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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

August 18, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Accent

‘Some Girl(s)’ reveals relationships’ complications

Revisiting a bitter old girlfriend for closure is a challenge in and of itself, but facing every single ex right before getting married is an entirely different story.

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From left, sophomores Sarah Matte, who plays Tyler, and Josh Johnston, who plays Guy, rehearse in Williams Hall on Thursday. The play follows Guy as he confronts all of his exes. Claudia Pietrzak/The Ithacan

That’s the plot of Neil LaButte’s play “Some Girl(s)” as performed by IC Players — a story of one man’s past relationships and how he tries to change the girls’ views of him. As his fiancee eagerly awaits their coming nuptials, he flies across the country in search of his ex-girlfriends on a mission to make sure he’s righted any wrongs.

Senior Alex Zenn said she chose to direct the play because she could relate to the journey the main character, Guy, takes to fix relationships from his past.

“I have experienced something like this, only in girl form,” she said. “I’ve gone back and re-visited exes because I have to have resolution in a relationship. It hit home. I wanted to focus on the gender aspect of it too — the battle of the sexes. It’s a story about relationships, and I was fascinated by that.”

The women in the show include Guy’s high school sweetheart, a free-spirited sexual partner, an older professor and the only woman he truly loved — if he’s capable of love at all that is. It seems the scorned women are not so sure.
Sophomore Josh Johnston said playing Guy presented him with a number of difficulties he’s never faced before, especially since he never once leaves the stage.

“I’d say my first challenge was vocal strength,” he said. “The first two times we read through the show I lost my voice. With each scene comes new variables with these opposing characters. Each character is so over-exaggerated that my emotions range from apologetic to defeated to excited, and it’s very difficult to switch from absolute fear to a rushed sense of excitement.”

Zenn said because the script is character-centric, she collaborated with the actors, letting them make choices about their past and onstage movement. Each actor was also responsible for bringing in their own costume, fitting into Zenn’s minimal set design. Guy meets all of the women in a hotel room, giving the actors only two beds and some side tables to work with in each scene.

“I gave them an assignment to tell me where the character is from, their biggest fear, favorite book, so on and so forth,” Zenn said. “It helps develop the character. The show is only about the relationships and the characters in it.”

One of those characters is Sam, Guy’s high school sweetheart and current soccer mom, played by sophomore Sarah Hesseltine. She said while the show focuses on Guy’s relationships with the women, the audience learns about Guy through his interactions with them all.

“In each scene, you find so much out about Guy,” she said. “Each scene is really supposed to be about these women, but through that mirror you get to know Guy as a person really well.”

Hesseltine said she found becoming emotionally charged at the end of her scene a difficult part of getting into her character. The tension builds as Sam discovers that after breaking up with her, Guy took another girl to prom. The fact that he got his night at prom and she didn’t is a breaking point for Hesseltine’s character.

“When you’re not that person it’s hard to get in that mind-set,” she said. “It’s something she cares a lot about but to other people might seem very trivial. So even though this wouldn’t be upsetting to me, this is really upsetting to this woman.”
Sophomore Sarah Matte plays Tyler, the down-to-earth, sexually promiscuous ex. She said Guy gets burned by these women, forced to deal with criticism of their past relationships.

“He does every single bad thing someone can do in a relationship: cheat, lie, leave,” she said. “He’s done it at some point to every woman.”

Johnston said because his character is portrayed as monstrous and vampire-like, he has to bring some humanity to Guy as well. He said the mix of drama and comedy makes the show work.

“[The scenes] are all so different, but they’re all so great,” he said. “The funniest is definitely the last, and I’m geared more toward comedy so I very much enjoy that scene. It’s very intense and challenging to get into some of those lines and figure out what the characters are trying to get across in this short time.”

Because of the tumultuous relationships portrayed in the show, Matte said this play is perfect for a college audience struggling with relationships themselves.

“The show can be hard if any of it rings true in a relationship for you,” she said. “The emotion is all so concentrated with the interactions with the women. In college, people are very concerned with relationships, and this play shows them all.”