Dan Studio Series offers a great collection of plays

Queer love and interpersonal relationships are central themes 

Student theater deserves recognition.

I have always found drama and stage acting fascinating. While I don’t have the bionic ability to act in a live performance, watching plays allows me to truly feel the emotions of the characters while shutting out the noise of everyday life. 

The Dan Studio Series (DSS) is a semi-annual theatre production organized and run by Queen’s students. This year, the DSS is putting on a show coined “Odyssey,” which includes three plays exploring relationships, perspectives, and family.

Odyssey can be attended in-person or streamed from Nov. 10 to 13. 

Simply put, this production took my breath away. It reminded me to enjoy human emotions in all shades and of the immense talent Queen’s has in its fine arts programmes—something which must be appreciated. 

At the Sound of the Tone

At the Sound of the Tone is formatted as a comedic sitcom, pointing out the stages of grief after someone goes through a break-up. It discusses the underlying complexities that often lead to people falling out and questionable life choices—don’t text your ex at 3 a.m.

In At the Sound of the Tone, Jamie and Charlie are going through a break-up. Charlie thinks it would be funny to exact revenge on Jamie by leaking her phone number on the Internet. Spam callers soon consume Jamie’s life, especially since she doesn’t have caller ID.

Soon enough, we see the couple temporarily make amends, and the complexity of the relationship is explored. Jamie and Charlie are two people in different stages of life and maturity. The stars were not aligned for this couple, a fact Jamie only discovers through anger.

This play serves as a reminder to all of us to not seek out temporary validation from others. Instead, we should seek long-term fulfillment in the quest for happiness. 

Lucid Dreaming

Created by Benjamin Ma, ConEd ’25, Lucid Dreaming is my personal favourite of the three performances. The play follows Damien, a gay teenager, in his quests for love and to be accepted by those around him. Damien’s childhood trauma influences the way he looks to his future, and he attempts to “code-switch.” This attempt ultimately fails, and life becomes more of a nightmare. 

The strength of this play is its portrayal of a multi-faceted gay character. Damien can love, be engaged in school, and form friendships with those around him. 

This play also doesn’t hide reality. Homophobia is real and violent—it can come from your family, and you can feel dejected and lost. This play reinforces the fact that coming out is still dangerous and often means opening yourself up to the worst type of rejection. The play also touches on family dynamics and abandonment from a parental figure at a young age. 

Lucid Dreaming tugs on the heartstrings and makes you hope Damien can dream for the love, family, and acceptance he deserves.

Stuck in Crush, Texas: And other stories

Stuck in Crush, Texas accounts for an 1896 publicity stunt that inadvertently killed two people. It features several stories with a bartender serving as the connecting character.

In this play, we see an eager journalist experience a wide range of emotions while covering the events taking place in Crush, Texas. The journalist experiences grief and a sense of purpose in covering the unexpected explosion of train boilers during a publicity stunt. 

The strength of this play is that it gives the audience a feeling of watching a funny, sad, and strange simulation.

After the first story, there’s a seamless transition into I need a Body, a story about two medical students who must break laws to get through medical school. This piece discusses ideas of ambition and purpose—specifically when one’s purpose is driven by greed and fame. 

The final transition is into La Chasse Galerie, a story about a group of fur traders on expedition. It explores team dynamics and pays tribute to Canadian history in a comedic way. 

The play keeps the audience on their feet, and every scene evokes excitement and thrills. Stuck in Crush, Texas is the perfect end to a wonderful night of performances.

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