A recently rejuvenated Northwestern University theater venue will greet audiences who attend the Mainstage winter 2016 production of an updated version of an ancient fable attributed to Greek dramatist Aeschylus. 

The modern takeoff of the Greek myth — about a group of runaway brides being pursued by their jilted grooms — was adapted by American playwright and historian Charles L. Mee. Mee is known for his “collage-like style of playwriting, which makes use of radical reconstructions of found texts.”

Presented by the School of Communication’s Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts, Mee’s play “Big Love” will be this season’s first production in Northwestern’s recently enhanced Josephine Louis Theater.

The theater is part of the Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts, 1949 Campus Drive — formerly known as Northwestern’s Theater and Interpretation Center. 

The updated Louis Theater now features 288 comfortable new seats, two internal aisles, more wheelchair accessible seating, a reconfigured floor that reduced the rake (sloping angle) of the theater and seating that is broken up into six sections.

Mee’s “Big Love” will be staged at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30; 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 31; 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 4; 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 5; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 6; and 2 p.m.Sunday, Feb. 7, at the Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive, on the University’s Evanston campus.

Talkback discussions featuring the student cast and director Gina Marie Hayes will follow the Jan. 29 and Feb. 4 performances.

“Big Love” follows 50 terrified brides fleeing an arranged marriage who take refuge in an Italian Villa, with 50 angry grooms hot on their trail, hell-bent on reclaiming their “property.” As tensions rise and their trip down the aisle nears, sisters Tyona, Olympia and Lydia hatch a desperate plan to escape the darker side of love and matrimony.

Hayes, a School of Communication MFA candidate, directs a radicalized version of an Aeschylus play that implodes the gender divide and gives new meaning to “until death do us part.”

“This play is fascinating to me because it asks so many questions about identity and marriage,” Hayes said. “Are you going to let me be the person that I know I am? Am I allowed to have the things I want? Who says? Is it you? Is it me? Do I say?” 

Tickets are $25 for general public; $22 for Northwestern staff and faculty, educators and seniors (over 62); and $10 for full-time students with valid IDs (at the door) or $5 tickets exclusively for full-time Northwestern students on advance purchase. Discounts are available for groups of eight or more.

For more information, phone 847-491-7282, visit the Wirtz Center website.

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