DramaLab Previews Poison, Lonely, Career Counseling

“Poison” by Eliot Hayes. What is it exactly that couples do that has made the divorce rate in America creep up to 50%? Tonight, the DramaLabs will be showing “Poison,” featuring Emily Hutcheson-Tipton ’10 and Mide Babatunde ’09 as an angry couple in dispute, directed by Eliana Kwartler ’12. The play begins with Jack, played by Babatunde, entering the house. Hutcheson-Tipton, who plays Karen, is his lustful wife. She just finished sleeping with her boy-toy, and the dialogue begins as Karen is caught red-handed. Hutcheson-Tipton commented, “I actually haven’t been in a role quite like that before. I’m kind of [nasty] in the beginning, which is really interesting. Yeah, it’s good.” Too bad for Jack—he still genuinely loves Karen. He asks questions about Karen’s affair and asks her if this was her first time sleeping with Charlie, her boy-toy. She says “yes” at first, but Jack is quick to shout “bullshit” back at her. Karen quickly adds, “[It was the first time] on our bed.” The two argue, and Jack suddenly asks whether Karen loves Jack or not. She replies “yes” at first, but it’s rather obvious she’s lying. The argument then becomes heated emotional, and irrational. “I feel a little, maybe inferior, less manly than I usually do. My wife just cheated on me,” Babatunde said. “I’m agreeing to everything she says, until later. I really become a lot more aggressive and tell her out. It’s fun!” “Lonely,” by Anne Marie Healy. Contrary to the aggressive, angry couple from Poison, “Lonely,” directed by Julie Xie ’10, features a seemingly perfect, happy couple. Milly, played by Alessandra Powell ’11, is the overly enthusiastic, show-off wife who overstates everything to her unwed sister, Frances, played by Cat Cleveland ’11. She boasts about the homely atmosphere of her house, her exceptionally comfortable couch, her delicious hot toddies and even her sex life. She is especially proud of her husband, Frank, played by Scott Dzialo ’09. She vividly and very sexually describes the role Frank plays in the family: “He’s the brawn. He’s the muscle that turns the cork…or the screws.” Xie commented, “I really like the play, because there is this air of awkwardness that hangs over the scene. Frances is just really uncomfortable, Frank and Milly are annoyingly sweet, and those character relationships [stand] out to me as really funny.” Francis suffers quite a bit of loneliness and admits to talking to herself. The couple tries to comfort her while remaining proud of their incredible life. But as Frank tries to help Frances overcome her problems, the couple realizes that their marriage isn’t necessarily immune to flaws. “Career Counseling” by Madeleine Martin. The upper-classmen of Phillips Academy all know what college counseling is like: a pain. To counteract this belief, one DramaLab this week will present perhaps the most stressful and painful, but funniest counseling session one could ever imagine. “Career Counseling,” directed by Kate Chaviano ’12, presents a delirious, nonsensical career counselor played by Michelle Ma ’11, and the perfect, Valla Victorian student Wendy, played by Marilyn Harris ’11. Wendy, with her enthusiastic, 6.0-student attitude, meets her career counselor to determine her path after high school. But from their first encounter, Wendy realizes that her college counselor is absolutely psychotic. From the minute Wendy enters the room, the counselor begins her absurd diagnosis. Just by glancing her from top to bottom, the counselor sees that Wendy is possibly retarded, promiscuous and addicted to drugs. She believes Wendy to be failing all of her classes and refers to her as a tramp. Ma said, “For one, she’s my complete opposite. I get to show a side of me that I never show. Actually, I don’t even know if that’s a part of me. It was pulled out of nowhere.” The two continue their meeting, but Wendy starts to find the counselor rather pitiful. Ma goes on to say that she sees a lot of herself in Wendy; her diagnosis was just a reflection of the college counselor’s childhood. The counselor wails and cries in sorrow, but Wendy begins to record their conversation and to take notes. All she sees in this meeting is the opportunity to write a newspaper article on the counselor’s story. It is hilarious to say the least. “[The play] is extremely high energy. The characters are huge. It’s about a situation where you’re working through a problem when someone just isn’t making sense,” said Chaviano.