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The fight of her life

Farah Griffin

With the 2008 finan­cial crisis still fresh in people’s minds, it would be easy to have sym­pathy for the main char­acter in Bethany, the the­atre depart­ment’s first pro­duc­tion of 2014.

Bethany, a tragi­comedy set amid the Great Reces­sion, tells the story of a single mother named Crystal who simul­ta­ne­ously strug­gles to regain cus­tody of her 5-​​year-​​old daughter Bethany and keep her job as a car sales­person. It was written by Laura Marks, who penned the play after she was laid off in 2009.

“It shows how people are impacted by the finan­cial crisis, which is still with us in many ways,” explained debut director Jeff Zinn, who has pre­vi­ously served as the artistic director of the Well­fleet Harbor Actors The­ater. “It’s a real fast moving, very ener­getic story with quite a bit of sus­pense. The stakes are high and I think it’s really inter­esting and well-​​told.”

Zinn praised the work of the cast and crew, which includes stu­dents and staff, and noted their pro­duc­tive rehearsals since the first read in early Jan­uary. Bethany is a one-​​act, 65-​​minute play, giving actors and stage­hands plenty of time to com­plete two run-​​throughs during each three-​​hour rehearsal.

“It feels like we haven’t had that many rehearsals but we have made sig­nif­i­cant progress,” said Logan Mer­rithew, E’15, who plays an eccen­tric squatter named Gary. “It does raise the stakes a little bit but I haven’t found it to be a neg­a­tive stress.”

Crystal, who is played by Farah Griffin, AMD’17, meets Gary when she decides to live in a fore­closed home that he has already claimed. Mer­rithew describes Gary as a “huge con­spiracy the­o­rist with a dif­ferent view of the world,” adding that it was ini­tially dif­fi­cult to humanize the character.

“When I first read through the script I was like, ‘This Gary guy is a jerk. I don’t really like him very much,’” Mer­rithew explained. “Early on, trying to bridge the gap between myself and the char­acter was dif­fi­cult because we are very dif­ferent, but it has been a fun process at the same time.”

The play opens Tuesday, Feb. 11, at 8 p.m. in the Curry Stu­dent Center’s Studio The­atre. The pro­duc­tion runs until Sunday, Feb. 23, with shows at 8 p.m. Tues­days through Sat­ur­days, and at 2 p.m. on Sun­days. For more infor­ma­tion, please visit the production’s Face­book page and the CAMD event.

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