The initial spring semester theatre offering by the Fairmont State University School of Fine Arts and Masquers is Lucy Prebble's compelling dark comedy, "The Effect". The production will run February 28 through March 4 in the Wallman Hall Studio Theatre (Room 314) on the Fairmont State campus.
The play tells the story of Connie and Tristan, young adults who join an anti-depressant clinical drug trial for two very different reasons; one for money and one for the experience. They are kept in the hospital for over month, with a dismissive doctor who won’t face her own troubles, and no way to contact the outside world. As time passes, the two patients begin to spend every moment with each other, not knowing if they are truly falling in love or if it is just a side-effect of the medicine they are taking.
Fairmont State senior theatre major Morgan Carder is directing "The Effect" as part of her Senior Capstone project, under the mentorship of Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts Susan Cato-Chapman.
“When I first read the script, I fell in love with the text instantly," Carder said. "We don’t talk about these things; I don’t think we as a society like to talk about mental illness, or if we do, we make it this grand and tragic thing that becomes romanticized. The playwright tackles mental illness in such a tasteful way that you don’t realize what is going on until you are thoroughly sucked in to what is happening on stage. It’s a hard piece to do. It’s hard to talk about and confront things like anxiety and depression, especially when it plays out in such an intimate space like our studio theatre.”
According to Dramatists Play Service, "'The Effect' takes on our pill-popping culture with humor and scintillating drama." And "The Guardian" calls it "a funny and heartbreaking play . . . a knotty drama, dealing with scientific objectivity, guilt, the mysteries of the human heart and brain and what makes us who we are, wrapped up in a deceptively simple and constantly entertaining package."
The cast members of "The Effect", all students in the Fairmont State department of communication and theatre arts, are Sarah Hinerman as Dr. James, TJ Kidwell as Toby, Robbie Stevens as Tristan, and Sam Young as Connie, with Jason Englestad, Cheyenne Fox, and Sean Shearer in the Ensemble. Senior theatre majors Rayleen Working, Colby Holleran, and Jacqueline Jelacic are designing scenery, costumes, and makeup and hair respectively, as part of their senior capstone project, under the mentorship of Professor of Theatre Arts Troy Snyder. The design team also includes theatre majors Seret Cole (lighting) and Kyle Stemple (props), with Susan Cato-Chapman designing the sound.
"The Effect" will be performed in the Wallman Hall Studio Theatre (Room 314) on February 28, March 1, 2, 3 at 7:30 p.m. and March 4 at 2:00 p.m. The play contains mature content. Tickets can be obtained by calling the box office at 304-367-4240.