A Write Teacher(s) Spotlight: LOVE THERAPY

Hello Beautiful People,

You have until May 25th to get a dose of therapy, love, and theater all in one evening.

LOVE THERAPY, a new play by Wendy Beckett, will be playing at the DR2 Theatre in Union Square until May 25th, and I assure you it is worth every penny. Before I start to dive into the phenomenal cast, lets discuss the concept of this show.

Alison Fraser (Madge) and Margot White (Colleen) in Love Therapy

Alison Fraser (Madge) and Margot White (Colleen) in Love Therapy

LOVE THERAPY is a play about a young therapist who finds herself out of her depth when intimacy, attraction and passion collide with the healing process. It is a story that forces one to examine the delicate balance of caring enough and caring too much in a professional relationship, a personal relationship, and just basic human interaction.  Because on the surface, this play is about the therapist/patient relationship.  Yet, I believe that if you take a step back for a second, and think about the relationships that play out before you onstage, you see that it’s also about how people interact with one another.  It forces one to think about whether or not they care about those around them, whether it be their husband, wife, mother, father, daughter, son, sister, brother, or even the waitress at the coffee shop you go to every morning.  When you ask someone how he or she is doing, do you stop to actually listen to the response? Do you even care? There are many lines that will strike the heart of any given audience member during a performance of LOVE THERAPY, but one that particularly smashed down the beloved fourth wall was the line, “We’ve lost our gift for connection.”

We’ve lost our gift for connection.

Such an interesting concept for Beckett to throw at her audience, and an important concept for us all to internalize.  Do you text more than you talk? Can you tell the people you love that you in fact, love them, or do you hide behind emails and circumstance?

I could go on and on about that. But that’s a different post, for a different conversation.  Just know that Wendy Beckett truly brings that question to the forefront, and that dear friends, is a beautiful thing.

The cast of LOVE THERAPY is absolutely splendid.  They gel. They are seamless. As a whole, observing the performances of David Bishins, Christopher Burns, Alison Fraser, Margot White, and Janet Zarish in LOVE THERAPY is like auditing a masterclass in acting, and hat it a testament to their irrefutable talent as actors, and the direction of Evan Bergman.

I was particularly moved by the performance of David Bishins.  Steven is a rather creepy, seedy, insatiable man at the top of the show.  For me, there was little to like.  He made my skin crawl.  And yet, by the end of the show, one felt bad for Steven.  His heart had come through.  His humanity had come through.  His love for Colleen had come through.  And his hurt was absolutely palpable.  

David Bishins (Steven) and Margot White (Colleen) in Love Therapy

David Bishins (Steven) and Margot White (Colleen) in Love Therapy

Christopher Burns as Brian Beatie, is psychopathic perfection. You’re not sure whether or not to hate him or love him.  You’re not sure if he’s a victim or a monster.  You’re not sure if he’s going to hurt Colleen, or Mary, or if he just needs a hug. I feel as though if one would look into many a psychology textbook, you’d have the character of Brian Beatie splayed across every page, and Burns did the role absolute justice.

If I start to write about Alison Fraser, this will turn into a novella, as there is a reason why she is a two time Tony Nominee, the orginator of many a role both on and Off-Broadway.  She’s fantastic.  And if it were not for Madge, one might feel very differently about this show.  Madge adds the elements of light and humor that, for me, is necessary in any well-written drama.  There has to be moments of reflection, of tenderness without reservatoin, and humor.  This is what Madge does, and Fraser, as always, brings the character to life with unwavering commtiment and expertise.

There’s something special about the helping professions.  Whether it be a doctor, a teacher, a guidance counselor, a pschologist, or ecen a marriage counselor.  The best in their feilds embark on these careers not for fame or fortune, but because they want to guide.  They want to heal.  They want to help. It’s a balance, knowing how much caring is too much caring, and sometimes there are people who cross the line.  White does an absolutely beautiful job exploring the demons and insecurities of Colleen Fitzgerald.  She craves intamicy, yet she repells it, and ulitmately gets in over her head.

If It didn’t say that Janet Zarish was playing both Carol and Mary in the program, I would love to know how long it would take the audience to figure it out, or if they would figure it out.  There’s a reason why Janet Zarish is the head of acting at NYU’s Graduate Acting program – she is outstanding.  Carol is condescending, cold, and flippant. She is just a character that annoys, a fly you’d want to swat away.  Mary is broken.  She is insane.  Mary’s pain is palpable, her confusion is evident.  She is a woman who is grasping at straws of normality and civility.  Zarish’s portrayal of both woman is uncanny.

Christopher Burns (Brian) and Janet Zarish (Mary/Carol) in Love Therapy

Christopher Burns (Brian) and Janet Zarish (Mary/Carol) in Love Therapy

The theatre is a stone’s throw from the New York Film Academy, and many, many, many classrooms of NYU.  And while everyone should see this play, whether you  are in the entertainment field or not, students of the arts should especially make it their business to get to see this production.  For one of the best ways to improve your craft, improve your techniques as an actor, actress, designer, director, and/or writer, is to see more theater.  The best artists are the ones who are the eternal students, and this cast can teach you quite a bit.

Bravo to the cast, crew, and creative team.

Live, Love, Learn,

Megan & The Write Teacher(s) 

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A Write Teacher(s) Spotlight: LOVE THERAPY