Big Love in the IB Theater Class


Caroline Andrews, Features Editor

The IB Higher Level Theatre Class has been working diligently on the IB Spring Show. This year, the class has collectively chosen a modern retelling of Aeschylus’s classic work, The Suppliant. This is a shocking story of fifty young women who run away from their arranged marriages. Charles L. Mee, a modern playwright, has adapted this play into the modern performance, Big Love. Big Love retains the plot and passion of the original work, but it also incorporates contemporary issues and humor.

The IB students have made this text their own through their student director, Anne McEvoy, co-director, Taylor Jackson, and their skilled cast and artistic team. McEvoy has chosen a very interesting stage design in the Lower School Activity Room for this play. The stage is in a thrust formation, which means the audience will be surrounding the performers on three sides. McEvoy believes making the performers visible to the whole audience in this three quarter thrust has been the most difficult artistic challenge during this rehearsal process.

The other major feat the performers have been working on is a new direction technique called Viewpoints. The cast has welcomed a guest artist, Ms. Terri Parker. Parker has been working with the cast to teach them a new way to think above how they move on stage. This new type of movement focuses on different techniques to approach spacial relations, gesture, and time. This changes how the actors act and interact with others. This has been very helpful as the cast learns how to deal with this very movement-heavy piece. McEvoy says they have used Viewpoints to pushed them to use “stylized movement that ‘represents’ instead of ‘shows.'”

This production has been an emotional one for the senior members of the cast and crew. The eleven seniors in this production are Niklas Abbings, Kerryn Strowd, Anne McEvoy, Sara Desantis, Cates McLean, Will Hamilton, Steven Till, Justin Trenor, Chris Sherman, Harrison Johnson, and Cala Adair. Cates McLean and Harrison Johnson describe this experience as very “bittersweet,” but they are now just focusing on getting the show in shape for their opening night on April 17.

Big Love is a classic tale with a sharp, contemporary twist. One theme that has been emphasized in this work is the relationship between men and women. McEvoy says this is the theme that will resonate the most with the Chirst Church student who goes to see it. “I think they [deal with this theme] in a comedic way, but I think the opinions are so offensive in a way I think you can’t see the play and not form your own opinions.” Cates McLean agrees that the “importance of gender roles and the importance of breaking them” is a major message that pulsates through the work.

Though this work deals with multiple serious issues, it still manages to be a very enjoyable performance. Harrison Johnson says this show is definitely the “craziest thing we’ve done in a while,” and that is what he thinks students should be most excited to see. The show opens on April 17, and runs through Friday April 19. This is sure to be an interesting performance, and every Upper School student should try to attend.