Significant Other Brings out the Honesty in Love

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Rachel Haggerty/NW

Mary McDonough

While everyone prepares for Valentine’s Day, be it with another person or curled up on the couch with a good book and a drink, the Forest Roberts Theatre (FRT) opens their production of “Significant Other” on Feb. 13 at the James A. Panowski Black Box Theatre. This play speaks to the difficulty of finding love while also celebrating the different kinds of relationships in life. 

Sophomore fisheries and wildlife major Marcus Bechek plays Jordan, who is surrounded by his group of tight knit friends, but as time goes on all three leading women find love. Bechek’s character is left struggling with the loneliness of trying to find his Mr. Right—if he ever will. 

While balancing student responsibilities with rehearsals, Becheck explained that he had help from his castmates in finding a foundation for his character that was rooted in building those relationships. 

“It’s been hard to find time to really dive in, but I think what really helped is actually just living life with all of these guys and listening to their stories,” Bechek said. “What better way to make it real than just listen to those around you?” 

Freshman art and design major Michealla Maningo, who plays Laura, one of the main women in Jordan’s inner circle, explained that the whole process is not what she’s used to, but has allowed her to learn. 

“This is my first college-level theatre experience and it’s been very different because high school doesn’t have as much care for the artistic integrity,” Maningo said. 

The fact that the story is a more modern work has also allowed for a more diverse conversation to take place. Junior theatre major Kate Karling, who plays Kiki, is another piece of the support system. Karling explained that stories like this don’t come around very often and the cast has taken the opportunity to really latch on and grow together. 

“The diversity in the cast is something we’ve all been very passionate about. It’s really great we get to showcase that because it’s so rare that we do,” Karling said. “This is a smaller cast but we definitely have a really great group of people because we all mesh so well. We genuinely laugh together on stage.”  

The story unfolds using only one set and a series of blocks with lighting cues, making the production complicated to assemble. Bechek explained that this experience was different than previous shows she has played in because of the short time to put everything where it needed to be. 

“I didn’t really know how this show was going to go because we spent a whole month away from each other. We got the script and we had no idea what any of our ideas were,” Bechek said. “We knew we had less than two months to put all of these ideas into
a show together.” 

Maningo explained putting all of the complex pieces together, on top of learning the blocking for the show, has been eye opening as to what really makes college productions come alive. 

“Blocking has been the easier part, but now that we’re introducing costume changes and stuff has made me see how much goes into this,” Maningo said.

While the show is rooted in comedy and dark humor, there are still lessons that can be learned. Junior art and design major Lee Johnson, who plays Vanessa, the last woman to complete Bechek’s tight knit group, explained that she hopes the audience will walk away with a very simple message.

“Don’t care what people think about you. Love who you want to love, be who you want to be,” Johnson said. 

Bechek explained that for him it is more about the journey of life and how quickly it shifts as endless as certain struggles might seem. 

“It’s a long book, each chapter is a different story and a different part of your life,” Bechek said. 

At a time of year where people might feel upset about their lives, Karling explained that there are more ways to be happy than just being in love, and she hopes audiences recognize that. 

“Sharing happiness is the most important thing, no matter who it’s with,” Karling said. 

“Significant Other” starts at 7:30 p.m. Feb.13 to 22 at the James A. Panowski Black Box Theatre.