“Big Love” Was A Many Splendored ThingOctober 13, 2010 —
A timeless tale of the complexity of love, of the complexities embedded in life, Big Love juxtaposed comedy with tragedy through extensive representations of gender roles. The play, adapted from the Greek tragedy The Suppliants, infuses traditional elements of Greek theater with modernized references and outlandish comedic stunts. The director of the play Beth Milles explains, “It’s such a dark play with comedy and because it is so extreme, it’s real. Comedy is inherent in life.”
A woman walks briskly onto the stage, her wedding dress falling to the ground, leaving her completely nude. She’s unaware that her yacht has reached Italian short, and she has inadvertently trespassed onto a family’s home. 50 Greek brides have just fled their arranged marriages to their 50 Greek fiancés, who also happen to be their cousins.
More critical than the narrative plot are the implications of the personalities involved. Thyona, played by Sharisse Taylor ‘11, is a powerful, intense feminist who leads her sisters in a campaign against the existence of the male. Olympia, played by Alexandra Bradley ‘11, is seemingly a girly-girl in dire need of a man’s protection, but on a deeper level is a strong go-getter, Bradley said. Lydia, played by Bridget Saracino ’11, is a fragile romantic who spends the majority of the play debating her feelings towards the opposite sex.
The male counterparts in the play each bring wit them stifled aggression and hatred towards the expectations that society holds for them as “macho males.” Yet there is epic compassionate love between Lydia and her romantic and anxiety ridden match Nikos, played by James Miller ’12.
Each character is complicated thus supplying the play’s actors with difficult roles to portray. Myles Rowland ’11, who played one of the more radical characters, Giuliano, said of his character, “He’s just a person. There isn’t one way to view him. He’s dealing with things about himself, and he discovers that he likes to be submissive, and that’s okay.
The play is ultimately composed of messages about the essence of humanity, of helping and relating to one another. “We’re all goddesses descended from Zeus,” Lydia says during the play.
The cast itself contained “Big Love,” Taylor said. And for those individuals looking to get involved in theater at Cornell, Jorge Silva ’12 who played Oed, suggests simply going for it. “It really is about having a good time,” he said.
The play was produced extremely well, each actor morphing into his or her role. “Big Love” is all about raw emotion. Life has its glory, its happiness, and its sorrow. We must feel everything, and we must appreciate every second of our heartache, of our adventure, and of every minuscule moment.