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‘Ride the Cyclone’ loops back to Long Beach State after a decade away

Hundreds of eager students lined up around the front of Long Beach State’s studio theater on May 4 at 7 p.m. to watch the third of four showings for the classic play, “Ride the Cyclone.”

Written by Jacob Richmond and Brooke Maxwell, “Ride the Cyclone” was first performed in 2008 and has grown in popularity in the years since.

Students poured into the sold-out studio at 7:20 p.m. and not long after, the lights dimmed as the play began.

The show started on a humorous note with sweeping vibrant colors and a beautiful backdrop. Greeted by the fortune teller Karnak, the audience learns six teenagers from a Canadian chamber choir died from a freak roller coaster accident.

Now stuck in a state of limbo, the six teens must decide together which of them will be revived by the fortune teller.

The cast of teens includes Constance portrayed by Christina Du Chene, Ricky played by Jason Fisher, Ocean played by Haley Guinn, Mischa played by Nicholas Mayer, Noel played by Aiden McGuiness and Jane Doe by Lars Toler.

"Ride the Cyclone" tells the story of six teenagers who died in a roller coaster accident and must decide which of them will be given a second chance to "Ride the Cyclone" of life.
"Ride the Cyclone" tells the story of six teenagers who died in a roller coaster accident and must decide which of them will be given a second chance to "Ride the Cyclone" of life. Photo credit: Kailey Bosna

Each teenager takes turns pleading their case for a second chance at life in their respective musical numbers.

The musical numbers were an expression of their lives, reminiscing about things they had done while alive. Ocean’s number was arrogant as she insulted the other teens to put herself on a pedestal.

Noel sang about the frustration that stemmed from when they were born and their sexuality. Mischa lamented about a woman he loved while mentioning his affinity for autotune.

Finally, Constance began to talk to the audience personally.

Throughout the play, the gravity of the situation of life versus death is played off as a gimmick, but when Constance begins to talk about her life and struggles, the atmosphere suddenly becomes grim as both the audience and the other teenagers realize the seriousness of their situation.

Constance was vulnerable about the shame she felt in her parent’s economic status, being known only as a “kind, quiet girl” and how she died before being able to change that.

Moved by Constance’s performance, Ocean realized the error of her ways and apologized for everything she had said about Constance’s life and the lives of the other teens.

Upon Ocean’s revelation, Karnak revealed that rather than the teens deciding together who would be revived, Ocean would do it herself.

Instead of being selfish like she had been earlier, Ocean chose to give Jane Doe a second chance because she had no memory of her life, the other teens had no memory of her and she never got the chance to live.

At that, the play ended and the audience erupted into applause.

“I got invited here so I wasn’t planning (on attending) but I was pretty blown away by the visual effects more than anything,” said Ben Bilbrey, a self-proclaimed theatre fan from Irvine.

The final showing of “Ride the Cyclone” was on May 4, ending the semester’s theater projects on a high note. While there may not be any more shows this spring, the theater department will return with a new slate of shows for the fall semester.

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