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‘Big Love’ and ‘Martyr’ featured in fall theater season

By Angela Mendez

Section: Arts

September 2, 2016

’Tis a new academic year, and excitement is overflowing everywhere, especially within the art scene. The Department of Theater Arts showcases different theater productions yearly. Many look forward to seeing how each theater production will unfold because the performances will be without a doubt spectacular. Below is a brief introduction to two such shows, “Big Love” and “Martyr,” including opinions of critics of other performances.

‘Big Love’

by Charles Mee

Directed by Rebecca Bradshaw

Based on “The Danaids,” an old Western world play by Aeschylus, “Big Love” tells the story of 50 brides fleeing their husbands to-be, who happen to be their cousins. These women seek refuge in a modern Italian manor; the play even features helicopters. Though the brides escape their fiancés, the 50 grooms soon find their brides and force the women to marry them. While the brides and grooms wait for their wedding day, the characters raise important issues of gender, politics, love and violence.

Alvin Klein, a critic from The New York Times, explained that the play’s main plot “represents prenuptial entrapment, not agreement. Throughout the play, the grooms insist that the marriage must go on—even if it is evident that the brides do not want to marry and that doing so is against their will. Here, it can be seen that marriage is not based on agreements whatsoever. Instead of being harmonious and joyful, an expectation that many couples share, it can be seen from the very beginning that these women have no voice in what they want. There is constant clashing between the men and the women.

The play leaves the audience members frowning upon the grooms’ attitude toward the brides. It makes them question love, entitlement and what these words truly mean. It also makes the audience question whether the problems among the characters still exist today between people in real life.

“Big Love” will be showcased on Oct. 20-23 in the Laurie Theater in Spingold.

‘Martyr’

by Marius von Mayenburg

Translated by Maja Zade

Directed by Dmitry Troyanovsky (TA)

Benjamin refuses to participate in some activities at school that most of his peers do without a problem. For instance, he refuses to swim at school, whereas his peers swim without causing any commotion. Benjamin’s mother wrongfully believes that he is on drugs or has issues regarding his body, but this is not the case. Rather, Benjamin is religious and has a profound appreciation for God. The mixed-gender swimming lessons simply offend him. Since this play focuses on a child tackling a very serious topic, Benjamin will mainly be struggling with acquiring acceptance and dealing with people who will probably dismiss his feelings because of his age. Religious fundamentalism, tolerance and teenage angst are also depicted in this darkly funny, timely play.

“Martyr” impacts diverse audience members by shocking them. Lyn Gardner, a writer for The Guardian, wrote, “It leaves them shocked because this play addresses significant societal issues. It tackles them in an astute manner. Though we live in an era where many people are more open-minded than what they used to be, there are still some people who inevitably judge others based on their identity. It is sad to admit, but it is the truth. This play teaches the audience how important ‘tolerance of prejudices’ is.”

This play will be showcased on Nov. 17-20 in the Laurie Theater in Spingold.

And there you have it. These will be the two main theater productions shown this semester. It will be exciting, educating and spectacular indeed. Make sure to keep your eye out for these upcoming plays!

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