"Talking With "¦" features 11 female characters telling stories about seminal moments in their lives that deal with a range of issues including life, death, faith, love, loneliness and obsession. Despite the varied topics, the women share a common humanity and an ability to cope while the stories themselves are a consistent intermingled blend of sadness and humor.
"Each woman's life is a work of art, and each is a piece of work," said director Judith Palladino, an Oklahoma City University professor. "Just like any art we see, admire and wonder about, our outside worlds might be different from the artists' and their works of art, but our inner difficulties and convictions are likely much the same."
She said that "Talking With ..." was selected because it is comprised entirely of extended monologues "? a rare thing for a full-length play "? which gave the actors a unique performance opportunity.
REALITY OF THE SCENES
It will be performed in the Kirkpatrick Fine Arts Center's Black Box Theatre, using minimal props, costumes and lighting. The various settings include a maternity ward and a bar. Lights illuminate the audience throughout, so that the actors can directly address and physically interact with audiences, bringing them into the reality of the scenes, creating what Palladino said is a rare opportunity for the performers and a potentially exciting experience for audience members.
She said the overall aesthetic approach to the production was inspired by the performance space "? in this case, theater-in-the-round.
"All of the women are 'surrounded' by a circle of friends, family, or acquaintances," she said. "Life also comes full-circle in the piece."
To emphasize a sense of being surrounded, Palladino shook up the production by bringing the characters out of isolation during key scenes that reflect important stages of life, such as giving birth to a child or the death of a parent.
"The last piece finds the entire cast onstage," she said. "One by one, their lights are extinguished. Again, you are rarely alone as you leave this world."