Student plays show the darker side of love -rws -jcr -dlh

Meghan McCallum

The festival consisted of three short plays, each written, directed, and performed by Lawrence students. The first, “All of Me,” was written by Aram Monisoff and Michael Papincak, with the latter also directing. It featured a mysterious “love counselor” named Zarlo (Devin Sheaf) and a man named Henry (Monisoff) who seeks out Zarlo’s help to trick his coworker Dawn (Holly Bittinger) to go on a blind date with him. The plan does not exactly go smoothly, as Zarlo insists on various competitions between the two and then yells at Henry when he cannot beat Dawn. Finally, Dawn is disgusted with Henry after Zarlo hypnotizes him into revealing his true feelings about wanting a weak, inferior girlfriend. Henry ends up alone with Zarlo as Dawn storms off.
Monisoff said that the plot was based on a mixture of past experiences but more so of reality TV shows and the images they portray of weak women and stronger men. He added that the play went very well, especially considering how quickly everything was put together. Co-writer Michael Papincak mentioned that all the students involved cooperated well in all aspects of the production, including costuming, lighting, acting, and directing.
Next on the program was “The Wedding,” written and directed by Brad Lindert. The play takes place during the wedding of Jenny (Octavia Driscoll) and Jeff (Matt Fager). Just as the minister (Lindert) is about to pronounce the couple man and wife, a stranger dressed in black (David Hanzal) appears and declares his objection to the wedding. No one has any idea who he is, but he insists that the wedding must stop. To the astonishment of Jenny and Jeff, the stranger actually convinces the minister and the couple’s parents (Stacy Scott, Andy York, Michael Papincak, and Siri Hellerman) to leave the wedding. Confused and heartbroken, Jenny and Jeff can only stand at the altar in each other’s arms and cry.
The third and final play performed last weekend was “Bridesmaid”, written by Kass Kuehl and directed by Monisoff. It follows the story of Olivia (Kuehl), a woman secretly struggling with mixed emotions over her pregnancy with her boyfriend Michael (Asher Perlman). Olivia’s two sisters Arianna (Erin Tonn) and Micha (Cami Bowers), unaware of her situation, come to visit Arianna, who announces her engagement to a man she met just two weeks ago. After the sisters leave, Michael and Olivia talk and realize that their lack of communication had caused even more problems. It turns out that just that morning Olivia had gotten an abortion. Michael had finally decided that he did indeed want to keep the baby, as well as finally marry Olivia.
“Bridesmaid” actor Asher Perlman said that he was impressed with the writing and acting of this play, and that “Aram is a really good director. He knows what he wants in the play and how to communicate it,” he said.
The hard work of all those involved in “Love… and Aftermaths” paid off to result in a much-appreciated show. All three performances were captivating and emotional, taking the audience through a rollercoaster of admiration, rejection, forbidden love, and misunderstandings. According to Monisoff and Papincak, the love theme was not planned before the plays were chosen, but these three plays showed that love does not make for smooth sailing. Surely this came as a relief to those Valentine’s Day-haters out there … it’s just another day, right?