Battle of the viewpoints

Team Turnip does the final pose of their halftime dance during a production of Sudden Death Viewpoints.

Rosio Flores, Staff Reporter

Packed with high energy and bold maneuvers, the idea for the ensemble piece, Sudden Death View Points, started off as a “joke” which later developed into the culminating masters project of Eric Lauritzen, a Cal State LA graduate student.

Sudden Death Viewpoints, an ensemble piece written by Lauritzen and directed by Adam Ferguson, both part of the Cal State LA-MFA Program in Television, Film, and Theatre, draws on the sport, competition and theatrical elements of WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment). 

The six Viewpoints, key to the ensemble piece was created by Mary Overlie, an artist and educator, and is the idea of space, shape, time, emotion, movement and story. 

“The concept of Viewpoints is there’s no right or wrong, so a huge part of the satire, is telling people they’re doing it wrong when its a self discovery.’’ said Lauritzen.

The cast included, eight competitors, two announcers, one reporter and Lauritzen as the referee. 

During the mock competitions, the players had to rely on Viewpoints to maneuver their way in the ring, as Lauritzen kept watch of their movement. One “wrong” move and Lauritzen blew his whistle. How well the players did in the mock competition kept them from elimination. 

On each show night, because of the improvisation of the show different players were eliminated based on how well they performed throughout the competition. The first eliminated player assumed the role of the mascot, either a sheep or turnip. Even the live commercials in the show were improvised. 

The piece was also audience inclusitory. 

“Crazy and good,” said Victor Rivera. “After a while, I got super into [it].”

Rivera, who saw the show with alongside his family, was selected to be part of the show. He was chosen as the one who would pick the MVP (Most Valued PLayer) of the competition. 

“Tonight it was fun for me. They called me and I said ‘might as well enjoy myself,’” said Rivera, who delighted the audience with some moves he learned from watching the show.

The show also sparked some confusion.

“I had no idea what it [was] about,” said Wen Shen Chin, a Cal State LA acting major. “It’s still a good performance. It’s good to know it’s improvised, that’s the best part.”

This confusion the majority of the audience seemed to experience was purposeful. “Part of the point was to have people walk away questioning it, as opposed to knowing it,” said Lauritzen.

The show was followed by a discussion where the cast and crew could solicit feedback from the audience, and answer any questions. This discussion was also used to address any audience confusion.

The ensemble piece was hosted in the State Playhouse, on campus, and ran from Wednesday to Friday. The final Friday competition was live streamed on multiple platforms, and was marketed as an actual competition. The final competition can be found on the Cal State LA- MFA Program in Television, Film and Theatre facebook page.