NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ–The Mason Gross School of the Arts' Theater Department is presenting a student project titled "Seeing Beyond with Maya Fantasma."
This project is a interactive theater experience described as a show about a man whose ex-girlfriend just won't leave him alone. The show is the directorial debut of Rutgers senior Zoe Milah De Jesus.
"The show is about a man named Dan whose girlfriend, Liz, committed suicide," De Jesus told New Brunswick Today. "Dan is trying to move on from her death but after attending Maya Fantasma's psychic show, Liz's ghost won't leave him alone."
"I decided to describe the show as a theater experience because of the interactivity between the actors and the audience," De Jesus continued. "I've always enjoyed theater that makes the audience feel like they are a part of what is happening on stage. This play is different from traditional theater in the sense that the audience literally is part of the show."
Seeing Beyond with Maya Fantasma had its first showing Tuesday, May 12. The next and final showing is scheduled for 7:3opm on May 13 in Walters Hall, Room 130. Admission is free.
The ecclectic cast of Rutgers students includes:
Maya Fantasma – Simone Mahoney
Dan – Abid Hassan
Liz – Toni Politt
Becky – Laura Pomykala
Emma – Zoe Milah De Jesus
Zoe Milah De Jesus is the only senior in the play.
"All of the other actors are juniors," she said. "They are definitely a diverse group of personalities and wonderful actors to work with. Everything that happens in this short, 40-minute play happens for a reason. But it's not a show that the audience will leave thinking, 'wow, that was really deep'."
De Jesus draws inspiration from acclaimed American playwright, essayist, screenwriter, and film director David Mamet who once said, "Theater is meant to entertain."
And that's exactly what this show sets out to do. It is supposed to transport you to a strange, alternate reality where, for a moment, you can experience a little magic.
Yu Bin Namkoong is in charge of props and lighting, and Princess Haynes is responsible for sound.
The play has a lot of comedic dialogue and action strongly juxtaposed to the subject matter, mainly the suicide of Dan's ex-girlfriend Liz.
The Walters Hall has limited seating with the audience sitting fairly close to the stage.
This space lends itself to some audience interaction.
At one point, Maya Fantasma is doing a psychic reading in the style of popular television show "Crossing Over with John Edwards."
Fantasma questions audience members and channels communication by their deceased friends and relatives.
Several of the actors joined the actual attendees to serve as the fictional audience for Fantasma in the play.
All in all, De Jesus' directorial debut is a well-paced theatre experience and a lighthearted take on the void we feel when we lose someone.
Space is limited for the remaining show. All who are interested in attending are asked to email De Jesus at [email protected]