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Theatre department debuts 'Albertine in Five Times'

On January 31, 2014

  • (Left to right) Junior Alina Gordillo, junior Taylor Hebert, freshman Ciara Rizzo, sophomore Rebecca Admire and freshman Haleigh Kling all portray characters in “Albertine in Five Times.”. ALEXANDRA KENNON/The Maroon

Theatre communications senior Alexandra Kennon had to step back from her love for yoga, bike rides and climbing trees to play a 70-year-old former prescription pill addict.
Loyola department of theatre arts and dance will kick off the semester with Quebec playwright Michel Tremblay's "Albertine in Five Times," which is directed by associate professor of theatre arts and dance, Artemis Preeshl.
Preeshl was able combine her own undergraduate psychology major with her French and Francophone minor to study the Quebec literature. Preeshl said that it's suspected that Albertine has Sundowner's Syndrome, which is where Preeshl's own psychological expertise came in.
"Sundowner's Syndrome is a state where some seniors begin to hallucinate when the sun goes down. The whole play essentially takes place in Albertine's imagination," Preeshl said.
She said this disease contributes to 70-year-old Albertine's emotional journey reliving her 30, 40s, 50s and 60s.
Preeshl said the play will delve into some social justice issues that might be hard for viewers to watch.
"It deals with domestic violence, attempted rape, drug and alcohol addiction, potentially prostitution and homelessness all in one play," Preeshl said.
Alina Gordillo, theatre arts junior, plays Albertine's ageless sister Madeline, who is stuck in the 1940s. Gordillo admits that this play is emotionally strenuous and will hit home for many audience members. Gordillo said she still ends up with tears running down her face after rehearsal.
"You find yourself in the rehearsal listening to the same monologue for two and a half weeks, and you're still sobbing," Gordillo said.
Gordillo said reading the script was definitely an interesting experience.
"It's basically a crazy person talking to herself," Gordillo said.
Kennon said her crazy 70-year-old character is just entering a nursing home where she battles different relationships with each of her past selves.
"She has the toughest relationship with her 60-year-old self because that is when she was addicted to prescription painkillers. She is frustrated and ashamed with herself, especially after her overdose and painful recovery," Kennon said.
Haleigh Kling, theatre arts freshman, plays 60-year-old Albertine. Kling said she feels ridiculous dressing like a 60-year old woman, but enjoys releasing her crazy side.
"I have these white socks with all these different shapes on them. It's funny. I also have to wear a salt and pepper wig," Kling said.
Gordillo said the play is very challenging because the five different Albertine characters have to be in tune with each other. She must have the same mannerisms towards each Albertine. She said the French Canadian accent was also difficult to master.
"I'm Latin and I was born and raised in Puerto Rico; so I naturally have an accent that I try to avoid. I get out of rehearsal and I try to have a conversation with someone and it just sticks. I'm just like, 'I'm so sorry,'" Gordillo said.
The cast members cannot deny that they've established an everlasting bond.
"I thought we'd get sick of each other, but we've gotten closer," Kling said.
Kennon stresses that Albertine's life was far from "epic." Albertine is simply trying to make sense of her life and find happiness through it all, just like anyone else.
"Every day I leave rehearsal, however drained I may be, I am looking forward to building my own memories. I feel grateful to have the chance to learn from Albertine's mistakes," Kennon said. "I want the audience to experience that as well."
The play will be showcased in the Lower Depths Theater on Feb. 5-8 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 9 at 2 p.m.

Diana Mirfiq can be reached at 

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