Love, sex, commitment, rejection, pain and possession. Anyone who has dated has confronted these issues. “The Art of Dating,” presented by the Generic Theatre Company this week in Downstage Lisner Auditorium, uses humor and powerful drama to address ideas that are central to all relationships.
A combination of scenes and monologues effectively explores a wide range of romantic situations. From simple attraction to infidelity to sexual orientation, the characters face a melange of relationship questions in their search for the ideal companion or perfect relationship.
Director Zach Kaplan, a senior, compiled most of the dramatic pieces used in the show from the script of the recent Broadway production “Lovers and Other Strangers” by Renee Taylor and Joseph Bologna.
“After reading `Lovers and Strangers’ and discovering the one-act play `The Art of Dating,’ I came up with the idea to present an evening centered around the issues involved in love, sex and dating,” Kaplan said. First, Kaplan decided to create the show with a thematic approach instead of using a conventional, linear plot with related characters. He then worked with cast members, selecting monologues that could be incorporated into the general theme of the evening.
“These issues are similar to real life. Everyone has had these experiences,” cast member Rory Haiber said.
The cast members provide convincing portrayals of individuals and couples who experience the feelings of uncertainty and anxiety in a relationship. Fears of rejection, unrequited love and commitment are presented as both humorous and serious topics.
While most of the characters are realistic individuals, some are exaggerated portrayals, adding to the comedic aspects of the show.
“Some of the characters can be very extreme,” junior cast member Steph Braun said. “At that point, it becomes a matter of the actor realizing this, adjusting and going to that extreme.”
With her portrayal of Brenda, a nervous, indecisive and comically over-anxious character, Braun delves into that extreme and gives an amusing performance.
Overall, the cast members provide alleys for the audience to connect with both the characters and the issues. In the end, the subject matter of the compiled works, as well as the performance of the cast, achieve Kaplan’s primary goal – “to let people relax, enjoy themselves and laugh.”
“The Art of Dating” will be performed Wednesday through Sunday in Downstage Lisner Auditorium.