BWW Review: LOVE at Center Stage Theater
Love: The Variable We Cannot Factor Out
Just today, famed opera singer Plácido Domingo resigned from LA Opera amid accusations that he sexually harassed workers there. It seems as though such stories are far more common than they were a few years ago. In October 2017, journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey broke the stories of women sexually assaulted and harassed by the movie producer, Harvey Weinstein. That story was followed by an explosion of women who shared their own experience of workplace harassment. So many women posted under the "MeToo" hashtag, that the systemic infection of sexual harassment became harder to deny.
Our perceptions of harassment and how we respond when we see it or experience it are ripe for theatrical exploration. This weekend a new play, Love, by Katie Cortesi, will receive a staged reading at Center Stage Theater. Fresh from the Ojai Playwrights Conference, Love tells the story of a woman who had an affair with her former boss. She remembers him fondly, but now he is being accused of harassment. How does love shift the equation of what constitutes mistreatment? Can we judge those we have loved with a clear eye?
Director Maggie Mixell lauded the play's nuanced and rich exploration of the theme of workplace harassment along with its sharply drawn characters and exceptionally strong writing. She praised the acting ability of her cast, which includes the talents of Joe Spano, Faline England (both recently won Indy Awards for their performances in Heisenberg at the Rubicon), Diahnna Nicole Baxter, Brian Harwell, Ivy Vahanian, Dan Gunther, Lisa Gates, and Verenice Zuniga.
Love will be the first in a series of new works produced by the "UCSB Initiative for New and Reimagined Work," a project spearheaded by UCSB Studio Professor Vickie Scott. The "UCSB Initiative for New and Reimagined Work" seeks to diversify the pool of theater-makers, allowing fresh voices to tell new stores. This particular staged reading is the initiative's first production. There are only two opportunities to see it: October 5 at 7:30 PM and October 6 at 2:00 PM. Each performance will be followed by a panel discussion with the playwright. Check it out!