This group is for members of Ryan Donovan’s discussion sections in Hunter College’s Spring 2015 Introduction to Theatre course.
"Big Love" Review by Katlyn Zito
- March 23, 2015 at 1:21 am #1841
February 20, 2015
February 19, 2015
Big Love was a visual masterpiece for any audience member viewing this performance. The play’s visuals were not only explicit but comedic as well. The story surrounds a group of three sisters struggling to escape their fate of arranged marriage. Thyona was stubborn, Olympia was naive and Lydia was open hearted. The audience watches individual journeys of the sisters branching away from arranged love and finding their own “Big Love.” This play involves a lot of movements from the actors while using a variety of props for scenes. Sitting in the front row of this performance definitely was significant because the visual dynamics of the props were right in your face. Whether it was getting squirted by the tomatoes being slammed or the glass almost hitting my face, the front row was truly an experience. Three visuals that stood out to me were the girls slamming on the floor, the cutting off of the genital during the wedding scene and the rice being thrown at the end. Visuals in Big Love were definitely the most successful part of the whole performance.
In the beginning of the play, there was a moment that brought the sisters together as a unified group. The moment occurred as the sisters were explaining their disgust for their arranged marriages. Each sister evolved from their views throughout the play but for now they all had the same mindset. As the sisters were getting more frustrated they began slamming their bodies on the floor in utter rage. As they were doing this they were proclaiming how men did not understand a women’s role in a relationship. The slamming was consistent with their increase of anger and frustration. The slamming was so hard to the floor that one of the actor’s facial expressions changed. The actor that played Thyona became completely out of focus as her facial expression changed. One of the hits made her facial expression change from anger to distress in the matter of seconds. She even said “holy shit” while looking away to the right side, which made only the front row see the words. The hits became symbolic as the beginning of their turning away from tradition and wanting more out of men. The slamming for the sisters also showed the theme of feminism. The sisters were proclaiming that they didn’t need men to live and how they feel disposed by these men. This is an example of anything a man can accomplish; women can accomplish, which is feminism. The slamming was also a foreshadowing for the audience. As the play continued the men portrayed the exact same slamming on the floor. The men although doing the same motion, had views of women not understanding men. Generally the moment of the slamming of the floor was shown as a helpful visual for the audience to understand a specific concept. The specific concept was the sexist views of both the men and women. The moment, although being helpful, only lasted for a minute.
At the end of Big Love, there was a wedding scene that had chaotic and sporadic visuals occurring. Through this scene you had moments ending while other moments were just beginning. For example when the killing of Thyona’s husband ended, the visual of Giuliano in a women’s wedding dress started. It was very difficult to just focus on one moment because the fast paced scenes were flying by so drastically. One moment though that caught my eye was the cutting off of Olympia’s fiancés genitals. As everything is in chaos on stage, all of a sudden this massive amount of blood spurs out. The blood was from Olympia castrating the genitals then putting it into a blender. At first I was surprised that they would even show an outrageous act on stage. This moment that only lasted a minute had a hidden message within. The hidden message being a woman taking away a man’s masculinity. As Olympia was cutting off the genitals, it shown how woman are so powerful over men that we can take away their strength. Even though men think they have the upper hand, women can easily take it away as shown in this moment. The visual of this moment felt realistic. It almost looked as if she actually did do this gruesome action. Olympia’s facial expression also shown the scene as a crazy and outrageous stunt. Her eyes were bulged out and her teeth were cringed together. She was definitely showing amazing acting skills in this moment. Overall the cutting off the genitals had a symbolic meaning for men’s masculinity being taken away. The visual effects of the blood spurting out and the blender were comedic but also graphic.
The final moment that struck out was the rice being thrown during the last scene. Before the rice was thrown, Lydia and Nico were seeking approval from Olympia and Thyona. They were pleading how when they actually got to know each other they fell in love. Eventually Olympia and Thyona understood the love Nico and Lydia really had so they approved. After this scene the whole cast was stage right where I was sitting. I was located in the front row far stage right, where the whole cast held bags of rice that were to be thrown to Lydia and Nico. As soon as Nico and Lydia got to their positions, the cast threw the bags of rice towards them. The rice was being excessively thrown onto me in this moment. The rice was getting in my hair, all over my clothes and thoroughly all over my seat. The focus for that moment was more towards me getting the rice off of me rather than focusing on the cast. The moment though was sweet because there was a unity of happiness towards these two character in love with each other. The play went from hating marriage to appreciating marriage in the matter of seconds. The amount of rice that was used for this moment was definitely not necessary. As a front row audience member during the show, the rice took away my sight of the scene. Although I found it irritating that the rice was thoroughly all over my seat, it was an interesting experience. The experience of getting the rice thrown at me actually made me feel like I was interacting with the play. It felt I was part of the whole moment of the last scene because I was interacting with the props. The rice being thrown in the scene was very irritable but at the same time an interactive experience.
Big Love was a comedic experience that had audience members interested in plot as well as the visuals. The play was fantastic in a visual aspects with many actions, movements and prop interactions executed perfectly. Whether it was the slamming of the floor with the sisters, the castration of the genital or wedding rice being throw the play had a variety of great visual draw to it. Since there were so many visuals occurring in the play, it was difficult to narrow down three visuals. The hardest scene was the wedding reception where so many moments were occurring on the stage. Overall Big Love was definitely a thrilling experience and was very entertaining!
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