When was the last time you attended a Greek wedding in a swimming pool involving fifty cousins? Big Love, written by Charles Mee and directed by Michelle Milne, opens this weekend: a fast-moving, contemporary show based on an ancient Greek play that includes themes of gender, power, refugees and revenge.
The play follows a group of sisters as they flee to Italy seeking refuge with Italian hosts in order to escape a marriage contract betrothing them to their cousins. A variety of opinions are expressed regarding how to deal with the marriage contract; the women argue that they were not consulted about the contract since it was drawn up at birth while the men claim that a contract is binding.
Emily Bowman, a sophomore, Beth Glick, a senior, and Brittany Lentz, a sophomore, represent the sisters as the three brides Thyona, Olympia and Lydia. Phil Stoesz, a junior, Nathan Stoess, a freshman, and Sam Jones, also a freshman, represent the betrothed cousins as Constantine, Oed and Nikos. The Italian family is played by Angie Noah, a senior, as Bella, Adriel Santiago, a junior, as her son Piero, and Patrick Ressler, a junior, as Piero’s nephew Giuliano.
Bowman describes her character as very angry and bitter.
“Thyona is a representation of any woman who has ever felt overshadowed, silenced, abused or objectified by men,” said Bowman. “She speaks out against this injustice in ways that may seem harsh, but in the end, we can all identify with.”
The play is a physically active one, and Milne chose to enhance this aspect.
“Many things are expressed that are not expressed in words,” said Milne.
Milne says the show incorporates underlying themes that help audience members evaluate what a refugee is and what a victim is—and furthermore, whom one chooses to help.
She also stressed the versatility of interpretations audiences can glean from the play.
“Whatever they get from [Big Love] will be right,” she said. “There’s not one way to interpret it.”
Love is one of the prevailing themes running throughout the play, even amidst tragedy. Bowman said that through her exploration of Thyona she came to some conclusions about love.
“Humanity is flawed and, therefore, our love is also flawed, but the question is: do we still cling to it?” she said. “My response would be yes. In the end, it's not about how beautiful and perfect it all was, but rather how you struggled, were bruised and clung to shreds of hope along the way.”
Big Love will open this weekend with performances on Oct. 30 and 31 at 8 p.m, in addition to a 3 p.m. matinee on Nov. 1. The play will run a second weekend with a performance on Nov. 6 at 8 p.m. and Nov. 7 and 8 at 3 p.m. The performance on Nov. 8 will include sign language interpretation. Tickets cost $5 for students and seniors, $8 for general admission, and may be purchased at the GC Welcome Center or by calling (574) 535-7566.