Review: The Dining Room


Chelsea L. McDowell

Features Editor

CSU Bakersfield Theatrefest presented The Dining Room by A.R. Gurney on the night of Wednesday Nov. 28 in a special premier exclusively for students. Starring six CSUB students, The Dining Room was centered around just that, a dining room furnished with a table for six, kitchen servers, a rug, and chandelier that all reflected that of a well-to-do family. Characters performed on top, underneath, and around the table that acted as the focal point of the play.

Scenes varied from scandalous to humorous as parents at a birthday party plotted their adulterous escape, a family reacted to their mother’s dementia at Thanksgiving, and a divorcee and a table repairman made a love connection.  These are only three of the many that made up the play.

Admittedly, it took me a couple scenes before I understood what exactly was going on. Knowing nothing of the plot before seeing it, I watched in confusion as characters came and went from stage never to return. Each actor played at least nine different characters in scenes that were unrelated and at times intersected. The weaving of two different stories around the same dining room table as characters remained in their roles was an amusing exercise in theatre that was new to me.

The constantly changing scenes kept things fresh and interesting as each offered a glimpse into the lives of white Anglo-Saxon Protestants in America,  spanning in time since the great depression. While all of the stories were different, the most consistent theme of the play was family.

The Dining Room will be showing in the Doré Arena Theatre this weekend until its Sunday matinée at 2 p.m.