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Charles Mee play “Big Love” attracts big crowds

In the first opening weekend for the University of Maine’s play, “Big Love” took the stage at Hauck Auditorium. The audience was settled around the stage itself, almost as if they were a part of the show. With impressive technical form, stage management and an incredible cast, “Big Love” made a big impression for the people who attended the show.

“Big Love” is a screenplay written by Charles Mee, but its origins are from the Greek play, “The Suppliant Women.” Mee believes in remaking plays so that the stories change and remain current for the generations to follow. “The Suppliant Women” — a tragedy — turned into “Big Love,” which isn’t anything short of an eccentric, boisterous and lively performance. For this rendition, put on by University of Maine School of the Performing Arts and directed by Tom Mikotowicz, the performance reached and exceeded expectations.

The play surrounds a home in Italy and 50 Grecian brides running away from their 50 Grecian grooms. Without diverting from mature content such as consent and violence, this play talks of heavy issues through humor and excellent use of space.

“It was hard, but it was because of that that it was so much fun,” fourth-year English student Derrek Schrader said. “I was here for hours putting the thing together…it was really difficult due to all the technical components.” Schrader, who acted as Co-Props Master and a first-time Stage Manager for the show, is also pursuing a minor in theatre.

Schrader was not the only part of the “Big Love” team trying something new. “The rant scenes were great, and I really liked throwing the sawblades,” fourth-year communication student Willian Krason said. Krason portrayed Od in the play, which was his first production of any kind.

“I’m just really happy to be a part of this cast. Everyone got really close,” first-year theatre and secondary education student Katie Dube said. Dube played Lydia in the production. This was her first production at the University of Maine.

With such a new cast, the play gave an air of freshness for both the cast and the audience.
“This play was really different because there was a lot of new people and it was great to get everyone out there,” third-year mass communication student Taylor Cronin said. She played Bella in the play and is pursuing a minor in both theatre and Spanish.

“I thought it was really well done, intriguing, and thoughtful. It touched on current issues, rights, refugees, and so many other issues,” Lauren Delinski, a second-year undergraduate student who came to watch the show, said.

“I got pulled up to the stage, and I thought, ‘it’s going to be great,’” third-year undergraduate student Michael Belanger said. “I thought it was really funny.”

Despite all the new faces and roles given in this play, others were undeniably veterans. One such example was third-year theatre student Nicole Felix. Felix may have been in every production in some way since she entered the University of Maine system, but that didn’t mean everything came easily. “It took a lot to play Thyona…[her actions] had context so it made sense why she was so angry…but I’m not generally an angry person.” Felix also had a number of backstage roles.

Missed “Big Love” on its opening weekend? Fear not. The play will be running throughout the week, so that others can continue to see the must-see event. Tickets are free with a student MaineCard or are $10 at the ticket booth.

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