Photo Flash: First Look at Connecticut Rep's BIG LOVE
Classical drama collides with modern-day excess in Charles Mee's Big Love, a fiercely extravagant adaptation of Aeschylus' The Suppliants that The New York Times described as "an MGM musical in Technicolor, a circus and, believe it, a Greek tragedy." Big Love is a luxurious, riotous, wild romp in which 50 brides - all sisters - vow to escape their 50 fiancés - their cousins- on their wedding night. Seeking to get away from the old country, where marriage is contracted and love is unheard of, the sisters leave their betrothed standing at the altar as they hop a boat for better times and a little equality. As the brides seek asylum at the villa of a family man who is unwilling to take sides, the grooms catch up - by helicopter. With no one to stand up for them, the women decide to stand up for themselves by any means necessary. Big Love gives the term "battle of the sexes" a whole new meaning!
Through comedy, Mee seeks to open dialogue about deep and often difficult topics. Mee touches on questions at the core of feminism, sexism, entitlement, ethics, revenge, passion and courage. Mee's characters ask audiences to think about what it means to be a man, a woman, a human being, or a refugee in today's world through wild humor and shocking entertainment.
Helene Kvale (Director) is Assistant Professor in Residence in the Department of Dramatic Arts at the University of Connecticut. Her productions for Connecticut Repertory Theater include Pride and Prejudice, The Skin of Our Teeth, Too Much Memory and Gut Girls. A graduate of the London School of Economics, she trained as an actor in London where her professional acting career spanned two decades in award winning theatre, television, radio and film. Theatre includes: Ian McKellen's Richard III (Lady Anne) and Brian Cox's King Lear, Napoli Milionaria, Shift, and Gitta's Atonement all at The National Theatre, London. West End and regional productions include Burning Blue, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Secret Rapture, Life During Wartime, Getting Out. Film and TV includes: Prime Suspect, Soldier Soldier, This Life, Hearts and Bones, Lovejoy, Deceit, Daddy's Girl, Tomorrow La Scala (Un Certain Regard, Cannes), 5:45, Talk. In Hartford, Helene founded Bated Breath Theatre Company where she served as Artistic Director until 2011. For BBTC, she translated and directed A Doll's House (Gene Frankel Theatre, NYC), and created and directed The Parkville Project for The Playhouse on Park, as well as Hunger for Real Art Ways. Helene's writing credits include the screenplay for Burning Blue, soon to be released with Lionsgate Films.
Marie Boyette (Choreographer) is an Assistant Professor in Residence of Dramatic Arts in Movement. Past choreographic credits include: His Girl Friday (Choreographer), Romeo and Juliet (Dance Choreographer), O Beautiful (Fight Choreographer) at CRT; The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Choreographer, Theater VCU), Grease (Fight Choreographer, Theater VCU), Jack and the Wonderbeans (Choreographer, VCU Players), Godspell (Choreographer, The Prizery), White Christmas (Assistant Choreographer, Barksdale Theater), and 42nd Street (Assistant Choreographer, Pioneer Theater Company). Marie received her MFA in Theater Pedagogy from VCU, her BA in Theater from UF, and is currently completing her training as a Certified Movement Analyst at the Laban Institute for Movement Studies in NYC.
The Design team includes: Tim Golbiewski, Scenic Designer; Pat Ubaldi, Costume Designer; Erika Johnson, Lighting Designer; and Brandon Purstell, Sound Designer
Libby George (Bella) starred in the first National Tour of August: Osage County (Mattie Fae Aiken). She has appeared in NYC both on and off-Broadway, most notably in Dorothy Parker's Ladies Of The Corridor. Regional work: Pioneer Theatre Company, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Barrington Stage, Alabama Shakespeare, New York Stage and Film, McCarter Theatre at Princeton, Philadelphia Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Delaware Theatre Company, Hartford Stage and many more. TV and film: Law & Order (all), The Book of Daniel, Rescue Me, and Life on Mars, All My Children and One Life to Live, as well as the films The Feud, Kate & Leopold.
Mark Elliot Wilson (Piero/Leo) New York credits include: Al Pacino, Summer Shorts, Ghosts, Human Remains, The Lone Talker and Replacements. Regional productions include: Terra Nova, Dracula, The Constant Wife, Terese Raquin, Maggies Riff, View from the Bridge and A Streetcar Named Desire. Film credits include: The Girl in the Book, Sam & Amira, We Need to Talk About Kevin, Pistol Whipped, The Theory of Love, Personal Vendetta and Oliver Stone's World Trade Center. Television credits include: Law & Order: SVU, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, White Collar, Damages, Fringe and The Bronx is Burning. Mark also toured Scandinavia with a production Barefoot in the Park. Mark is a US Navy veteran.
Briana Maia (Lydia) is a Senior BFA Actor. Her CRT credits include: Little Inez in Hairspray, Ensemble in His Girl Friday, Mayme in Intimate Apparel, Maureen Peal in a staged reading of The Bluest Eye, Yunique/ D'Andra in I'm Connecticut, Maha in Odysseus DOA, and Anna in Spring Awakening: The Musical. She appeared in the 2012 Nutmeg Summer Season's The Pirates of Penzance (Isabel). Briana also attended the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts where she performed in The Arabian Nights, (Scheherezade), The Tempest Project (Miranda) and Cabaret (E. Ludwig).
Olivia Saccomanno (Thyona) is a 3rd year Graduate Actor. CRT credits include: His Girl Friday (Hildy Johnson), Romeo and Juliet (Lady Montague), O Beautiful (Linda Ryan), The Winter's Tale (Hermione) and the graduate acting project King Lear (Goneril). Past credits include: Othello (Bianca), Love's Labour's Lost (Katharine), Educating Rita (Rita White), Doubt (Sister James), The Sardine Seller's Net of Love (Hotarubi), Autumn Garden (Constance Tuckerman), Antigone (Ismene), and The Lion in Winter (Alais Capet). Olivia studied acting at the Moscow Art Theater School in Moscow, Russia, through the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center. She graduated from Willamette University with a BA in Theatre.
Marisa Desa (Olympia) is a Senior BFA Actor. Her past credits include: Hairspray, Romeo & Juliet (Ensemble), Spring Awakening (Wendla), and The Miser (Servant) at CRT and the Department Series production of tick, tick... Boom! (Susan).
The cast will feature MFA actors: Thomas Brazzle, Darek Burkowski, Anthony Goes, Will Haden, Colby Lewis, James Jelkin, Olivia Saccomanno , and Sarah Wintermeyer; as well as BFA actors: Alison Danielczuk, Marisa Desa, Kaitlyn Gorman, Briana Maia, Ryan Marcone, and Susannah Resnikoff.
Call 860-486-2113 for tickets or for more information. Call or visit the box office for specific show dates and times because performance schedules vary and are subject to change. Tickets available online at www.crt.uconn.edu.
CRT is the professional producing arm of the Department of Dramatic Arts at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. CRT productions are directed, designed by, and cast with visiting professional artists, including Equity actors, faculty members, and the department's most advanced student artists. The synergy between professional and advanced student artists creates extraordinary theatre and a unique learning environment.
Photo Credit: Gerry Goodstein
A scene from Connecticut Repertory Theatre's production of BIG LOVE