Living out Lies Under the Spotlight

by publicationarchive

SDSU’s theatre students bring the plight of domestic abuse to stage By Maggie Grainger, Senior StaffThe San Diego State theatre department has tackled controversialtopics in the past, ranging from incest to AIDS. In this year’s fallseason opener, a new topic is addressed: spousal abuse.

A Lie of the Mind, written by Sam Shephard, is currently playingat the Experimental Theatre at SDSU.

“We want to push people’s buttons,” said director Peter Larlhamabout the play.

Larlham, who has directed many other shows for San Diego State,said he chose this show because it has nice, solid roles for women.

“It’s really a women’s show. It is so rare to find showsabout emotional abuse and the horrors of it.”

The play opens with the protagonist, Beth (Heddy Lahmann), bruisedand in the hospital after her husband, Jake (Kevin Maldarelli), hasbeaten her. He has run off to Los Angeles thinking he has killed her,and she returns to her family in Montana. The rest of the show dealswith how the two families react to this tragedy.

“This play really hits on lots of stereotypes in families andpeople’s everyday lives,” Maldarelli said. “Sam Shephard putseverything on the table for people to see.”

Lack of communication is also a major theme of the play.

“Their lives are all based on lies,” said Kelsey Venter who playsJake’s sister Sally. “Sally is the only character who is fullyin reality and understands the real situation.”

Malderelli said one of the biggest challenges for him was to playan abusive man when he himself is not a violent person. He said hetalked to many people about their personal experiences to dig intothe character.

Lahmann also encountered many problems while playing the characterBeth.

“Beth is an incredibly strong character,” she said. “Heronly flaw is that she loves Jake too much. She has a lot ofinner struggle. He destroyed who my character was.”

Lahmann says her part was challenging because her character isdealing with brain damage. Much of her dialogue is broken andsporadic.

The actress said another difficult part of playing the role ofBeth was having to spend a half an hour before each show getting herbruise makeup on.

“There is a lot of makeup-ing in this show,” said costume designerGillian Eastzink. “We had to play around with the colors in the lightbecause it changed the effect of the bruises.”

The actors weren’t the only ones who had challenges with the playand its material. Larlham points out that the entire show(excluding himself) is run by students. From lighting to sound, thestudents did it all on their own.

The play is put on “in the round,” which means the audiencesurrounds the entire stage. This makes set changes particularlydifficult because nothing is hidden.

“It’s a hard play to get a grip on,” Venter said, “because it is a deceptively simple show. There’s poetry there, you just can’t see it from reading it.”A Lie Of The Mind will be performed at 8 p.m. Sept. 29, 30, Oct.1 and 2 and at 2 p.m. Oct. 3 at the SDSU Experimental Theatre.Tickets range from $12-15 and can be purchased at the SDSU PerformingArts Box Office.