Love is a many-splintered thing
Ah, love. The most complex of human emotions. It’s complicated. Frustrating. Exhilarating.
Who can make sense out of something so… insane?
Allen Community College Theatre Department will try with “Love/Sick,” a play by John Cariani. He wrote “Almost Maine,” which also has been performed locally.
Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday at the ACC Theatre, with some roles portrayed by more than one actor thanks to an over-abundance of talent in this year’s crop of performers.
The play is a series of nine short scenes, each illustrating a different facet of love. The journey begins with scenes full of hope and a touch of uncertainty before turning to the challenging realities of a relationship. Things don’t work out as planned. People change. Marriages fall apart.
And, in the end, couples wonder if it’s worth the struggle.
Carolyn Appleton and Julius Hodges, both of Yates Center, meet at a grocery store and discover they have a little too much in common in “Obsessive/Impulsive,” the opening scene for the play “Love/Sick.” REGISTER/VICKIE MOSS
Plato wrote that love is a serious mental illness.
The introductory sketch takes Plato literally. Two strangers, who meet while shopping, suffer from the same medical condition: obsessive impulsive disorder. They’ve been diagnosed. They’re in treatment.
When they meet, it’s love at first sight. Or is it just their mental illness?
Should they give in? Or get help?
Carolyn Appleton is the woman and Julius Hodges is the man. The two share an undeniable chemistry, appropriate since they spend much of their time on stage with lips locked.
They’re clearly a great match. They speak in unison, debating the pros and cons of giving into their passion or taking the more practical choice of separating forever. Appleton and Hodges make it easy to imagine them living as a quirky happily-ever-after couple, if only they can get past their fears.
Gabriella Fast of Ottawa receives a singing telegram from Ryan Clary of Osawatomie in "The Singing Telegram."
The Singing Telegram
Gabriella Fast is super excited to receive a singing telegram. “How retro!”
Fast takes to the role with gusto. She’s bubbly and optimistic, imagining her recent beau, Gary, as sending the telegram as a proposal. She’s oh-so-happy and can’t wait to hear the song.
The Singing Telegram Man is a bit less enthusiastic. It’s a new job and his first gig. He quickly realizes he’s not quite cut out for the job.
Ryan Clary portrayed the reluctant but sympathetic telegram man in Tuesday night’s dress rehearsal, and he’ll be on stage for Wednesday and Friday performances. Parker Smith will take on the role Thursday and Saturday.
Judd Wiltse of Iola and Brayden Barnes of Spring Hill navigate a new relationship in "What?!?"
The biggest challenge of any relationship, but especially a new one, is figuring out how to communicate.
This sketch features a different duo on different nights. Brayden Barnes and Judd Wiltse play the couple on Wednesday and Friday, with Bobby Whitsell and Morgan Jett on Thursday and Saturday.
Tuesday’s dress rehearsal featured Wiltse as an eager young lover, ready to jump into a new relationship. But Barnes is a bit more hesitant. There’s a reason for his reluctance, which manifests itself in ways that change as the scene progresses. Barnes rises to the challenge of portraying a variety of physical impairments, and Wiltse capably shifts from enthusiastic to empathetic.
Brendan Rogers of Tonganoxie and Haven Harvey deal with wedding day jitters in "The Answer."
It’s the reluctant groom who wants things to be perfect, in this piece about expectations and reality.
The bride, Haven Harvey, has been left at the altar as her groom hides in a bathroom. Brendan Rogers played the role at the dress rehearsal and will be in performances Thursday and Saturday. Bryce Atzbach tackles the job Wednesday and Friday.
The bride and groom spend much of their scene blindfolded, because tradition says a groom can’t see his bride before the wedding.
Their fears are brought on by romantic tropes and outdated ideas, as Harvey and Rogers finally open their eyes to see their relationship is anything but traditional. The two actors rise to the challenge of conveying a series of emotions while blindfolded… and sitting on a toilet.
Jonathan Wall of Iola, left, plays a contented but clueless husband whose world is rocked by dangerous revelations from his bored, frustrated wife, played by Iliana Gallardo of Topeka, in “Uh-Oh.”
