by Oscar G. Borello
This semester two students from the theater department have put together an exciting play called The Lover for their senior thesis project.
Erika Armstrong and Eric Mulholland are performing The Lover for the University of La Verne community from Thursday, Sept. 29 to Sunday, Oct. 2 in the Cabaret Theater at 7:30 p.m.
The Associated Student Federation (ASF) Forum has 25 free tickets available per night. The cost is $3 for students or whatever the students can afford. This is to encourage students to come and enjoy what these two actors have worked so hard to accomplish without any inhibitions involving cost.
The play itself is a work by the renowned British playwright Harold Pinter, and revolves around some of the dilemmas involved with relationships and the alienation that comes of the possible loss of true, meaningful love.
Pinter’s work generally has a feeling of malevolence and a black humor, which gives a dimension of the unknown, and this particular piece proves to be no exception.
Although it revolves around some painful issues and is a strongly emotional piece, it has a large humorous element as well. The play was written in 1963, and though modified somewhat to fit society today, it has the same relationship to our times as it did 30 years ago.
This play relies heavily upon intimacy, which is the reason the setting will take place in the Cabaret Theater. It will be presented in “theater in the round” a method in which every angle and action can be viewed at all times from every direction
A major challenge in the production is the fact that there are only two players and no breaks or intermissions, in which they must concentrate on 40 pages of dialogue, leaving them vulnerable at every step of the presentation.
The characters themselves are another consideration because of their diversity and the way their lives are muddled together by reality and fantasy. They are constantly forced to change their roles and modify the entire mind frame as the story progresses, a difficult thing for an actor to do. Dr. David Flaten, theater department chair and director of The Lover said, “This play requires a lot of range on the part of the actor and they are required to make decisions at any given moment.”
The challenges presented by this play are all part of the reason Armstrong and Mulholland chose this to be their culminating thesis project. There was a large pool of plays under consideration, but this one was always of particular interest to the two. Mulholland said, “We wanted a senior project that was really challenging,” and they decided this was a challenge worth taking.
The Lover is a comedy with many dimensions. It is also an observation of relationships in our times, thus giving the piece a quality of timelessness because the feelings and emotions involved with love have always been the same, regardless of the age. It is both funny and painful to see the two lovers still needing each other after a 10 year marriage while struggling with inner turmoil.
The two actors clicked from the onset and have been successful together in developing this production. Armstrong says, “Eric is the best person to work with, because he is the eternal optimist and is constantly working, he doesn’t let up.”
Dr. Flaten felt that it was a pleasure to have worked with the two actors “who have developed and learned the craft well.” He also said that this is one of the best thesis projects that has come out of the La Verne Theatre Department.
This is an open-ended project in which everyone can get their own message or develop their own theme. The audience is invited into the two desperate characters’ living room to observe a mystery unfold while the lovers battle the turmoil brought about by relationships.