Throughout all their years of performance, Rainbow Theater has shared stories of resilience, love and struggle.
On Nov. 2, the student theater arts troupe premiered Program B, which included the play “Real Women Have Curves,” spoken word performances by Poet’s Corner and the debut of Rainbotz — Rainbow Theater’s very own dance troupe.
According to the Cultural Arts and Diversity Center (CAD) website, Rainbow Theater is the oldest theater arts troupe in the University of California system, and the only one with a multicultural focus. Program B is one of three programs that Rainbow Theater will be performing throughout November, and is sponsored by CAD, Stevenson College and its provosts, Alice Yang and executive vice chancellor Alison Galloway.
The event began with “Real Women Have Curves,” a play depicting the struggles of a group of Latina seamstresses in Los Angeles. Through their performance, the play’s actresses brought life to the issues and struggles around body image, low wages and deportation. Members of the audience filled the seats of the Stevenson Event Center, laughing, clapping and snapping in encouragement for the all-female cast.
CAD Director Don Williams said the standing ovation the actresses received from the audience was an achievement for Rainbow Theater and for the cast of “Real Women Have Curves.”
“It took a lot for [the cast] to tell that story and to really take it to you where you felt like you were really inside this factory where they worked,” Williams said. “It was touching to see how they worked together as a team.”
Williams said he was proud of the students’ productions and of how they upheld Rainbow Theater’s mantra of uplifting others higher than themselves, making the start of a season, in his opinion, a success so far.
“Each [show] brought a true, defining message and each of them had their own way of telling their own story. From ‘Real Women Have Curves,’ to the dance, to the poetry,” Williams said.
After a short intermission and a couple of fast-paced merengue cumbia songs, Rainbotz, The Rainbow Theater Dance Troupe, started their 2012 season with an upbeat performance that left the audience clapping and cheering even louder. The last event of the night was Poet’s Corner, where students performed songs, skits and spoken-word poems that addressed a broad range of subjects from love to discrimination.
Rainbow Theater started off their 2012 season with Program A on Nov. 1, performing “The Colored Museum” and “Down and Out.” On CAD’s website, “The Colored Museum” is described as a satirical look at the stereotypes, tropes and portrayals of African-Americans throughout history. “Down and Out” deals with a dysfunctional Asian-American family and their struggle to overcome a mother who ran away, a father who passed and a sister who went missing.
Director of “Down and Out,” Ken Chang said the performance captures the drama and love that connects individuals and encourages them to work through struggles common to many families.
“The story, even though it is an Asian American play, is relatable to any walk of life, whether you’re Asian American or not,” he said.
As always in Rainbow Theater productions, audience members are invited to be temporary members of the show when they take their seats. When Friday night’s emcee called out, “Rainbow! Rainbow!” the audience shouted back, “Rainbow! Rainbow!”
President of Rainbow Theater Karina Mendez said that Rainbow creates a community within their members and also encourages them to express themselves.
“We try to give [everybody] a voice while they’re on a campus where it’s hard to find yourself. We build a community. We build a strong ship where we all come together, and this is a safe place for you to share your stories.”