Cast, Big Story—Big Love
A big scene from Big
In Charles L. Mee’s
popular play Big Love,
which opens Wednesday, Dec. 3, in Hallie Flanagan Studio
Theatre, Mendenhall Center, 50 Greek sisters flee from arranged
marriages to their 50 American cousins and wash ashore at
a lavish Italian villa declaring they are refugees. But the
jilted grooms pursue them.
of Big Love is directed
by Ellen Morbyrne ’09J. Performances are December 3
through 6 at 8 p.m. and December 6 and 7 at 2 p.m. Thursday,
Dec. 4, is “Dollar Night” for students with ID.
Though inspired by the classic
Greek tragedy The Suppliant
Women by Aeschylus, The New York Times said
of Mee’s production, “his leap of boundless
imagination has refashioned tragedy into a theatrical statement
that is comedic, gymnastic, musical, sensual, shocking
Everything about Big Love is big and it is an intensely
physical play. The large cast of 18 flails, fights, dances,
and sings through the piece, alternating between action on
an epic scale and moments of striking intimacy.
Mee’s script allows for enormous freedom in interpretation,
adaptation, and design. In directing, Morbyrne decided to
add a chorus of women refugees to highlight the socio-political
issues of the play—especially the search for connection
between people and the dire consequences that occur when
people are unable or unwilling to connect with each other.
These ethereal beings, representing a larger consciousness,
follow closely the efforts, successes, and failures of the
characters they created, and react emotionally to them, but
refuse to interfere in the story being played out by these
autonomous characters. The chorus members tell stories and
they often sing, providing a living score to the action onstage.
Morbyrne has served as
director of the theatre program at in Hadley, Mass.,
since 2003 and while there she directed The
Last Unicorn (her adaptation of
the book by Peter S. Beagle ), Through
the Looking-Glass (her adaptation
of book by Lewis Carroll, which she co-directed with
Trine Boode-Petersen), and Brecht’s The
Good Person of Szechwan. Morbyrne is an alumna of
the Northampton-based Serious Play! Theatre Ensemble where
she has served as director, actor, teacher, editor, and
dramaturge. As a Serious Play! actor she has toured to
Boston, New York City, London, and Edinburgh and played
such roles as Lily in Caryl Churchill’s
The Skriker and Cressida in Shakespeare’s Troilus & Cressida.
She also co-directed the Serious Play!’s recent production
of Sonya Sobieski’s Commedia dell
Smartass with her
husband Dan Morbyrne.
Tickets ($8 public, $5 students/seniors)
for Big Love can
be purchased by calling the box office, 413-585-ARTS. For
information on this and other performances at Smith, visit