BC’s Blackbox Theatre Production “SubUrbia” explores the lives of five youth in light of a slow self-destruction


Melissa Puryear

(Left to right: characters Erica, Buff, Pony, Jeff, Sooze, Bee-Bee) Buff is emotionally hostile and antagonizes his childhood friend Pony because Pony’s success as a musician, makes Buff feel inferior and like a failure.

Melissa Puryear, Managing Editors

Bakersfield College Performing Arts Department actors perform in play packed with angst, vulgarity and hostile rumination where daring and bold behavior are acted out in bizarre displays of violence and sexualized affections among friends in “SubUrbia” on April 18 and 21.

The play, which was written by Eric Bogosian, and directed by Brian J. Sivesind, Bakersfield College’s Performing Art Department’s director, is set in the the town of Burnfield, NJ and exposes both difficult and vulnerable topics in the lives of five young adults on a road to nowhere.

Trapped in a cycle of violence, sex, drugs, and alcohol addiction, a group of friends test the boundaries of their friendship as they distort reality and mask the pain and disillusionment of being stuck. They try to make purpose of their lives by hanging out in a convenient store parking lot which is owned by two immigrants the group of friends despise.

With their nemesis and protagonist Pony, a friend and successful musician who escaped the dead-ends in Burnfiled by moving to Los Angeles, they are pushed deeper into a resentment they are unaware of until he visits. As the group eagerly talks about Pony’s return, they discover by the end of the night, that they have unresolved deep-seated feelings which will eventually come to the surface and betray their childhood bonds. At some point the audience is forced to realize that something transcendental must take place to jolt the group out of their world of pain and onto a meaningful path in life. That moment eventually comes, but at a very high price that no one sees coming.

Sivesind said the mid-1990s play “SubUrbia” was updated by Bogosian to modernize it. He also said that the production took actors eight weeks to learn, with a 4-hour practice each day. He was very pleased with final rehearsal the night before their first live performance.

“SubUrbia” has adult-themes that include vulgarity, bad language and sexual overtones. It also includes scenes and conversation on violence, misogyny, misandry, objectification, racism, homophobia and death.

“SubUrbia” will be featured on BC at The Black Box in PAC Rm 107 on April 18, 19, 20, and 21 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at Vallitix for performances until 4 p.m. each day. Thereafter, tickets are sold at the door.


From Bottom and left to right: characters Erica, Buff, Tim, Sooze, and Pony. Tim, a misogynist and ex-veteran, harasses Erica, Pony’s publicist, as he draws on racial stereotypes about her, while Erica is secretly attracted to him.