- The Griffin
Little Theater puts on their final show “Significant Other” this weekend
By Brianna Propis, Features Contributor
Saving the stickers that cling to fruit, revisiting the hot guy from work’s social media page one too many times, safekeeping a pair of light blue converse and attending one wedding after the next — Jordan Berman has as many thoughts racing through his mind as he does bachelorette parties on his calendar. But how can he possibly manage to support each of his friends’ romantic endeavors if every door he opens never has Mr. Right behind it?
“Significant Other” by Joshua Harmon presents a glimpse into the relationships and inner-workings of a gay man in his late 20s who can’t seem to figure out the missing ingredient in his recipe for love. Surrounded by his group of female friends, as well as his doting grandmother, Jordan’s life seems to be a balancing act of self-deprecation, self-pity and a quest for self-assuredness.
Directed by Eileen Dugan, Little Theatre’s latest mainstage production presents a humorously poignant and raw production that will have audience members in the Marie Maday Theatre for the first time since last February. For head stage manager and senior Kaitleigh Longoria, many aspects of “Significant Other” make the show a perfect adieu for their time in Little Theatre.
“I feel like this is the best opportunity to end on,” Longoria said. “I feel really good about it because we all worked really hard for this thing and all four of my years are coming together into this one show. It’s great and it’s sad, and I know after I graduate the current members are going to do a great job. It’ll always be the oldest club on campus, and it’s truly in great hands.”
In addition to the show having a sentimental place in many of the cast and crew’s hearts, there are certain qualities of the show’s process that have truly made it a unique experience. For starters, “Significant Other” has no set. “You’d think a show with no set would be easy, but it’s sure not!” Longoria said laughing. “However, it’s certainly fun. It’s a really interesting concept because all of the pieces can be reused and are something else in each scene. What matters are the people that are there and the relationships he has with them. Also, it became a lot more important for me to be organized in making a list of which piece goes onstage when and who brings the piece where.”
In the center of these frequently moving pieces and situations flowing into the next is Jordan, played by freshman Korey Martineau.
“I hadn’t planned on doing this show because I was hoping to get more free time away from acting for a little bit,” Martineau admitted. “But before the second semester started, my sister saw that we were doing this show and told me I had to audition for it because she really wanted me to play Jordan! And then apparently so did our director, so I guess it worked out.”
Martineau certainly recognizes the complexity — and rather selfish tendencies, at times — that his character is composed of, and reflected on his execution of making an occasionally unlikeable character likeable.
“Jordan has his group of gal pals that all end up finding love,” Martineau said. “He’s perpetually in the ‘talking phase’ for all of that, and seems to make it everyone’s problem. I feel like he doesn’t really think about other people a lot, which is something I personally try to do so it’s interesting to explore that mindset. He’s in so many difficult spots that it’s hard to blame him for being unlikable.”
Martineau’s character never leaves the stage, since each consecutive scene is a different moment in his life that involves an interaction with another character or even a monologue, which entailed the memorization of pages upon pages of dialogue.
“My go-to process is to read the lines and then put my script down and try to recite them from what I just read,” Martineau explained. “That way, I can practice in the moment and then usually put the lines in my mind to start solidifying them.”
Nevertheless, the company made the process even more rewarding and enjoyable for Martineau, especially having begun the school year as a newbie to Little Theatre. “It is a smaller cast, but I feel like it gave me a lot of opportunities to act with people I really care about and people I would’ve liked to act with before,” Martineau said.
One of his frequent scene partners is senior Claire Bingaman, Little Theatre’s president, whose character is best friends with Jordan. This serves as Bingaman’s final performance in the Marie Maday Theatre, and she couldn’t have asked for a better farewell experience.
“I’m incredibly grateful for having this role,” Bingaman gushed. “Laura’s a good fit, and it feels very much like my last role. Oftentimes an actor’s final role isn’t one that’s hardest or new for them, more so like a lock turning the other way in the treasure chest of their acting career. My character is the last to get married and that feels very much like, ‘Alright! I’m married and I’m done now, so I’m off!’”
Bingaman has been heavily involved with Little Theatre for four consecutive years, having acted in nine plays, performing in two musicals and even directing two shows. Thus, “Significant Other” is certainly a melancholic moment for her as much as it is special.
“I had a moment backstage where I realized, ‘Wow, this is it for me,’ and then I go on to do other things… but this is literally the beginning for Korey and Anthony. They have these roles that are so complex — I didn’t even speak during my first role as a freshman — so it’s interesting to think that our current freshmen have had the opportunity to be thrown into such intense roles and they just did it!”
Bingaman cites Little Theatre, and acting itself, as serving as her inspiration to succeed academically throughout her time as a student — which she feels rings true for many members of the familial club.
“I think it’s important to recognize that acting is an escape,” Bingaman said. “Most people — if not everyone here — has the club bring them back to being a person, in a way. I wake up to do this, and I do well academically so I can do this. And I feel like a lot of people here are like that — they might be able to imagine their lives with a different major, but they’ve found their home in the theater. I think in the simplest of terms: if you’re ever on the fence about joining the club, you should absolutely do it.”
Bingaman is very thankful for having found her escape through Little Theatre, and she can’t wait to have a live audience back in the theatre for her final performance — with actors donning face shields instead of masks nonetheless!
“The thought of people reacting to things I say and being able to see my facial expressions is so exciting! It’s such an electric moment when you realize all of the work each person has put into the show is being well-received by the audience. I am so excited to be further reminded of why I love performing.”
Little Theatre is excitedly anticipating their return to a live audience. If you’re a Canisius student, faculty member or affiliate and would like to attend a performance of “Significant Other,” head to https://tinyurl.com/LTsigother to book a free ticket for Friday at 8 p.m. or Saturday at 2 p.m. A pre-recorded version will be available for viewing the following weekend.