The SVSU theatre department earlier this month put on the romantic, comedic production “Completeness,” a story of scientific breakthroughs and romantic relationships in college.
Two graduate students, one studying computer science and one studying molecular biology, fall in love – but the genetic mapping of an organism proves to be easier to navigate than their relationship.
“Completeness” is a part of a new program called Studio X.P. that the theatre department is implementing to foster a creative interface between the director and performers. The program entailed a selection process in which students, alumni, faculty and staff who wanted to direct a production submitted script proposals.
Jonah Conner, who directed the show, is an SVSU alumnus who starred in over 20 productions during his time as a student.
He chose the script for its unique approach to science and its relevance to the college experience.
“This script challenges the audience intellectually and encourages them to think about math and science in a way they never thought of before,” Conner said. “It is challenging in the emotional world, too. How is science in any way related to love? This production tells that story.”
The performance was in the Black Box Theatre on Nov. 16 and Nov. 17. With a relatively small cast of students, the show starred Joe Green, Erica Close, Richelle Arguello and Spencer Beyerlein.
Beyerlein, who played three different roles throughout the production, found that portraying the realistic characters was difficult but paid off in the end.
“My roles were genuine characters that pushed me to live as them rather than play them,” Beyerlein said. “Acting in the Black Box is challenging, yes, but it elevates the stakes to make the actor the most genuine they can be. Honesty is so important in this show, and done any other way, I don’t think it would have made as big of an impact as it did.”
Green, who played Eliot, described the challenge of playing a graduate student pursuing a degree in computer science and acting in such close proximity to the audience.
“I had to essentially learn the basics on computer science to even begin learning my lines, let alone be able to explain it to an audience,” Green said. “But I could really understand the characters and where they were in their lives outside of the science. The problems that Eliot has faced are very similar to many things in my life, so it felt completely natural to be on stage and speaking his words because they felt like my words too.”
Students remained on the edge of their seats throughout the performance.
“I thought the play was really good, and the acting was excellent,” said Alexa Aldridge, a communications sophomore. “They really became their roles.”