Lauren Carter ’17 is a math and theatre and dance major whose senior thesis will be an adaptation of Charles Mee’s “Big Love.” Her acting thesis will be directed by visiting theatre and dance professor Yagil Eliraz. The show will premiere in February with rehearsals beginning during interterm. I had the chance to talk with Carter about her hopes for her thesis before auditions are held later this week.
Q: How would you describe your thesis?
A: My thesis is a play called “Big Love” by Charles Mee which is an adaptation of Aeschylus’s “The Suppliants”. In short, it’s an out of this world chaotic yet serene little play about 50 sisters forced to marry their 50 cousins. It talks about gender roles, the status of refugees, love, free will and so much more. It’s energetic, touching, frustrating and amazing.
Q: How did you come up with your thesis topic originally? What about “Big Love” stood out to you?
A: I found this play by accident actually. I was originally set on doing “Our Town” or a play by Annie Baker. But I was on Tumblr one day and a quote popped up from “Big Love” which immediately struck me. It said, ‘Sometimes people don’t want to fall in love. Because when you love someone it’s too late to set conditions.’ I thought about how powerful that small quote was and what that meant and I knew I needed to read the rest of the play. When I read it I saw that it was about so much more! What really sold me was the refugee aspect. During the time I found this play there was also a lot of talk about not taking in refugees from the Middle East. This play talks about people who are desperately seeking asylum and refugee status escaping a world and a fate they do not want and are ultimately turned away and disaster ensues. I thought the parallel was amazing, especially since this play was written a few years ago and is something that needs to be talked about.
Q:What is your intention with your thesis, what effect do you hope it has for your audience as well as for yourself and the actors?
A:For auditions, I hope to bring more people to the theater! I always say that every actor has their first show and it would be wonderful if this was it for some people. With the finished product I’d hope that people challenge their beliefs and question why they believe those things. Why is it that a man is supposed to act one way and a woman another? What is love, really, and why is it something we want to achieve? Is it something we want to achieve? Essentially, I want people to question everything they think they know about the world. Oh yeah, and enjoy the show obviously.
Q: What is the most challenging part of your project?
A: Oh gee, right now? Staying calm. Auditions are on Thursday and I’m high key freaking out about them. For the long term I’d say being able to give up control is a big challenge. This is my baby but it’s also an acting thesis so all directorial decisions are not made by me, they are made by the fabulous director, Yagil. So even though I may have a set picture in my head, I have to be able to trust Yagil and know that he will bring about the best possible product. And he will because he’s amazing.
Article has been edited for clarity.