Love trumps all...or does it?
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When 50 brides forced to marry their 50 cousins flee the weddings and seek refuge in an Italian villa, only to be tracked down by the jilted bridegrooms...well, you can imagine. But you don't have to, because master playwright Charles Mee has taken the idea to its dramatic and comic extremes.
Mee's wild romp Big Love—complete with Greek choruses, fights, romance, special effects, tumbling, and grisly murders—will open at 8 p.m., Thursday, March 29, in the David Thayer Theatre of the University of Iowa Theatre Building.
Additional performances of this Mainstage production will be at 8 p.m., March 30-31, April 4-7, and April 12-14. There also will be an April Fool's Day matinee at 2 p.m.
"Big Love is just that, big, bordering on extreme, both in its narrative and its methods of storytelling," says faculty director Paul Kalina, who has been an invited artist with Cirque du Soleil. "Chuck Mee has created an over-the-top roller coaster ride that in its highly physical, violent, comical, tender, and outrageous elements encapsulates the capricious nature of love."
Kalina, who makes his Mainstage debut with this production, teaches movement studies in the Department of Theatre Arts. A founding member of the Chicago physical theater company 500 Clowns, he has performed its shows throughout the United States and England.
He served as director of clowning, fights, and movement for several productions, and he co-created the clown duo Le Pamplemousse and the critically acclaimed clown acrobatic duo the Bumblinni Brothers.
Photos from rehearsal show the physical athleticism required of the cast. Photos courtesy of the UI Department of Theatre Arts.
"The first time I read Big Love I was thrilled by the extreme physicality and charmed by the humor. The second time I read it, I was struck by the poetry and beauty. The third time I read it, I couldn’t figure out why I liked the play in the first place. By the fourth reading and each thereafter, I am awestruck by the play’s ability to capture the many facets, incarnations, and capricious nature of love that inevitably leads us to the same conclusion, 'love trumps all'…. does it?"
Tickets for this production, which includes adult content, are $17 ($12 for senior citizen; $10 for youth; and $5 for UI student with valid UI ID) and are available from the Hancher box office.