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PlayMakers’ ‘Love Alone’ uses technology to put on show

Arielle Yoder (right) and Julia Gibson and perform in "Love Alone," presented by the Playmakers Repertory Company starting Feb. 26 and continuing through March 16. Playmakers' production of Deborah Salem Smith's story of grief and healing will be performed in the Paul Green Theatre at UNC's Center for Dramatic Art. Individual ticket prices start at $15.
Buy Photos Arielle Yoder (right) and Julia Gibson and perform in "Love Alone," presented by the Playmakers Repertory Company starting Feb. 26 and continuing through March 16. Playmakers' production of Deborah Salem Smith's story of grief and healing will be performed in the Paul Green Theatre at UNC's Center for Dramatic Art. Individual ticket prices start at $15.

With on-stage projections and music videos, PlayMakers’s latest production, “Love Alone” will throw the technological in with the deeply emotional.

The play, which opens today, focuses on the themes of love, loss and forgiveness. The show follows Helen Warren, portrayed by former Broadway actress Julia Gibson, after her partner passes away during a low-risk medical procedure.

‘Love Alone’

Time: Tonight to March 16. Tuesday – Sunday, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday matinee, 2 p.m.; Saturday matinee, 2 p.m.
Location: Center for Dramatic Art
Info: playmakersrep.org

“Love Alone” tells the story of Helen and her daughter Clementine, played by UNC graduate student Arielle Yoder, as they cope with the loss of their loved one.

In the show, Clementine grieves by writing music and performing with her band, “One-Armed Edna.” The gradual progression of Clementine’s band is depicted through music videos during the production.

Dominic Abbenante, PlayMakers’s master electrician who headed the play’s technological workings, said the videos serve as transitions in the play and at times mirror the emotions the actors portray.

“It kind of just helps augment the mood for the play and the general emotion from scene to scene. After a really intense scene, there might be a really intense transition,” Abbenante said.

Yoder said she also appreciated the technological side of the play and hopes to see more in the future.

“I think it’s great and I think theater should use more of that nowadays,” she said.

“If we didn’t have the videos we wouldn’t really see Clementine rocking out because it’s not written into the play. So it sort of allows the audience into her heartbeat in a way because she’s so attached to the music and that music is such a big part of the show.”

In addition to its technological details, the play is also set apart from other productions by approaching political themes in a subtle way.

Yoder said “Love Alone” is a very relevant play considering the discussions regarding healthcare and marriage equality in the country.

“I think what sets it apart is the timeframe in which we’re doing it. When we’re going through all these changes in the legislature with healthcare and marriage equality, I think it really speaks to America now in a way that is intimate,” Yoder said.

“It’s not a big political statement play — its just two families lives coping with this loss within the bigger picture.”

“Love Alone” is a newer production which hasn’t been produced very many times. The playwright, Deborah Salem Smith, worked with the PlayMakers cast during rehearsals.

“It was great to have her talk about what inspired her to write the play and her understanding of scenes. It was sort of a shortcut for us,” Gibson said.

“She’s a wonderful, positive and kind spirit to have in the room which was really nice.”

Gibson also said audience members could take a number of lessons away from “Love Alone.”

“I think the play offers a possibility for forgiveness in a really big way that could be very healing to both individuals and the community as a whole,” she said.

“The subject matter makes it sound really bleak, but it’s actually a really beautiful play and very uplifting in spite of its serious subject matter.”

arts@dailytarheel.com

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