BWW Review: OSU's 7 WAYS TO SAY I LOVE YOU a Short, Simple and Sweet Treat for Valentine's Day
In elementary school, Valentine's Day meant creatively converting shoeboxes into letter-drops with the help of construction-paper hearts, glitter glue and tin foil. Each miniature mailbox was then stuffed with corny cardboard cards and heartfelt, handwritten messages -- all different ways of saying "I love you."
In its latest production, the Ohio State Department of Theatre shares seven more ways to say these words.
The show, written by Adam Szymkowicz, comprises seven stories dealing with the elusive concept of love. From the adorable awkwardness of a budding pizza-shop romance to a sass-filled chat between James Bond's latest lady (Ronda Hobson Christie) and her cat (Caitlyn Prather), fast-paced peeks into an assortment of storylines intrigue the audience while challenging the six-person cast to make the most of their time in each sketch.
While some scenes are sentimental, such as the opening exchange between lovesick couple April (Cecelia Bellomy) and John (Chorsie L. Calbert IV) over the latter's daily purchase of cheese pizza, many delve into other interpretations of love.
In a satirical take on classic film noir detective flicks, Tommy Clabby and Laura Falb wholeheartedly embrace the exaggerated characterizations of Dick, a silver-tongued detective, and his scorned lover, Jessica. The plot's torrent of twists and turns, accompanied by a script peppered with zesty zingers, such as Dick's accusation that Jessica "just loved him for his ... name," pandered to the mostly collegiate crowd's sense of humor.
Later in the show, the audience gets a glimpse into the mind of a jaded theater critic (Chorsie L. Calbert IV) who rediscovers his admiration of the arts while reviewing a particularly passionate performance.
Presented on a small platform in the middle of the Drake Performance and Event Center's Riverview Room, the play's seven scenes supposedly take place in various places throughout New York. However, it's mainly up to each audience member to imagine the romantic ambience because the action unfolds on a square of wood sparsely decorated with minimal props.
The play's central staging and the interspersing of acts with acoustic guitar and ukulele versions of love songs such as Bon Jovi's "You Give Love a Bad Name" and The Lumineers' "Ho Hey" cultivates a coziness that makes one think of recounting romances around a crackling campfire.
The theatrical equivalent to a collection of short stories, "7 Ways to Say I Love You" presents a lighthearted lineup that is sure to please fans of big-screen romantic comedies such as "Love Actually" and "Valentine's Day."
Watching the show's seven short segments is, in many ways, similar to sorting through a box of valentines. Some are quirkily flirtatious and others are heartwarmingly sincere, but all help bring happiness to the holiday.
"7 Ways to Say I Love You" will be performed from Feb. 8 through Feb. 18 at the Drake Performance and Event Center on Ohio State's Columbus campus.
The play lasts approximately 55 minutes and does not include an intermission. Seating is general admission.
More information about the show, ticket prices, showtimes and directions can be found on the Ohio State Department of Theatre website.
The Drake Performance and Event Center is located at 1849 Cannon Drive.