Jamie Kuntz, A&E Editor
The University of Dallas drama department consistently produces shows that not only entertain, but provide a venue for UD students to do what they do best: think. This semester’s mainstage production, Big Love by Charles L. Mee, finds itself in the unique position of completely deviating from the department’s norm while still retaining the classic elements that the university holds dear.
A modernized version of Aeschylus’ The Suppliant Women, Big Love is about 50 sisters who are being forced to marry their 50 cousins against their wills. Instead of passively allowing this to happen, the girls take action—first by fleeing the country, and then by making a pact to murder their grooms on their wedding night.
“I have always loved Chuck Mee’s work,” said director Stefan Novinski, when asked why he chose the play. “He’s a historian who combines contemporary culture with the Greeks. I’ve been wanting to do this play at UD for a long time, and, looking around, I knew that I had the cast to do it this semester. Really, it all begins with the cast.”
Novinski said that UD students in particular will appreciate the show, not only because it puts a classical story in a contemporary context, but because it deals with themes to which students will be able to relate.
“Rarely do we find a play that deals with themes that we all deal with at UD, in which almost all the characters fit in the same age range as our students,” Novinski said. “This is a show about how difficult love is. It explores all the civilizing aspects of love, and how love is both a private institution and a public one. After all, the play is one big wedding.”
Big Love also provides a new challenge for the actors.
“It’s going to be the first play we’ve done in a while in which the students are completely naked emotionally,” Novinski said. “There’s no accents, there’s no verse, there’s no time period shift, and so it gives the students the great opportunity for the most visceral, honest acting that we’ve done. I also don’t think that we’ve done any plays that have references to Euripides, Dusty Springfield, and MAC lipgloss. It’s crazy. It’s the most contemporary play we’ve done.”
Novinski suggests that everyone reserve tickets as soon as possible, because they are already selling out. Big Love will be running in the Margaret Jonsson Theater until Sunday, April 14, with nightly showings at 8 p.m. and a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m.