Things take a turn with Uh-Oh. If you like your romantic comedies with a side of dark humor, you’ll double over with laughter and shock.
Illiana Gallardo delivers a standout performance as a bored housewife, stuck at home on a Friday night with her clueless husband. Gallardo slowly morphs from a sweet, cheerful partner to a frustrated woman on the edge.
Jonathan Wall perfectly captures the air of complacency, as all he wants to do is sit quietly with his headphones and tablet. His calm, relaxed existence is shaken by his wife’s unexpected and dangerous demands.
Braelyn Falls of Le Roy, foreground, distracts herself from the problems in her marriage to Maxwell Kays of Humboldt in “Lunch and Dinner,” one of nine short scenes in the play “Love/Sick.” Performances by the Allen Community College Theatre Department are at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday at the ACC Theater. REGISTER/VICKIE MOSS
Lunch and Dinner
The fun has faded for this busy professional couple.
Braelyn Falls is distracted by her phone and answers her husband’s routine question with a slip of the tongue.
“What did you have for lunch?” he asks.
“Sex,” she answers.
Shocked, he asks again. “Sex,” she repeats, unaware. “It was really good.”
She meant to say salmon, but it’s too late to take it back. The couple must deal with the fallout as they uncover the cracks in their marriage.
Maxwell Kays delivers a powerful performance as the shattered husband, with faults of his own.
And like any relationship, the real revelations are communicated through body language. Falls and Kays excel during those little moments, like the way they pull away from each other during what should be a tender touch. It’s raw and real.
Melany Dean of Iola and Jake Anderson of Iola play a married couple who "forgot" to have a baby in "Forgot."
Melany Dean is the exasperated wife and Jake Anderson the content, settled husband.
They had a plan, but somewhere along the way they forgot to have a baby. Dean is ready. Her window of opportunity is closing, she insists.
Anderson, meanwhile, is content. He doesn’t understand his wife’s urgency to completely upend their relationship. His calm presence offers a great contrast to Dean’s nervous energy, illustrating the differences between their priorities.
Zohreyha Masuch of Nortonville and Kate Huskey of Lincoln work through their relationship issues in "Where Was I?"
Where Was I?
Zohreyha Masuch and Kate Huskey are the couple who got everything they thought they wanted. Masuch stays home to take care of the kids, while Huskey goes to work.
Masuch is in the basement, looking for a doll, when her partner joins her. Masuch reveals she’s also looking for the parts of herself she gave up in order to create this not-so-happy little family.
But that’s what they decided, Huskey insists. That’s the sacrifice they agreed to make, and she isn’t always happy about it either.
By the time Masuch realizes what she truly wants, it may be too late. Both Masuch and Huskey are challenged to play lovers who question the paths they’ve taken. They’re at times insistent, at times uncertain, at times loving and supportive, and at times cold and distant. There’s hope, but only if their characters can figure out how to share those emotions at the right time.
Austin Wickwire of Garnett and Kaitlyn Hanks of Redfield reunite in a grocery store in "Destiny."
The final sketch takes us back to where it all began, to an aisle of that certain supercenter and another chance encounter.
This time, it’s a couple of exes. It’s been years since they’ve seen each other, and they’re both single again after other failed relationships. Perhaps fate has brought them together for a second chance.
Austin Wickwire and Kaitlyn Hanks play the reunited couple. They’re at first hesitant, not sure how to handle this unexpected reunion. Their passion is reignited. Once again, you have a couple kissing and making out in the aisle of a grocery store.
Hanks and Wickwire share an easy familiarity as former lovers who navigate through complicated emotions and history. They’re nervous and hesitant, then hopeful and enthusiastic, then realistic as they finally address their own failures and needs.
As they reminisce, the final scene takes us back through the course of the play. Their relationship, it seems, mimics those from earlier scenes. The course of true love never runs straight, but it’s a familiar path.
TICKETS for the show are $5. There is no charge for ACC students, faculty and staff.
Directors are Tony Piazza and Adrienne Fleming.