“8 x 10” explores types of love through seven short plays

By MacKenzie Brady

Student Life Editor

The first play of the semester, “8 x 10,” ran on Feb. 13, 14, and 15. Co-directed by Professor of Drama and Director of the Gibson Center for the Arts Dale Daigle and senior Jackie Dulaff, the show combined seven ten-minute plays about love into one show.

“All the plays deal with love in some way. Whether it’s romantic love, platonic love, love at first sight, or long-lasting love; these characters are all going through one of the most primal of human emotions,” Dulaff said.

The seven plays in the show were “English Made Simple” by David Ives, “No Love, Please” by Marissa Smith, “The New Client” Paul Donnelly, “Jane Austin Expressway” by Erik Christian Hanson, “Phillip Glass Buys a Loaf of Bread” by David Ives, “The Incompleteness Theorem” by Arlene Hutton, and “Trapped Language of Love” by Ronan Colfer. 

The plays were connected by an announcer, senior Giselle Brown, and the cast members would do a huddle and break before the start of the next scene. Each huddle consisted of the actors whose plays were in that half of the show, while the other half sat among the audience. 

Aside from cast members sitting amongst the audience, the show promoted audience participation in other ways. There were two cameras hooked up to projectors that during the play would show what the cast members were doing, allowing the audience to see them from various angles. Before the show and during intermission, these cameras zoomed in on various audience members.

According to senior Cassy Sottile, dramaturg for “8 x 10,” “English Made Simple” is about “a young man and woman, Jack and Jill, meeting at a party. They have an immediate attraction to each other that is narrated through a series of conversations translated into unromantic grammar lessons as they attempt to maneuver through party small talk.” 

The play also incorporated the show’s announcer acted as a narrator and translator for Jack, played by junior Mark Cooley, and Jill, played by sophomore Stephanie Fleming. 

Juniors Dominic Delcoco and Jacklyn Russo starred in “No Love, Please” about a man and woman who explore the idea of having a relationship after they have hooked up. 

“Despite their apprehension with the idea, they continue to hook up, eventually agreeing to begin a pseudo-relationship — as long as there is no love involved between them,” Sottile said of the play. 

“The New Client,” starring freshman Abigail Wilson as Margret and sophomore Katherine Desrosiers as Lee-Ann, explores the relationship between a small-town lawyer, Margaret, and her wife after she takes on a controversial client — a baker who refused to bake a birthday cake for the son of an LGBT couple. 

“Out of all the plays in the lineup, ‘New Client’ has the most amount of tension and conflict. Whereas the others are most light-hearted and fun, ‘New Client’ ends in unhappiness, with no resolution to the fight,” Sottile said. 

“Jane Austin Expressway” depicted novelist Jane Austen, played by senior Mary Sprague, discussing the movie rights to one of her novels with screenwriter Robbie, played by junior Will Reid, while driving him dangerously down the road. 

“I was really intimidated by getting to be Jane Austen,” Sprague said. “But once I figured out what I was doing it was fine because I appreciated a non-romantic play about love.” 

“I didn’t expect such a big reaction, but hearing the audience react to Mary and I performing in the seats became exciting,” Reid said. “[The reactions] ranged from laughs to ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs.’”

During the intermission, the announcer hosted a dance competition to win a free T-shirt, once again trying to garner audience participation. 

“Most people didn’t notice this, but Mary gets up and starts performing a period dance in character as Jane Austen. It cracked me up every time,” Reid said.

“Philip Glass Buys a Loaf of Bread” focuses on what happens when Philip Glass enters a bakery and sees his old love. 

“The exchanges that follow are marked by short phrases that often make little sense but follow the rhythm of Glass’ work,” Sottile said. “Philip Glass is an operatist whose work is well-known to be repetitive and minimalist in structure and dynamic.”

Abbey Wark, class of 2018, and freshmen Bella Wilson, Max Tucker, and Emma Russell starred in “Philip Glass Buys a Loaf of Bread.” They walked in circles around the stage, repeating combinations of phrases throughout. 

“The Incompleteness Theorem” starred freshman Ely Shilling as Kenneth, a math geek, and senior Hannah Sauer, as Sophie. Kenneth takes Sophie, his ex- girlfriend, out on a picnic for her birthday, where they try and fail to converse. Over the course of the play, the two learn new ways to communicate with each other. 

The final play in the show, “The Trapped Language of Love,” starred senior Kelly Young and freshman Jack Papatheodorou whose characters meet on a park bench in New York City and have an immediate attraction. 

Though the man and woman struggle to talk to one another, their asides are very expressive, explaining exactly how in love they are with each other. Eventually, his aside leaks into their conversation, causing them to argue and completely lose interest in one another. 

“8 x 10” explored many types of love in a number of ways—some funny and nonsensical, others extremely seriously. 

“These plays are relatable. They’ll make you laugh, tear up, feel fuzzy, and feel frustrated,” Dulaff said. “But you’ll be sharing all of those emotions with every single person in that theatre with you. It’s a shared experience, and one that we don’t want our audience to soon forget.”

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