‘Love/Sick’ theatre & dance performance

Grace O’Meara, Contributing Writer

On Friday, Sept. 25 and Saturday, Sept. 26, the University’s theatre & dance department premiered this year’s First Year Show: “Love/Sick.” This year, the play was both performed at the Harvey M. Powers Theatre and aired through a live link for all students, faculty and staff, parents and other community members to view.

“Love/Sick” was directed by Emma Battle ’22 and performed by the Class of 2024 theatre cast; the stage manager was Sydney Dickinson ’22 and the film director was Ryan Bremer ’22. 

“When I was first chosen to direct the First Year Show back in December, this is definitely not the show that I imagined putting on. But, I’m so happy with how it all turned out and I’m so thankful that we were able to do any kind of performance at all since many schools are just stopping their theatre programs altogether this semester,” Battle said.

Originally written by playwright John Cariani, “Love/Sick” is a collection of nine short plays that explore the complexity and joy that come from being in love. Each of the nine scenes deals with a new hardship of love and requires two different actors. “’Love/Sick’ is an especially difficult show to direct during COVID-19 because it’s all about relationships, marriages, love-at-first-sight, intimate connections and heartbreak, which are all very difficult to portray when actors can’t touch each other, can’t be within six feet of each other and can’t even be in the same room without masks on,” Battle said.

“Going into a completely virtual show, I had no idea what to expect. The process turned out to be really fun and I was amazed by the final product. It was cool to be a part of the first-ever virtual play here. I think that a lot of my peers share the same positive outlook on this experience,” Kelley Schutte ’24 said. 

The directors and cast were able to adapt and come up with a variety of unique ways to perform the show safely. Leading up to filming, there was a mix of in-person and virtual rehearsals. The cast followed COVID-19 protocols during all of their in-person filmings and recorded scenes all over campus — even one on their professor’s front porch. The directors explored new technological approaches to filming like using split-screen editing and using plexiglass as a prop so actors could interact on either side of it. Battle shared that they even filmed a scene entirely over Zoom “because we had two remote actors calling in from Cambodia and California.” 

Though the first-year show played out differently than everyone imagined this year, it was incredibly successful and a rewarding process for all who were involved. “I honestly couldn’t be happier with the final product and I’m so happy that people were finally able to watch it this past weekend. But more than anything, I’m beyond thankful that I was able to have this opportunity and that I got to work with all of these amazing First Year students,” Battle said. The performance of “Love/Sick” turned out to be an enjoyable event for all those who were able to tune in. 

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