CUA Drama Presents BIG LOVE by Charles Mee

CUA Drama presents: Big Love: A Modern Look at a Greek Tragedy. Performances of Big Love will take place in Hartke Theatre, 3801 Harewood Road, Thursday, Nov. 19, Friday, Nov. 20, and Saturday, Nov. 21, at 7:30 p.m.; and Saturday, Nov. 21, and Sunday, Nov. 22, at 2 p.m.

Fifty sisters, forced to marry their 50 cousins, seek refuge in a beautiful Italian villa. That unlikely story is the premise of Charles Mee's surreal comedy Big Love, which will be performed at The Catholic University of America later this month.

Based on Aeschylus's Greek tragedy The Suppliants - the world's oldest play - Big Love explores the consequences for three of the brides escaping forced marriage. The University's production is directed by Randy Baker, a local director, playwright, and the co-artistic director of Rorshach Theatre in Washington, D.C. The cast includes 15 undergraduate students from the Department of Drama.

Baker described Big Love as "full of whimsy and danger." Equal parts comedy and tragedy, the play explores themes of sex, revenge, and justice.

"The play has you laughing and crying and pulling back in horror as much as you're delighted by the comedy of it all," he said. "It's a feminist play, a play that tackles either lightly or directly a lot of important issues. And it's actually a lot of fun."

Though the action is based on a Greek tragedy, the play is modern with contemporary language, costumes, and music that includes songs by both Billy Idol and Beyoncé. Baker said many of the modern additions to the story were suggested by the student cast members.

"When you're retelling a story that is 3,000 years old, it's important that this not be a dusty old thing on the shelf," said Baker. "This should be something that comes from the students in the play and that speaks to the people who are coming to see it. With that in mind, I encouraged the students to bring in their unique ideas and their perspectives.

Baker said he hopes Big Love leaves audiences "with as many questions as answers." He also hopes young people are attracted to the play's energy and physicality.

"It's ferocious, it's funny, and it's just the sort of play that is meant to be embraced by young people," he said. "At the center of this play is a story about young people finding their own way and the joy and the pain that comes with that."

Tickets are $15 for adults; $10 for seniors, military, CUA alumni, faculty, and staff; and $5 for students. For more information or to buy tickets, call 202-319-4000, visit drama.cua.edu, or email hartkeboxoffice@gmail.com.

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