My first time walking into the Gearan Center was an impressive feat – the scope of the building is huge and intimidating. After wandering the halls for a while, I was finally able to find and talk to Professor Chris Woodworth, the director of HWS Mainstage’s fall production Love/Sick, written by playwright John Cariani, author of the critically acclaimed play Almost, Maine. With nine individual “scenes,” which function independently as separate plays, and collectively as the life and death of a larger, universal relationship, this production features the largest cast to grace the stage of McDonald theatre. Woodworth characterizes the eighteen-member group as wonderful: incredibly diverse, with a contagious energy – overall, a joyful bunch.
With a bigger cast, the play’s separation into a series of shorter plays allows greater flexibility, which was helpful in recruiting and rebuilding the department after the graduation of a large group of active theatre students – Love/Sick could not be a better play to welcome seven first-year actors, and three first-year assistant stage managers to the HWS theatre department. The combination of new and returning students has made the structure of the play even more meaningful – with only two actors per scene, the relationships formed within and outside of the play, between cast and crew members, have developed into great friendships and mentorships across colleges.
While Wren Andrews, the stage manager for the production, says the large cast makes managing the play a bit crazy, she adamantly vouched for the incredible spirits of each and every individual cast member, praising their commitment and energy. “They really make it easy for me, even though I’ve never done this before,” she explained. “I actually look forward to going into rehearsal each evening to collaborate with them. I love seeing all their smiling faces!”
Though performance and academics in the theatre department are wildly different, putting on a show wouldn’t be the same without the support of the entire Theatre Department. Its small size, featuring involved faculty and bright, welcoming students, creates a community unlike any other on the HWS campus – and they excitedly invite anyone interested in pursuing theatre on campus to reach out, whether it be through classes, mainstage productions, work in the shop, Mosaic New York, or The Phoenix Players, the student theatre group on campus.
Set on a Friday night in an ordinary suburban town, John Cariani’s Love/Sick details the beauty and complexity of love through the context of successes and failures in communication that restore (and end!) relationships. I wish the cast and crew the best of luck and a great turnout. Learning about the play and meeting the people behind it has definitely sold me on Love/Sick.
John Cariani’s Love/Sick premieres October 18th at 7:30 p.m.. Other showtimes include October 19th and 20th at 7:30 p.m., and October 20th at 2:00 p.m. Anyone interested in attending can purchase tickets the week leading up to the show in the lobby of the Gearan Performing Arts Center for $5. Students may arrive an hour prior to showtime for a chance to receive free rush tickets.