USD’s theatre department wrapped up their Fall 2023 season. Their final show was “Ride the Cyclone,” which ran from Nov. 17-19 and Nov. 30 through Dec. 3.
“Ride the Cyclone” is about the lives of six teenagers who die on a roller coaster called the cyclone.
When they wake, they are greeted by Karnak, a mechanical fortune teller. He invites all of the teenages to play a game where the winner will get a second chance at life.
Jamie Lennon is a junior BFA theatre studies major and played Misha Bachinski, who is a Ukrainian rapper in “Ride the Cyclone.” For Lennon, this role allowed him to practice his method acting to fully immerse himself to be Bachinski.
“I would say the biggest challenge to Misha (Bachinski) would be the accent,” Lennon said. “It took a little bit to keep in the accent and not slip in and out.”
Grace Engstrom is a sophomore BFA musical theatre major and played Jane Doe in Ride the Cyclone. Jane Doe was found headless when she died from riding the cyclone. No family came to claim her body, so her identity is unknown to both herself and everyone else.
Engstrom said playing Doe has challenged her to portray a character without any facial expressions.
“This show was such a fun challenge,” Engstrom said. “Playing someone who doesn’t know who they are and someone who is confused and blank faced all the time was a big challenge. I had to figure out how to portray the physicality of the character and keep engaged and reactive in the show without using too intense facial expressions.”
While the show came with its challenges, the actors still made some memories and experienced some firsts. Lennon got to experience a first when singing Bachinski’s gangsta rap track called “This Song Is Awesome.”
“My favorite memory has to be the first time getting to work with the auto-tune,” Lennon said. “I have never worked with it before, so it was so fun to use.”
Engstrom also got to experience a first during her song “The Ballad of Jane Doe,” where her character was suspended in the air while singing.
“I loved being able to fly in this show,” Engstrom said. “It was so much fun to get to float in the air and use that to portray such a powerful song while multiple feet in the air.”
While the performance is over, Lennon said the show has something for everyone.
“Ride the cyclone is a show where everyone can see themselves in each character and get to see the most talented group of people I have gotten the chance to work with,” Lennon said.
The department’s next show is Misdemeanor Dream on Feb. 23 and Feb. 24 in the Knutson Theatre.
Photo Credit: The Volante | Submitted