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Thursday January 20th

'Crimes of the Heart' touches on human complexity

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LAB! Theatre’s latest production, “Crimes of the Heart,” a mix of comedy and tragedy, reminds people that everyone has their own stories that shape and rule behavior. – Karishma Patel

Time: 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Monday

Location: Howell Hall 104

Info: Admission is free. Walk in or guarantee a seat with an email reservation to labproducers1314@gmail.com

Family, love, struggle, hilarity, suicide and a cat.

LAB! Theatre’s latest production, “Crimes of the Heart,” a mix of comedy and tragedy, reminds people that everyone has their own stories that shape and rule behavior.

See ‘crimes of the heart’

Time: 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Monday

Location: Howell Hall 104

Info: Admission is free. Walk in or guarantee a seat with an email reservation to labproducers1314@gmail.com

“Crimes of the Heart” is set in 1974 in the gossipy small town of Hazlehurst, Miss., where everyone knows each other and about each other. It was easy for some of the cast members to relate to the small-town dynamic and one of the reasons why director and dramatic art major Angel Giddens wanted to take on this play.

“I was born and raised in the South, so I really know this space,” she said. “I really know the town that they live in, I understand some of the things they have to deal with as characters and I think that’s very reflective of some of the things that I grew up with, learning about and really living.”

The past, and overcoming it to embrace the future, is a big theme in the play, and the backstories really drive the characters.

“Everything that did happen (in the past) is controlling what’s happening now,” said Peter Vance, who portrays the character Doc Porter.

The play revoles around the three Magrath sisters: Lenny, Meg and Babe. Meg returns from California to support Babe in legal issues against her husband. Melanie Rio, a dramatic art and English double major and a LAB! producer and actress, plays Meg and reveals the character’s cloudy past throughout the play.

“I think this play says a lot about the human condition,” Rio said. “With the right intention and enough determination, people can overcome pretty much anything.”

Tensions run deep between the sisters but at the end of the day, they support each other.

“This is a play about relationships. It’s about a family who’s going through a crisis and they need each other to get through it,” Giddens said.

The common concept the actors and director wanted people to take from the play is the idea that people are multifaceted and that no one ever knows what’s going on under the surface. Byron Frazelle, who plays Barnette Lloyd, found it challenging to get into playwright Beth Henley’s head and portray that complexity.

“The show before (this one that I was a part of) was more fantastical and this is more real,” he said. “People are more complex than they might seem to be, and that complexity could come from a number of different circumstances that we might not even be aware of.”

One of the biggest challenges of the play was portraying the deep and serious themes but also incorporating humor while keeping up with the fast pace.

“It’s a comedy and it’s a fast-paced show punctuated by the slower, sad parts,” Caroline Easom, who portrays Babe Magrath, said, quoting Giddens.

Easom hopes people will really get invested in the characters and care about what happens to them by the end of the play.

“It’s a play that you don’t have to struggle to get.”

arts@dailytarheel.com

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