She Loves Me is well underway and embarking on its second weekend of performances. The cast and crew hope that audience members seeing the show will leave the theatre feeling happy and refreshed. This sense of relief and enjoyment is definitely something the writers intended to achieve, and it is a common theme amongst all the adaptations. However, there are many different ideas explored in the original script Parfumerie and its subsequent interpretations. This post hopes to illuminate a few of these ideas for you.
At first look, She Loves Me does not appear to be a show with a specific political message, nor does it aims to be. But due to the historical landscape surrounding the composition of the original story, some subtle political themes can be seen in the work. Parfumerie was written in 1937, during the most severe economic depression Europe has experienced to date. Unemployment rates skyrocketed from 5 percent to nearly 36 percent in less than five years. Taking these details into consideration, it is no coincidence, then, that the clerks at the Parfumerie feel especially driven to keep their jobs, or that Amalia feels the urgent need to find one. A great example of these worried feelings seeping into the show is the song “Perspective,” sung by the agreeable family man Ladislav Sipos. The song is entirely about how he compromises his own self-respect in order to avoid conflict and keep his job.
“Let me put it bluntly: I’m a coward with a wife and children to support. Actually my creed is short and simple: five essential words Georg: do not lose your job!!!”1
While the writing of the show approaches these issues from a comedic standpoint, they still carry the weight they held during the depression. As the US slowly recovers from its own most recent economic recession, these dire feelings are ones that likely many of us can understand as well. And as for the comedy? Well, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.
There’s one weekend left to see She Loves Me, and we hope to see you there! Tickets available here.
These past few weeks, we’ve been covering the facts, myths, cults, culture, and community that have been etched by the fallout of the Columbine Massacre. We’ve gone exclusively into some topics that aren’t necessarily covered as much by the version of the play we are producing here at Loyola. But there’s one huge component of the entire equation we have omitted: the Thirteen.
The Thirteen is in reference to the thirteen people who were murdered on April 20, 1999 at Columbine High School. They are who we do this play for. Every night, we get the opportunity to explore their narrative and give them a voice amidst the silence they now face. I felt the only way to finish out our blog series is by giving you a taste of who the thirteen were — giving them the opportunity for the spotlight.
To write this post, I enlisted the help of my wonderful cast. I’m indebted to Alex, Audrey, David, Dominic, Kieran, Justin, Londen, and Natalie for their hard work in and out of the rehearsal room. They’ve jumped head first into this play and have become not only great storytellers, but superb dramaturgs in their own right. Each of them have spent the last few months examining, researching, and forming well informed opinions about the events and outcomes of the Columbine Massacre. I’m honored to have had the chance to work with them.
“It’s very daunting, but at the same time, I’m incredibly honored to be given the opportunity.
“It’s an honor. It’s very exciting! It’s very humbling, too.”
What other responses would you expect from two freshmen cast as the lead roles in a Main Stage musical? Indeed, freshman Theatre majors Brian Warner and Molly Hernandez happily and humbly reflect on their experiences starring in She Loves Me as they plunge into the final weekend of the show’s run.
Warner wistfully describes his character Georg Nowack as “a hopeless romantic” who is also “very well educated and int
elligent.” This compels him “to find his woman and live happily ever after. But his fear is that he won’t.” As a result, Georg “starts writing to someone through this Lonely Hearts Club. Once he finds [his secret admirer] Dear Friend, his greatest hope and his greatest fear is, ‘Is this Dear Friend everything that I hoped for her to be?’”
Meanwhile, Hernandez excitedly explains that she loves her character Amalia Balash “because she’s not your typical ingénue. She’s spunky, and kind of sassy. Her biggest fear is that she’s going to end up alone, and she’s afraid that Georg is going to get in the way of that and cause issues. But they also have this playful banter throughout the show!”
Although their lovesick protagonists share much in common, both actors use distinct methods to get into character.