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Blind dates and heart break in “Becky Shaw”

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Gracie Griffiths (‘19) performs in Storre Theaters.

Gracie Griffiths (‘19) performs in Storre Theaters.

Photography by Brittany

Photography by Brittany

Gracie Griffiths (‘19) performs in Storre Theaters.

Sam Mitchell, Staff Writer

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In the play “Becky Shaw,” a blind date implodes and relationship drama explodes. The show, written by Gina Giofriddo and directed by Visiting Director Jennifer Thomas, was performed in Storre Theatre on April 28 and 29. Two more performances hosted by Visual Performing Arts will take place on May 5 at 7:30 and 6 at 1:30. 

The play is set in a modern society and explores the lives of Susanne Slater, performed by Steffi Sea (‘19) and Max Garrett, performed by Josh Weisenburger (‘17).

The story focuses on Slater’s economic situation after the death of her father. In the first scene, the relationship between Slater and her family friend, Garrett, a financial shark, is explored, which sets the intimate tone for the rest of the play.

Eva Gemlo (‘17) who portrayed Slater’s mother, drew a connection between “Becky Shaw” and this year’s Paideia theme “Who Do You Trust?”

“The people in the show are normal people,” Gemlo said. “They’ve been through stuff that has shattered their lives and it is that kind of thing that makes people do desperate things. Then you have to question who you can actually trust.”

Gemlo’s character had multiple sclerosis, and found portraying her bitter personality challenging.

“I was just filled with frustration and anger,” Gemlo said. “That’s how the character works. So it’s trying to balance between this really cruel character who says awful things to her daughter and people that she loves, but also finding the weakness within that because she is the villain.”

Sea found playing Slater  difficult because she did not identify her character.

“What you find out in the show is that every character in the show has a dark side,” Sea said. “It’s hard to find the balance of how to play with the character so that you don’t judge them and can play them effectively.”

Photography by Brittany
Ryan Pierce (‘17) and Gracie Griffiths (‘19) perform an emotional scene in “Becky Shaw.”

Audience member Kate Morin (‘18) enjoyed the production.

“‘Becky Shaw’ was a great play with complex characters and an engaging plot,” Morin said.

Thomas was chosen as a visiting director from St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY. She wanted the audience to realize that all of the characters are flawed and working to try and make a connection with each other.

“The thing to take away from this play is finding where the people are in our lives that carry that weight with them of feeling flawed or unworthy, and where can we alleviate that,” Thomas said.

The student performers said that they learned a great deal from the experience.

“The main thing we learned is how to actively release these emotional maneuvers that we put ourselves into all the time,” Weisenburger said.

Weisenburger found the show to be indicative of life itself.

“These are different people in a different world trying their best to figure life out,” Weisenburger said. “No one in the show is perfect and they don’t have to be.”

Weisenburger felt that the show was a success with the audience.

“If a show like this can cultivate empathy or recognition in its audience where they begin to have a really good discussion about these complex feelings that people have, then I feel that we’ve done our job,” Weisenburger said.     

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