Alison Fasolino plays Rachel and Jake Wentlent plays Lloyd in the Theatre Department's production of "Reckless," which runs from Oct. 14-15 and 21-23 at the Anderson Center Chamber Hall.
Photo by Jonathan Cohen
‘Reckless’ kicks off Theatre season
October 13, 2011Tweet
The cast and crew of the dark comedy “Reckless” haven’t had run-throughs leading up to opening night. Instead they have had what director Carol Hanscom calls “fun-throughs.”
“I think I invented that expression,” Hanscom said with a laugh. “I’ve never heard it before. … I want them to be loose, feel free to explore, and to find new things within the play and within themselves when they (perform). I’m encouraging them to not be afraid to go over the top.”
That fun and excitement is sure to translate to the Anderson Center Chamber Hall stage when “Reckless” opens at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14. The show also is scheduled for 8 p.m. Oct. 15, 21-22 and 2 p.m. Oct. 23. Tickets are $14, general admission; $12, faculty/staff; and $8, students with ID.
Written by Craig Lucas in 1983, “Reckless” is a modern-day fairy tale about a housewife named Rachel who flees her home on Christmas Eve after discovering that her husband has taken out a contract on her life. Rachel encounters many larger-than-life characters on her path to self-discovery, such as a social worker named Lloyd and his deaf, paraplegic wife Pooty. She also finds herself in a series of bizarre situations, such as appearing on a game show and meeting with six different psychiatrists.
Hanscom compared Rachel’s odyssey – and the obstacles that are thrown in her way - to “Alice in Wonderland.”
“She gets cast out into the cruel, wide reckless world and has to maneuver her way around it the best she can,” Hanscom said. “It’s a down-the-rabbit-hole kind of journey. Rachel meets bizarre and unusual people on the journey who help her along the way. So many unexpected things happen to her. The play starts out seeming like it’s going to be a conventional Christmas story, all fluffy. The unexpected keeps coming along and slapping her in the face.”
The complex role of Rachel is played by senior Alison Fasolino. She appears in every scene of the play, guiding the audience through an emotional roller coaster.
“It’s challenging to get out of your head that you have to tell the story,” she said.
The role comes with other challenges, as well. At times, Fasolino has to portray Rachel as light-hearted in the face of tragedy. Other times, she has to play Rachel in a serious manner while everything around her is comedic.
“I think comedy is more difficult (than drama),” she said. “You can know that something is funny, but you don’t want to show the audience that it’s funny.”
Yet another challenge came when Fasolino and two other student-actors, Jake Wentlent (as Lloyd) and Suzannah Herschkowitz (as Pooty) had to learn basic sign language for their roles. The actors paraphrased their lines into sign language and have “two texts” to remember onstage. Not easy, Fasolino said – but rewarding.
“It was fun to learn the sign language because it helped us connect to what we are doing,” she said.
Despite the craziness of the plot and characters, Hanscom believes that Lucas offers a serious and optimistic message.
“This poor woman suffers disaster after disaster, yet always comes away with the faith that it’s going to get better,” she said.
The “Reckless” cast features nearly all of its members in multiple roles, including Theatre Associate Professor Anne Brady as the six psychiatrists.
“I’ve got a dream cast,” Hanscom said. “They are willing to have fun, but they have a depth and wisdom that can be unusual in such young people.”
That sense of fun on the set stands out to Fasolino.
“Working with Carol has been great because she encouraged me to ‘go bigger’ than I was all of the time,” she said. “This (production) was never really stressful. We never had a bad time. It was always fun.”