Characters find love in mental institution
Drake University’s Theatre Department presents the unconventional love story of Will Eno’s “The Flu Season” as a part of its 2011-2012 main stage season.
Giving new meaning to Rihanna’s latest single “We Found Love,” “The Flu Season” tells the story of a relationship that forms between two mental patients.
“Falling in love in a regular show turns it into a romantic comedy, but in “The Flu Season” it’s much more complicated because of the setting,” senior Briana Wright, who plays Woman, said.
Forrest Williams directs this piece as a part of his senior capstone.
“It is a combination of genuine American realism with a dash of the absurd and an ancient Greek chorus — without the boring parts,” Williams said. “There is a lot of humor, but it also makes you think.”
The show’s absurdist elements provided an acting challenge for sophomore Moria Sutherland, who plays Prologue.
“I’ve never played a narrator before; it was difficult not being an involved member of the play. Since I had no scene partners I had to learn to react off of nothing,” Sutherland said.
As a student director, Williams had support from the faculty in producing “The Flu Season.”
“The faculty has backed me up and because it’s a main stage we had a budget. Also, the business school graciously lent us some chairs,” Williams said.
Sutherland found working with a student director to be a rewarding experience.
“Forrest was an insightful and creative director. I often forgot he is still a student; he is extremely dedicated and professional,” Sutherland said.
Sophomore Morgan Daniels, who plays the Nurse, was inspired by Williams from the start.
“He started off our rehearsal process by saying that he wanted our show to be the best of the semester, and I think since then we have all been holding ourselves to that standard,” Daniels said.
The appeal of the show comes from its ability to break from theatrical norms.
“This show is very different from traditional plays. It is snarky and nonsensical in a way that makes you want to see more. The twists in the story unfold in a matter-of-fact manner that still has high drama,” Sutherland said. “This is a play that challenges the idea of writing a play.”
Audience members will each walk away with something different.
“It says different things for different people. I want people to make their own opinions about what to take away from it because I think that makes for good storytelling and good theater,” Williams said.
“The Flu Season” runs Dec. 1, 2 and 3 at 8 p.m. and Dec. 4 at 2 p.m. Tickets are free and available in the box office. Reservations can be made in person or by calling (515) 271-3841.