Mesa College Theatre Co.’s ‘Perception’ – Review

Chris Madaffer, Staff Writer

“Perception: A Modern Day Love Story” is a tale that features characters whose constant interaction with each other via text messaging and the social network allows them to express emotions both genuine and superficial.

The story’s main character is a young college dropout named Chris, who’s struggling to get over being dumped by his now ex-girlfriend, Cherrie. Chris is accompanied by his two best friends, Sam and Victor. Sam is the noble friend who gives Chris sound advice as to why he needs to stop moping and get out more while Victor is the immature friend who thinks he gives great input but means well.

Growing up and maturity issues are not exclusive to Chris because the story shifts to another character named Sylvia who is like Chris in certain ways. She desires a man who has confidence in himself, but while that might seem fair, Sylvia bases her desires on how appealing some people look on their Facebook profiles. Sylvia is given constructive criticism by her roommate Bethany who is a featured character later on that represents social network users who don’t mask themselves with a façade.

The dialogue is well constructed because of its realistic tone but raw feel with the vulgar language. One specific character, named Mike, frequently uses a four lettered word whether he is frustrated or talking crudely. Chris, Sam and Victor vow to go “clubbing,” but what they are referring to are locations to pick up women. During a game of poker, Sam mentions that going to Club Starbucks, Club Costco and Club Barnes & Noble is a good way for Chris to start looking for a new date.

The play performs very well when it comes to technical aspects. Above the stage and off to the sides were monitors and screens that displayed not only messages between characters, but between characters and the audience, too. While the text messages were not an integral piece to the story, there was a moment where Victor is helping Chris that adds certain exaggerations to his Facebook profile, and it was projected on the monitors so that the audience could see what was going on. This was brilliant because it allowed the audience to see what the characters were doing.

As Chris’ character undergoes certain changes throughout, the story never loses its charm. Each character in the play is connected with one another in different ways, whether it is a character like Madison — who is Chris’ sister or Kelsey, who is his best friend. There are multiple stereotypes that will be recognized by the viewer, and the great part about it is that some of these characters represent the majority of the social network in general, whether it is on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

“Perception” does not try too hard to make the viewer laugh or cringe because the dialogue and character interaction allow each character to come off as believable. This production was very well done with the way it was presented to the viewers, and the story never went off course or lost its flow. For those who love social media and going out with friends, going out to see “Perception” will be well worth the time.