Arts Runoff: BIG LOVE

Meghan Leathers '13.5 and Forrest Carroll '14.5 in Big Love

Arts Runoff is a Middblog series of performance reviews, originally written by JP Allen ’11. We’ll do our best to continue his thoughtful, thorough, and timely work!

Summary: A super weird remix of Aeschylus’s The Suppliants written by journalist/historian/activist/playwright Charles Mee//Big Love is about 50 Greek sisters who flee to Italy from arranged marriages to their Americans cousins. When the grooms find them, the fifty brides, led by ultra-feminist Thyona, decide together to marry their husbands, seduce them on the first night of their marriage, and then murder them.  All fifty wives carry out the plan (WARNING: there is a castration in this scene), except for protagonist Lydia who falls in love with her husband and can’t bring herself to kill him.//The play is full of political statements about gender roles and inequality, rape, and domestic abuse, but it actually is a comedy and an extremely funny show.

Good:  Very well-done production: The minimalist set worked, the makeup and costumes were convincing (even the old Italian woman), and the songs they chose (including a Jack Johnson tune) were often times strange, but somehow made sense.//Lots of stylized, surreal scenes but Director (and theater professor) Cláudio Mederios made them work for the most part.//The  acting was overall very impressive: veterans like Lucy Van Atta ’12 (Thyona, the super-feminist sister), and Gillian Durkee ‘11.5 (a guest at the villa the sisters fled to) were reliably hilarious in their over-the-top roles, but newcomers Nicholas Hemerling ‘14.5 and Forrest Carroll  ‘14.5 (both technically still Freshmen!) also nailed their (respectively) flamboyant and sensitive characters.

Bad: I couldn’t relate as much as I wanted to Lydia, the protagonist (Meghan Leathers ‘13.5). She was the nuanced sister that didn’t fall into stereotypes, as did her sisters Thyona (the feminist) and  Olympia (the ditz who “likes to be submissive,” played by Mari Vial-Golden ’14). But I felt detached from her for some reason, and I don’t think it was the fault of Leathers’s acting, it might just have been how the character was written.

Broad: Although the play was really bizarre and challenging at parts, I came away from it feeling satisfied and thoroughly entertained, which I can’t say about many bizarre, “challenging” plays I’ve seen.  A big part of the reason was Medeiros’s directing; if this were a student production I don’t think it would have worked.//Although some of the feminist ideas were a little cliché, Mee portrayed the idea of “the man” in a very interesting light. One of my favorite moments in the whole play is Constantine (Ben Orbison ‘12.5)–after a twisted but intriguing monologue about the role of men in society–shoving and hitting his reluctant brother Nikos (Carroll) as his way of cheering him up, which seems to work and they both walk off together with their hands on each others back.

Contextual Rating: There is one more showing tonight at 8PM. If you already have something planned this evening…
…do it, and see this show if you can.
…put it off and see Big Love (If there was a rating between “put it off” and “skip it” that’s where I’d put Big Love)
…skip it. SEE THIS SHOW

At Wright Memorial theater, 8:00 tonight (Wright seats a lot of people so you could probably get a ticket at the door). Tickets are $6 for students.

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One thought on “Arts Runoff: BIG LOVE

  1. Hey just a thought… maybe don’t give away the entire plot in your overview? I don’t think folks are going to believe it’s a comedy after reading that.
    Glad these reviews are continuing.

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