Play gives tales of romance a supernatural backdrop
GVL / Laine Girard
Grand Valley presents ‘Sex and the Supernatural’. Actors rehearsing their scenes before opening night.
What do vampires, Alice in Wonderland and the garden of Eden have in common? They’re all a part of “Sex and the Supernatural,” the latest play put on by the theater department at Grand Valley State University.
Billed as the season finale, “Sex and the Supernatural” will be performing a set of six short plays that conjoin romantic relationships, mythical beings and spirituality. The selected plays were created by modern writers from the U.S., adding more relevancy and connection to the audience.
Some of the plays include “Genesis,” where Eve tells her point of view of what really happened in the garden of Eden; “Zombie Grrls from the Crypt,” in which a lesbian vampire raises zombie girls from their slumber; and “What She Found There,” which adds an extreme twist to the Wonderland story with Alice finding herself in the 21st century.
“I think the most challenging part about playing this character was having to take a well-known children’s tale and turn it into this scene dealing with very mature subject matter,” said Justin Mackey, who plays the role of Lou in “What She Found There.” “It also takes a minute to get used to the fact that I will be stripped down to my underwear in front of a large group of people.”
The actor said it’s been fun playing with the comedy already in Alice in Wonderland and seeing it clash with a real-world situation.
Roger Ellis, director of the production, said what interests him the most about the plays is the fact that so many contemporary writers are bringing religion and the supernatural into their work for modern day audiences. Ellis said while some plays focus more on the physical, others depict romantic relationships unfolding within or against a background of spirituality and the supernatural.
“What is also noteworthy about this awareness of spirituality in our lives is that these writers’ work is part of a long-standing artistic tradition in many cultures that began with the ancient Greek dramas and continues today in some of the most vibrant writing for modern playgoers,” he said.
Erin Feiner, who will be portraying Eve in “Genesis,” said she hopes the audience keeps an open mind about the topics that will be discussed and the messages attached to them, although they may be strange.
“This play opens up these issues for discussion,” Feiner said. “It doesn’t necessarily solve the problems brought up, but it allows people the opportunity to talk about relevant issues in a learning environment.”
“Sex and the Supernatural” runs March 28 and 29 and April 1 through 4 at 7:30 p.m. at the Louis Armstrong Theatre on the Allendale Campus. There will also be matinee performances March 30 and April 5 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $6 for students and $10 for faculty, staff and alumni, but they cost less if bought in advance.