.

Auditions will be held 7 to 10 p.m. Sept. 1 and 2, with performances Nov. 12 to Dec. 5, with no performances Thanksgiving weekend.

The show will be performed in the Adray Auditorium of the Mackenzie Fine Arts Center. Judy Fletcher will direct the production.

Gerry Dzuiblinski will direct William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” with auditions being held 7 to 10 p.m. Dec. 7 and 8 at Adray Auditorium. Performances will run April 14 to 24.

For more information about the theater program, the virtual theatricality lab and the motion capture certificate program, go to www.hfcctheater.org and www.hfccvtl.org.