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Slasher comedy ‘Hookman’ opens at SDSU

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Slasher comedy ‘Hookman’ opens at SDSU

Dominique Payne (Jess),  Kennedy Garcia (Lexie) and Ryan Stubo (Hookman) in

Dominique Payne (Jess), Kennedy Garcia (Lexie) and Ryan Stubo (Hookman) in "Hookman."

Courtesy of SDSU College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Dominique Payne (Jess), Kennedy Garcia (Lexie) and Ryan Stubo (Hookman) in "Hookman."

Courtesy of SDSU College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Courtesy of SDSU College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Dominique Payne (Jess), Kennedy Garcia (Lexie) and Ryan Stubo (Hookman) in "Hookman."

by Sydney Faulkner, Staff Writer

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“Hookman” debuted in the experimental theatre at San Diego State on March 15 to a completely sold-out crowd.

It was written by Lauren Yee, directed by Jennifer Eve Thorn and produced in association with MOXIE theatre.

“Hookman” is an existential slasher comedy. Lexi, a college freshman at University of Connecticut, finds herself caught in an encounter with a hook-handed serial killer. When back in her hometown in California, she is involved in a tragic and fatal accident with her best friend, Jess. Over the course of time, Lexi finds herself struggling with herself and constantly trying to recall what exactly happened that night.

While “Hookman” is a slasher comedy, it explores deeper. Theatre arts senior Kennedy Jean Garcia, who portrayed Lexi, said “Hookman” actually speaks to some very large issues.

“‘Hookman’ briefly discusses the casual nature rape has because part of everyday conversation because we have become so numb to it,” she said. “One in three women will be sexually assaulted in their life, and with those statistics, conversations like in ‘Hookman’ are stark, realistic and shocking.”

Garcia also said she could relate to the trauma her character endured.

“The show really speaks to what trauma and anxiety can do to your head,” she said. “Watching my character devolve into a chaotic mind over the course of the show is close to what I have experienced in my own trauma. I think the playwright Lauren Yee does a great job capturing the realism through an unrealistic lens.”

Diana Ing, theatre arts senior, agreed “Hookman” dealt with some very important issues.

“‘Hookman’ is funny and gory, but the main takeaway is how we deal with grief,” she said. “Lexi is dealing with her friends death and struggling with survivors guilt. ‘Hookman’ makes it unknown to the audience what is factual and what is in Lexi’s head. There were keylines in the show that would trigger her memory and make her think deeper about those moments. She continuously replays the accident in her head until the end when she finally accepts what she has done.”

Noah Leach, theatre performance sophomore, said the car accident scene was especially evocative and resonant for him.  

“‘Hookman’ has multiple heavy themes,” he said. “The first that hit me the hardest was the act of distracted driving. There is a tragic accident that is very real and raw because of it. I think this message is important to bring awareness to students coming into college.”

For the guests in attendance, there were pre-show tours that started in the parking structures. Designated tour guides then led each group along a path to the Experimental Theatre. On this tour, guests were taught about the urban legend of Hookman. The students who were tour guides were also stagehands who guided Lexi through episodical moments in her life.

Leach said his favorite part of being in “Hookman” was experiencing a whole new form of theatre.

“Making the story immersive from the moment you get out of your car to the bows was very unique,” he said. “Being a guide was an eye-opening experience for me. I was not only an actor, but acting as a stagehand bringing the audience through the world, whilst also being an active audience member myself.”

Ing, who also played the role of guide, said she found this innovative aspect of the show rewarding.

“I loved being a guide in ‘Hookman,’” she said. “The tour wasn’t actually part of the script, but something unique that director Jennifer Eve Thorn envisioned. She really wanted to educate the audience on the legend of ‘Hookman’ before seeing the production.”

Theatre performance sophomore Annie Barrack said she truly enjoyed the process of working with the director and her professionalism was unmatched and added that she believes ‘Hookman” teaches the message of accepting who and everything one is.

“From all your successes to all your failures, all your pride and all of your guilt, everything that is you,” she said. “Once you can accept that, you can live your life happily, instead of in a nightmare.”

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