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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

August 17, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Accent

IC Players to perform British play

The lives of four adults — two men and two women — cross and intermingle in IC Players’ production of “Closer,” a drama about the challenges of relationships in modern-day London. This piece deals with topics of infidelity, passion and betrayal. The director, senior Hayley Fox, describes “Closer” as a play about looking for love and the pitfalls one experiences along the way. As the four characters go in and out of relationships with each other, they make many mistakes but also learn valuable life lessons.

“Closer” will take place Saturday and Sunday in Textor 101. The show times are at 8 p.m. Saturday and at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Sunday.

“Closer,” written by British playwright Patrick Marber, originally opened at the Royal National Theatre in London before continuing on to Broadway. Marber also penned a 2004 film adaptation, which starred Jude Law, Clive Owen, Natalie Portman and Julia Roberts. Fox described the film as “surprisingly similar” to the play. However, senior Matt Hays, who plays the part of Larry, a brash, cynical and somewhat chauvinistic dermatologist, feels the play’s characters have more depth and variability than their film counterparts and are thus more identifiable for the audience.

“It feels to me in the movie like some of the characters are a bit more set in their ways,” Hays said. “Whereas I feel with this show, there’s going to be a lot of arguing afterwards between friends about who was right. There’s going to be a lot of people standing outside saying, ‘No, no, no. She did this to him! That was wrong.’”

Fox said the road to putting on this production was not simple either, beginning almost a year ago in London, where Fox, Hays and two other members of the cast, seniors Bonnie Lawrence and Lisa Villamil, were spending their semester abroad. Fox said it all began when Hays, Lawrence and Villamil first read and fell in love with the script.

“[Hays, Lawrence and Villamil] were all in an acting class where they did a scene or two from it and kind of decided to do it as a project when we got back to Ithaca,” Fox said. “And they approached me, knowing I had directed things in the past, and asked me if I wanted to take it on with them, and I said yes. And we all really enjoyed the script. We thought it was really powerful, we thought it had a lot of interesting themes that were really relatable.”

The team was met with new challenges as it headed into the rehearsal period. Fox said finding a suitable rehearsal space, having only five weeks to rehearse and having several actors absent for various reasons made for a difficult rehearsal experience. However, she said the commitment of the cast and crew to the production made it worthwhile.

“In terms of the rehearsal process, I think it’s been really good,” Fox said. “It’s really collaborative. We’ve all kind of been working together and figuring out the characters and where they’re all coming from and getting a real sense of [the play].”

This certainly comes across in rehearsal as the actors and production team bounce ideas back and forth, trying to dig deeper into the meaning of the play. Senior Nick Shuhan, who plays Dan, a young writer in his 30s, talked with his cast-mates about his character’s motivation while pursuing Villamil’s character, a young photographer named Anna.

“You want me to be close to her without being close to her, while trying to get closer to her,” Shuhan said.  

Lawrence said the significance of the play is in its honesty about human nature.

“It’s people we get close to and the people who mean the most to us hurt us the most. And I think that’s a universal human feeling. I think it’s an important story for people to hear.”

 Tickets are $3 presale and $5 at the door. Presale tickets can be bought in Campus Center on Thursday and Friday.