We interact with people in life in a variety of ways. Friendships are important on so many levels, but a lot of people tend to place more emphasis on romantic relationships. These are the people we come to know closely and maybe even better than our best friends. A romantic relationship may lead into a serious commitment that could last the rest of your life. Sometimes they don’t end well, but the importance of the experience cannot be understated.
In “A Trois,” three actors demonstrate the many different beliefs and experiences that people have involving romantic love and relationships. This is done through a series of monologues and short scenes, though the play has a bit of a twist: there are no set characters or obvious scene shifts. The play flows effortlessly from one moment to the next, which could lead to confusion for the audience. (The actors were confused at first too.)
The shifts in the show also make it difficult for the actors. Often, there are rapid shifts in emotion, meaning the actors must go from playing something serious, immediately into something comedic or vice versa. It’s not easy to go up and down on the emotional scale in such a short period of time, but my cast has put some amazing work into what could have been hard for many people.
Directing this show has been a unique personal challenge. I’ve only directed a comedy piece prior to this, which was much easier when compared to “A Trois.” Working with drama needs a serious director and cast, people who know how to get down to business and get to the heart of the issues at hand. Preparation for the show involved a serious amount of rehearsal time dedicated to just talking about the script and how the words expressed certain emotions based on emphasis. Eventually, my cast and I came to some solid conclusions about the show that I think will be really interesting to watch on stage.
Another challenge of this production is the fact that I had to cast and work with my friends: senior theatre and communication arts major Cristen Manion, junior biology major Ethan Kelley and sophomore theatre and communication arts major Zak Westfall. Choosing them to work with over other people was difficult at first, but the challenge of directing your friends is not one that is easily undertaken. A director has to be firm and kind, but they also have to get the results they want from the cast. Saying “no” to ideas they had that I didn’t want to use was difficult, but I think we came to some good compromises with the show.
“A Trois” has been a learning experience for both the cast and myself. We’ve worked hard and produced a piece of theatre that will hopefully be interesting, enjoyable and thought-provoking. Just like many relationships, we’ve had our ups and downs, but we’ve come out better on the other side for having the experience.
“A Trois” runs tonight, March 20 and Friday, March 21 at 8:00 p.m. at the Schuster Theatre. Tickets are available at the door for $5.