When Elizabeth Garrott chooses a play or musical for her students to perform, she does so intending to explore a deeper message—one that is relatable to teenagers.
Instead, Garrott, the theater program’s artistic director, has cast her players for Big Love.
The play bears no relation to the HBO series about polygamous Utahns of the same name.
The show, by playwright Charles L. Mee, is about 50 brides who flee 50 suitors, who in turn chase them by helicopter to Italy. The characters on stage are modern-day gender stereotypes that fight and argue about society’s expectations of men and women, violence and love. (Watch an excerpt of the show on YouTube here.)
“It’s a physicalized battle of the sexes,” Garrott said, describing the dark comedy.
Amid the chaos, two characters ignore the battle and instead choose to fall in love.
Garrott said the show is about pushing beyond societal expectations, finding happiness through individual thought and celebrating the courage to do so.
“This is the time [our students] are going to be falling in and out of love,” Garrott said. “There is a herd mentality for how we’re supposed to treat one another and it’s over-marketed to these kids. There are so many ways that ‘it’s supposed to be,’ ” she said.
“Love isn’t perfect and it’s also not public. The idea that you have to be on display with this big feminine or masculine identity—it’s just a mask,” she added.
“I have very, very intelligent students,” she said. “They like being smart. They like expressing that they are smart. They like script analysis and they liked having questions and they like thinking about big issues.”
Big Love will be on stage at Dulaney High School from Nov. 17 to 19. Stay with Patch as we continue to track the show's progress, bringing you updates from rehearsals and Q&As with the student performers.