By: Teresa Sarkela –
This fall, Rocky Mountain College’s drama department has caught a comically tragic ailment: John Cariani’s newest play, entitled Love/Sick. Love/Sick examines the sometimes comic, often inevitable, hardships one faces when loving and growing with another person. The New-York based playwright followed a distinctive writing style with the creation of Love/Sick, a compilation of vignettes strung together by a unifying theme and plenty of quirks. Through each hardship, Cariani’s ability shines in taking the heartbreak most have experienced and identifying the humor in it.
In performing Love/Sick, the RMC drama department also had the privilege of working directly with Cariani. Earlier this month, the playwright made his first visit to Montana to meet director Professor Gerry Roe and the cast to refine the script in preparation for its Off- Broadway premiere. Cariani began writing Love/Sick in 2009 at High Point University in North Carolina. Since then, the script has undergone a series of rewrites and been produced professionally only five times. RMC’s production will be the final performance of the script before the play moves to Off-Broadway in New York. “It seems only fitting to make some finishing touches on the play with the help of college students and faculty,” said Cariani. “I have learned that I love developing new work at colleges and universities. I encourage them to challenge me, the writing, the play where it frustrates them!”
Acting directly with the playwright has allowed the cast to understand more about the intention behind the writing and their characters. “When I first heard he was coming, I thought it would just be to observe the script in action. I had no idea he was going to be so involved,” said senior theatre performance major Richard Leeds. “This was a great opportunity to grow as artists and creators.”
As the cast absorbed their work with Cariani, the playwright ultimately challenged RMC to “play the truth of the moment, obey the stakes, [and] feel deeply.” The script simultaneously presents an incredible risk and great test for the young actors and actresses of the cast, Cariani said, depicting the struggles of each character with an honesty to which all audiences can relate. The subjects of the vignettes range from a woman being broken-up with through a singing telegram, to a homosexual couple struggling to say “I love you” to one another.
“That’s one of the incredible things about the script,” said junior Tessa Frasier. “Everyone can relate to a moment where they had to do something difficult because it was the right thing to do.”
The RMC drama department invites you to catch Love/Sick opening Friday, October 3, at 7:30 p.m. and running October 4, 8, 9, 10 and 11 at Billings Studio Theater. Admission prices will be listed at the door but, on Wednesday October 8, it will be free to Rocky students. According to reviewers, side effects of this delightfully comic tragedy may include happy heartbreak, tears of joy, and contagious laughter.