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The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

‘SBCC Stories’ spotlights complex, mundane voices from City College

The Channels Art Pages | CRITICAL REVIEW
Nev De Alba
Kyndra Gedney performs the original short story “My Friend Sam” for City Colleges original virtual production “SBCC Stories.” “My Friend Sam” told the poignant story of losing a friend to drug addiction.

You may be opposed to an entirely virtual performance, but don’t be surprised if a ragtag collection of homemade stories finds its way into your heart. 

“SBCC Stories,” directed by Maggie Mixsell, is a compilation of vignettes written and performed by students and faculty from City College.

If you’re in the mood for tears, chapter one entitled “Friends and Family” is just for you. 

One of the most heartfelt stories was told by Kyndra Gedney, who described the harsh feelings of witnessing her childhood friend struggle through addiction. 

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The piece is raw, straightforward and lacks the traditional happy ending that most stories had; it was honest. “My Friend Sam” is dismal but one of the best entries on the roster.

On the lighter side, one of the quirkier stories, “Meeka,” performed by Scout Wilkins, told a whimsical and imaginative story involving her beloved stuffed chicken, Meeka, and the chaos that it caused. Wilkins provided voices and complex thoughts for mere stuffed toys, creating a layered story about toy chickens that demanded they be bought. 

It’s a breath of fresh air from the dark nature of the stories that came prior. 

However, not every story was as engaging as Wilkins.

Mason Levy delivers his original story "Lost" for City College's virtual production "SBCC Stories." "Lost" tells the story of Levy's struggle to find a major.
Mason Levy delivers his original story “Lost” for City College’s virtual production “SBCC Stories.” “Lost” tells the story of Levy’s struggle to find a major. (Nev De Alba)

In chapter two entitled “The Unexpected,” theater student Mason Levy’s story “Lost” bores the audience with the uninteresting tale of how he picked his major.

The story felt unfocused as if Levy pulled a string of pretentious thoughts together at the last minute and threw them in a microwave for defrosting. There was no plot, just a series of events clumped together. 

Levy came off as though he were the first person to struggle with picking a major in a vain attempt to appear entertaining.“Lost” was mundane in comparison to the other entries in chapter two.

Chapter three, titled “Discoveries,” featured coming-of-age stories and personal anecdotes like the rest.

The production as a whole is carried by its soundtrack. A funny story would be accompanied by amusing tunes and the sadder pieces were backed by gentle, dark piano.

Without the music, it would have been just another Zoom meeting with funky edits and uninspired visual transitions between stories.

Creating an entire production without stepping foot on a stage is a daunting task. With credit going to the department for being able to pull together an overall fine performance with what little resources they had.

Tickets are available through the Theatre Group’s website, with “SBCC Stories” available for streaming until April 17.

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