Surfacing Theatre explored various types of relationships in its 2011 Musical Revue. The story of the three romances — gay, lesbian and a love triangle — was broken into different scenes, which weaved in and out during the entire performance.
“It’s really a story that includes everyone,” said Erin Murphy, technical director. “That’s why we wanted to include every type of love into the story. We wanted everyone to be involved in this story.”
The musical begins with three narrators: Calliope, Melopmene and Thalia, played by Jenna Thomas, Katie Linsley and Katie Maxwell, respectively, who guide the audience through three types of romances. These women represent the three Greek muses. They are the chorus, which in ancient Greek plays narrated the story.
The first relationship showcases Grace, played by Lydia Scroggins, and Jack, played by Joe Batzer. Grace and Jack have been best friends since childhood, and as adults secretly fall in love with each other. In scene two, they have their final conversation before Grace leaves her hometown. They sing, “If I Said I Loved You” from “The Pirate Queen,” which makes their true feelings obvious to the audience — not each other. At the end of their conversation, Karen, played by Aly Chisum, freshman media communications major, is introduced. Karen falls in love with Grace, but knew Grace would never love her back — Grace loves Jack. When Grace returns home, she and Jack reveal their love for each other, which leaves Karen’s heart broken. As Karen ends “There’s a Fine, Fine Line” from “Avenue Q,” she bumps into another lesbian character. This woman flirts with Karen and suggests a potential relationship between them.
“(Karen) obviously doesn’t get what she wants in the end,” Murphy said. “There’s a play with another character to show there’s still hope in the end.”
Scene three establishes the gay relationship between Peter, played by Dan Geigerman, and Jason, played by Hank San German. After three girls harass Peter for being homosexual, Jason sees Peter’s sadness and befriends him. They sing, “You Walk With Me” from “The Full Monty.” As their story continues, Jason reveals that he has not yet come out and starts to feel uncomfortable with where their relationship is heading because his homosexuality is still secret. He finally commits himself to Peter after coming out to his father, and after accepting his own homosexuality.
Geigerman said although he is not homosexual, he can relate to the characters Jason and Peter.
“Just the idea of someone having to put on a face to the world and hide their true feelings about something or someone, is just sad,” Geigerman said. “A lot of these relationships or attractions to people … a lot of times it’s not a choice. It just happens.”
“The Riddle,” a dark song from “The Scarlet Pimpernel,” explores the complex relationship between Burs, played by Devin Vogel, and Queenie, played by Cat Goeke, as well as Burs’ best friend, Black, played by Sean Tiffin. Burs and Queenie, a married couple, face marital problems when Burs discovers Queenie’s affair with Black. Burs discovered Queenie and Black in bed together. After a tense scuffle in which the ensemble performs, “Make Me Happy” from “The Wild Party,” Burs accidently shoots Queenie and Black. This scene is the most intense of the entire show and is performed before intermission. In “Cat On A Hot Tin Roof,” a character named Big Daddy learns he has cancer just before an intermission. Since seeing the play, Seanna Tucker, executive director, knew she wanted the Music Revue to be similar.
“I love after ‘Make Me Happy’ that being the intermission,” Tucker said. “The lights come up and the audience is just sitting there and they have this look on their face like, what are they supposed to do for the next 15 minutes after watching such an emotionally intense scene.”
When the ensemble performed, “Those You’ve Known,” from “Spring Awakening,” the spirits of the slain Queenie and Black forgave Burs for their deaths.
After following the ups and downs of three romances, the entire ensemble concludes by singing, “Love Who You Love” from “A Man of No Importance.” The song’s message is that people should love without boundaries, which was a purposeful message from the directors.
“The underlying aspect is acceptance,” Geigerman said. “The last song, ‘Love Who You Love,’ … that basically says it all. That’s why it was picked as the finale because you should love whom you love and no one else should dictate who you love.”
Surfacing’s 2011 Music Revue ran Friday, Dec. 2-3 in the Emerson Studio Theatre.
Directors: Devin Vogel, Seanna Tucker and Erin Murphy
Writers: Ashley Webb, Devin Vogel and Erin Murphy
Stage Manager: Josephine Rose Ronga