Eighth weekend, ETB will present “Orange Flower Water” by Craig Wright, a thought-provoking play directed by junior Veronica Garcia and starring sophomore Stuart Lourey, junior Lexi Norvet, freshmen Logan Ellwood-Diegel and freshman Francesca Caracci.
The play, set in the small town of Pine City, Minnesota, centers around an adulterous affair that tears apart two married couples. A husband from one marriage, Dave, maintains a close friendship with the wife from the other, Beth. Eventually, the two begin an affair.
The entire show takes place on or around a single bed with only two characters at a time engaging in any given scene, giving the play an intimate atmosphere.
For Garcia, one of play’s most interesting, but also most challenging aspects is that the characters engage in such a despicable manner that it is difficult to relate to them or like them.
Lourey agrees, finding that it is hard to ”present the characters as human because in the show, we only see flawed moments.” He explains that there is no exposition in which we find the characters’ redeeming qualities. Rather, the show is a study of people acting out of character.
Beyond the negative attributes of the characters, another challenging, yet intriguing component of the show is the intense physicality that the actors must tackle: sexual activity on stage.
Caracci, finds the idea of sex onstage intimidating, but approaches it with a positive attitude. “You just have to accept it and not think of it as an obstacle,” she said. If she does that, Caracci thinks she’ll find the experience liberating.
For Norvet, an important part of feeling comfortable with partial nudity onstage is establishing a sense of trust among the cast members, which she feels that Garcia has done. Norvet also understands “what the scene is about and what the reason for the nudity is.”
“We’ve talked about their objectives and actions. If they’re truthful to that, the sexual activity and nudity onstage won’t be too much of a problem,” said Garcia.
A major theme that emerges in Orange Flower Water is the characters’ feeling a lack of agency in their own lives. Lourey explains that the characters use adultery as a way to reclaim that loss of agency. “I’m from a small town in Minnesota,” said Lourey.
“It’s an insular, self contained community, so that’s a palpable feeling.”
The show serves as a jumping off point for audience members to think about morals. It poses the question, “Why are we willing to do hurtful things to seek pleasure?’ said Garcia.
It also prompts the audience to think about the gravity of romantic relationships. “As college students,” said Norvet, “it’s easy to see romance as low risk. This play does a great job of portraying what’s at stake when relationships end and begin.”
“It’s a real show in the sense that it’s about love, but not as a happy ever after; It’s about moments of beauty arising from messy circumstances,” said Lourey.
This intimate play tackling love, loss, and dealing with the responsibilities of one’s actions will grace the Carleton stage eighth weekend.