Russian playwright Ivan Viripaev’s “Illusions” was the perfect, blank canvas for the Central College Department of Theatre to put a unique spin on an intricate tale of life.
“I feel like it’s definitely a one-of-a-kind show,” said Vinz Faure, French language assistant. “Outside of Central, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this before.”
The dark comedy focuses on two married couples, who are lifelong friends, reflecting on experiences throughout their lives. It begins at the deathbed of a man named Denny, 82, who in his final moments addresses his wife, Sandra, expressing his love and appreciation for their many years together.
However, as the story unravels, the audience learns of the complexity and intricacy of each characters’ relationship with one another.
“It’s about the meaning of life,” said Spanish Language Assistant Periko GM. “I think, depending on your situation, depending on who you are, depending on the things that affect you, it will mean one thing or another. It’s going to be really interesting to see the different reactions from people.”
The story is mainly told through monologue with limited dialogical interactions between the four characters. Junior Kaeanne Louks and GM will be acting out stories in conjunction with the monologues, giving an oral and visual representation of each character. Production will also include interesting light changes and musical interpretations of different characters.
“The cool thing about this show is even if five other schools decided to do this, none of them would be the same,” said senior Elizabeth Rouse.
Director Mary Jo Sodd believes Central is the first college or university to ever perform the play. The first U.S production of the play was produced at the Baryshnikov Arts Center (BAC) in 2013.
According to Sodd, it took her four to five months to obtain the rights out of Germany. Due to current censorship from Moscow, she says it’s also difficult to obtain biographical information about Viripaev and the American translator, Cazimir Liske.
Sodd says Viripaev spoke out against Russian President Vladimir Putin during the last election, and Liske mysteriously died “falling from a window” in Moscow in April 2014.
“The play really has an underscore of ‘who do you believe anymore?’” said Sodd.
Performances will be held Nov. 19-23 at 7:00 p.m. in the Mr. B. Studio Theatre on campus.