Nature of love explored in ‘Big Love’

Weddings and chaos tend to go hand-and-hand. The theatre and dance department amplify that mayhem in its newest performance “Big Love.”

“Big Love” is the story of 50 girls betrothed to their 50 cousins by contract. Not wanting to get married, they flee from Greece and arrive at an Italian villa where they ask to be taken care of.

“What I love about the play is, you know it’s called “Big Love,” so it’s a play about the nature of love, but also what is one human’s responsibility to another,” said Al-Shamma.

The play is based on “The Danaids,” one of the western world’s oldest plays.

“It’s not realism, although there are sections where it is realistic. It’s punctuated by strange activities likes characters throwing themselves down on the ground in anger,” said Director James Al-Shamma. “We have a very chaotic wedding scene where all kinds of crazy stuff happens.”

Miles Gatrell and Gina D’Arco chose this play as a part of senior capstone series and it will be performed in the Black Box Theatre on Compton Avenue.

“It’s definitely not like a show Belmont has done in the past,” said D’Arco.

Because of the new additions into the department, the students chose a play with a large ensemble cast. Gatrell takes the male lead role of Nikos while D’Arco plays the female counterpart Lydia. The production will also showcase the physical abilities of the actors.

“It involves a lot of physical exertion on our part. We all have bruises, so we’re all working hard,” said D’Arco.

This adaptation written by Charles Mee brings a modern feel to the production while still keeping in details that pay tribute to the original play.

“It’s really postmodern. A lot of the action is scored by music, which the playwright calls for. We substituted some other music in there. It’s a big messy play and a very playful play,” said Al-Shamma.

Rehearsals for the play started on Jan. 6, but set and costume design started in the middle of the fall semester.

“We have a pool on stage and a fountain, which is fun to have. Also the designers have done a great job. It is, in my opinion, a beautiful show to look at,” said Al-Shamma.

Since the play itself delves deeper into human responsibility, Al-Shamma said he will consider the play a success based not on attendance but on audience reaction.

“If it makes people think and also moves people at the same time … These are characters with big ideas, but they are also characters with big emotions and big passions,” said Al-Shamma.

The first show will be Friday at 7:30 p.m., with shows on Saturday at 2 p.m. and on Sunday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The ticket prices are $8 for general admission; $4 for faculty, students, alumni and seniors; and Belmont students attend for free.

If free tickets aren’t enough of a draw, the cast believes there might be some additional motivation for the audience.

“There’s a man in a dress. That should be incentive to come,” said D’Arco.

#BelmontTheaterDepartment #BigLove #BlackBoxTheater #TheDanaids

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