Reasons to be Pretty explores love, sex, identity
Published: Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 13:10
The Brockport theatre department showed off the talent of multiple actors this past weekend in Reasons to be Pretty by Neil LaBute and directed by Ruth Childs. This is a dark, yet humorous play that dives right into the heart of relationships between men and women as friends and lovers. The play shows how impossible love is, but also portrays a person’s endless hope to become happy.
The show was originally planned for Oct. 5-7, but due to actor John Cummings’ shoulder injury, the play was pushed back to Oct. 18-21. Cummings dislocated his shoulder two days before the show was supposed to open while practicing the fight scene.
“I punched him [Daniel Rivera’s character, Kent] a bunch of times and that is how it happened,” said Cummings. “During one of the punches my arm dislocated because I was at a weird angle.”
The EMT’s arrived and popped his shoulder back in, then it popped out of place again a few minutes later as Cummings was moving his shoulder around to make sure it was OK. Childs decided to cancel the first weekend of the show, despite Cummings’ desire to do the show anyway. The performance was pushed back a week and there were four different showings this past weekend.
The cast consisted of four members, Cummings (Greg), Daniel Rivera (Kent), Sarah Delfavero (Steph) and Jay O’ Leary (Carly).
“We had auditions the first week of the semester,” Childs said. “We started rehearsals right after Labor Day, and we had between 25 and 30 people audition.
“These four really stood out as the perfect actors to play each of the individual characters.”
These four actors have never performed together but were flawless in the performance.
“We have two transfer students in the cast and it’s their first show at Brockport,” said Childs
“We also have a senior theatre major who is also an arts for children major,” said Childs. “It is the first time she has been in a main stage production.”
“The actors are all new to the main stage, they just clicked. They worked really hard on the show and they really understood the character and the text that the playwright had given them.”
Samantha Vakiener, a recent graduate from The College at Brockport, was the costume designer for this production. Childs was very pleased with Vakiener’s work.
“I am very proud of her,” Childs said.
Throughout the play there was an abundance of laughter from the crowd, which is what Child’s was trying to accomplish.
“Contextually in the play you could tell the audience was really into it because they would only find that funny if they were paying attention, so it was cool knowing that they were actually wrapped up in the show,” said Cummings.
All of the actors tended to feed off the vibe and energy they received from the crowd, due to their terrific performance that left the crowd breaking out in laughter.
The play was most interesting because of the plot. This is close to a person’s everyday life and relationship with another human, from the arguing and swearing to the awkward situations. Childs wanted to accomplish an idea to show how men try to be “good men,” even though there were two female characters that are much more assertive, relating back to the title: Reasons to be Pretty.
Throughout the play, many different aspects of a relationship were shown, from lust and love to hatred and fighting. The actors did a fantastic job playing their particular parts. Greg was dumped by his girlfriend for making an innocent remark about her looks. Later on, Greg sees his friend Kent recognize a new “hot” co-worker. Greg watches his friend go after this new girl, despite the fact that he is married. When Greg finally realizes that some actions in particular are not worth the consequences, he takes a stance about men’s attraction to physical beauty.
“They were just fantastic to work with, really dedicated, fun and interesting,” said Childs. “They made great choices; it was a really rewarding process.”
The Brockport theatre department’s next performance, Mauritius, will be performed Nov. 30 and in early December.