By Aaron Kiel
University of La Verne senior James D. Tittle is directing “Fool for Love,” which runs Feb. 23, 24 and 25 at 7:30 p.m. in the Cabaret Theatre. For his senior project, Tittle, a theatre major, chose to direct and produce the one act play by Sam Shepard.
“Fool for Love” is a slice of life. The audience gets a glimpse into the lives of Eddie, a rodeo stuntman, played by junior David Held, and May, a short-order cook, played by ULV alumna Kimber Tanaka. Set in a seedy motel on the edge of the Mojave Desert, the characters are consumed by their destructive and often abusive love/hate relationship.
The two have been lovers since high school, but Eddie often abandons May for long periods of time. May accuses Eddie of “sleeping around” with a countess, while she makes dates with a local groundskeeper.
Freshman S. Baker Eatmon plays Martin, the local groundskeeper who comes by the motel to take May to the movies. Erik Johnson plays an old man who sits to one side of the stage and reacts throughout the dialogue. In the climax, the audience discovers the true relationship between the characters.
The cast explains that the play is about getting caught up in cycles and being trapped in the same thing your parents did, even though you know it’s bad.
“It shows a dark side of life,” said Eatmon.
“It’s about relationships with parents. It’s about not being trapped or caught in the same thing your parents did. I like these themes a lot,” said Tittle.
Tittle said he chose this project because it stuck out and really hit him.
“It’s a shocking play,” said Tittle. “I want students to come see this play and think about their lives and their relationships with their parents, and are they clones of their parents. I want them to identify with Eddie and May.”
The director and cast said they have been working hard on the project for the past five weeks.
“We work on it every weeknight at least three hours,” said Held. “On my own, I’ve been working on it at least two hours a day.”
“I learned a lot about directing,” said Tittle. “As a director I have to learn how everyone [the actors] works. It’s my job to figure out how they work and meet them where they are.
“Shepard is not easy to direct. It’s an easy set, easy lighting, but it’s not an easy story or easy characters,” he said. “The actors are battling through the script so I damn well better be there doing the same thing.”
“I like this play because it challenges me as an actor,” said Tanaka.
Tittle encourages students and faculty to come and watch the play more than once so they can see it from a different perspective.
“Every single night it’s going to be different,” said Tittle. “This play is written so it will take on different dimensions each time. It’s a fantastic piece with a cast that’s incredible. If the audience doesn’t get anything out of it then there’s definitely no point.”
Tickets for “Fool for Love” are $1 and can be reserved by calling Dailey Theatre at ext. 4386. Tickets will also be sold at the door.