Spring play explores intense themes within humor of 'Big Love'

February 22, 2017
Spring play explores intense themes within humor of Big Love

Oxford's spring play Big Love by Charles Mee contains the elements that make theater powerful—challenging themes, lots of humor and characters students can bring to life.

Performances in Tarbutton Theater are scheduled for Thursday and Friday, February 23 and 24, at 7:30 p.m. with additional performances on Saturday, February 25, at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Director Clark Lemons chose this re-make of one of the Western world's oldest plays by Aeschylus as his last play at Oxford. Lemons, professor of English, will retire this spring after teaching at Oxford for 35 years.

Lemons loves to produce Greek tragedies so this re-make seemed a fitting farewell.

"There's raucous humor, timely political critique, singing, dancing, and a joyous ending, all of which make it enjoyable for me as my last play," he says.

In Big Love, 50 brides flee their 50 grooms (their cousins) and seek refuge in an Italian villa. The grooms catch up with the brides by helicopter and mayhem follows with fights, dances, songs, and murder. Within the play's hilarity, the cast cover the themes of oppressive social conventions, personal freedom, treatment of refugees, and the power of love.

"I hope the audience will enjoy 'Big Love' and think a bit about issues of community, politics, and hospitality—perhaps much like Aeschylus did twenty-four centuries ago," Lemons says.

Cast and crew

Students make up the cast and technical crew led by Lemons and Technical Director Jessica Rivers. The student actors in the play include Olivia Boyd, Jake Brummeler, Evan Finch, Daniel Huff, Nicolas Ingle, Elizabeth Johnson, Erin Oquindo, Franny Parent, Mitul Patel, Andy Paul, Catrina Smith, Palak Suri, Ian Turner, and Haley Williams. Student crew members not already listed include Benjamin Cope, Darya Farrokhi, Camilla Gallin, Ruya Karakaya, Cici Ninkovic, Rachel Patterson, and Linda Wu. Professional assistants include Alejandro Abarca, Vic Flessas, Andy Irwin, and Tony Kimbrell.

Tickets available 

Tickets for the play, which is open to the public, are five dollars. Due to mature themes, the play not be suitable for younger audiences. Obtain tickets by contacting Clark Lemons at clemons@emory.edu or 770.784.8370.

For behind-the-scenes shots and an overview by Lemons, visit this video trailer.

Learn more about theater at Oxford in this Q&A with Lemons.