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The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

‘Airline Highway’ crosses barriers and challenges vulnerability

The Fullerton College Theatre Arts Department presented a remarkable performance of “Airline Highway” on Thursday, May 10. The play is by Lisa D’Amour and directed by Candice Clasby.

The play tells a story about residents of the Hummingbird Motel near New Orleans who walked from all paths of life, only to find a family within the motel. A family that doesn’t judge them for their life choices, but rather embrace their differences and tries to have a fun time.

“Not everyone chooses to be in the life that has been thrust upon them, it does seem, however, the real choice is what you do once put into that life,” Clasby said.

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Residents of the Hummingbird Motel preparing for Miss Ruby's funeral. Photo credit: FC Theater Department

Anyone can relate to the residents of this motel as the play centers around the messy part of the world we live in.

“Whether you are a druggie, running something or have a love-hate relationship like Crista, or secretly loving a girl, there’s always something relatable there,” said Ariana Riedel, a former cast member.

The cast and creative team had to overcome a lot of challenges to bring this play to life.

“The challenge is really in the text. Lisa D’Amour does a brilliant job of writing text that flows naturally. The overlapping conversations were the hardest to accomplish due to the pacing needed as well as the need to make sure the audience knows where to focus their attention,” Clasby explained.

Another challenging part was to have students dig deep into such complex characters and bring them to life. All the actors were really indulged into their roles, one could think they’re the real residents of the motel.

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Tanya and Zoe get together during the party. Photo credit: FC Theater Department

“I had to portray a character that’s bipolar and it’s really difficult to find those different shifts. She’s also addicted to pain pills and I’ve never experienced that. The most difficult part was probably channeling that crazy side of her but it’s also the fun part,” said Haley Izurieta who played Tanya.

The play also introduced conversations on gender, race, and socio-economic issues.

“There’s a place for everybody in the show. Everybody who comes to see the show is going to find something to relate to,” said Jordan Reyes who played Sissy Na Na.

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Sissy Na Na starting the party. Photo credit: FC Theater Department

The performers did an outstanding job in bringing the play to life and director Candice Clasby had an important role in pulling this together.

“Candice is new to the department. She’s fresh, she’s young, she’s fit, she’s energetic, she’s fun. Her vision was extraordinary. I just let go and let her do her thing and she’s very good at it,” Reyes said when asked about Clasby’s involvement.

The main message is clear: no one can deny or escape from themselves. People face hard choices in life and no matter what decision they make, they deserve to be respected. The play showed that it is possible to go on regardless of one’s past.

“For some reason, as we grow up, the idea of conveying emotions and being vulnerable is a no, no. This show asks you to be vulnerable and to open your heart to the rawness of emotions.

“Without the cast giving in to this, the show would become a farce,” Clasby added.

Airline Highway will host more performances starting on Thursday, May 17 and ending on Saturday, May 19.

Each showtime starts at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $15 at the door. For more information visit the Fullerton College Theater Arts Department website.