by Jilleen Barrett & Katie Heneghan, A&E Editor & Web Editor
The Manhattan College Players performed Joshua Harmon’s play “Significant Other,” in the blackbox theatre throughout the weekend of Friday, November 12. With three in-person performances throughout the weekend, Play- ers is truly back in full force.
“Significant Other” covers a wide range of topics, from friendships, to romantic relationships, to the challenges of getting older. This play encapsulates the complexity of relationships and the need for human connection.
Junior Sophie Ryan is an experienced member of MC Players with performances in last spring’s production of “Oedipus Rex,” “Marcus is Walking,” and last fall’s production of “The Laramie Project.” Ryan played an important role in “Significant Other” as the grandmother to the main char- acter, Jordan. Ryan’s character, Helene, suffers from Dementia.
“Over the course of the play, her memory is just slipping more and more, and so it’s a really tragic thing to witness and to try to convey what she endured,” Ryan said. “That’s been really fun to work on with Matt [Blackwood], who plays Jordan.”
Ryan feels telling the stories of the LGBTQ+ community is especially important on a Catholic campus, and compared this year’s play with “The Laramie Project,” a true story the players performed last fall about a gay man who was the victim of a fatal hate crime.
“I think it’s so important. And I think that those narratives are often shied away from which I don’t think we need to shy away from that,” Ryan said. “I think, it’s just so much more freeing to be able to tell this story that isn’t necessarily tragic and isn’t necessarily one about violence or hate, and actually shows a queer protagonist struggling with dating and struggling with love life, and struggling with concepts of heteronormativity and I think it’s a really important story to tell, especially on this campus.” Junior Ahmed Alotaibi plays multiple roles in the production, crossing lines of sexuality and identity. His first role, Roger, conveys a straight male, married to a woman, Vanessa. His next role, illustrates a gay man, Ivan, who is loud, lonely and outgoing.
Alotaibi describes his third character, Zach, saying, “Zach is also a gay male. He has kids, and he has a little bit more of a masculine side. He’s the chillest of them all, he’s really relaxed and down to earth.”
Selima Atallah, an exchange student who grew up in Tunisia and went to school in France, described what it is like to be performing in the United States for the first time. Atallah played Roger’s wife Vanessa, who she says has “this cynical vibe that I often also give off.”
“Being part of MC Players has really been an amazing experience,” Atallah said. “Everybody is so serious about the play. Getting to act in English was also an experience I was looking forward to, because I was in several plays back in France and in Tunisia and I really wanted to try to get that experience during my exchange at Manhattan College. It’s been challenging and a lot of work, but I’m really glad to have been cast and to have met all those amazing people.”
“We definitely are going to be bigger and better with live performances,” Ryan said. “I’m really excited about the cabaret in the spring, it’s gonna be a huge musical, lots of dancing and fun costumes. We’re happy to be back to more theateresque productions … so definitely look out for more stuff like that.”