Hearts will shatter at the Sullivan Studio Theatre

Courtesy of Grace Rizzuto

Throughout life on Earth, every human forms different relationships that can save us or destroy us. With excitement comes disappointment, with pleasure comes pain and with love comes heartbreak. The Suffolk University Theatre Department will present how we handle and process this life in the Spotlight performance, “A Lunatic’s Guide to Dating Narcissists.”

Hearts will shatter on the floor of the Sullivan Studio Theatre this weekend as the audience follows a young girl, Andrea, through her life as she faces heartache in her romantic and platonic relationships. It takes place in the hometown of the playwright, Suffolk University senior Grace Rizzuto, and at the locations where significant moments occurred with people from her past.

“I was inspired to write this show when I learned that a friend of mine from home had changed in a big way and it put into perspective how I viewed people coming together,” said Rizzuto.

By presenting heartbreak through the eyes of this individual, the production will teach the audience how to use pain as a tool to aid with growth and change. The story displays how the girl processes each relationship and how they encourage her to move forward. As she loves and loses, the audience will see how she falls and grows.

The cast and crew have been preparing for their performance since mid-February, rehearsing passionately on Thursday and Friday afternoons. The team that has worked with Rizzuto to bring her story to life on the stage, consists of director Ryan Stack and a cast of other Suffolk students. The majority of the cast is made up of senior actors, playwrights and directors who all bring different talents to the table, contributing greatly to the success of the production.

“As this is my first time directing, I learned to appreciate a lot of the hard work and stressful situations a director can be put in, and how much the creative process relies on them,” said Stack.

This production is different than any other Spotlight performance this school year. The raw, sensitive content is presented in a very unique structure – a split cast.

The story is split between two casts – one that moves and one that speaks. Each cast performs an independent storyline. The speaking cast consists of characters Andres, Riley and Collin who will be played by Anastacia Bolkwadze, Kaleigh Ryan and Mason Lafferty. The moving cast act as their character counterparts, or their “shadows,” played by Lilly Ayote, Alice Byrne and Collin Smith. The two separate story lines work together to convey one cohesive message. This performance technique will cause moments within the show to settle differently with each audience member.

“Audiences should expect to feel a bit put off in that the story uses direct quotes and real events,” said Rizzuto. “However, this bluntness is meant only to show that situations are allowed to be painful and to have an impact.”

“A Lunatic’s Guide to Dating Narcissists” will play at the Sullivan Studio Theatre, on the 11th floor of the Sawyer Building on March 6, at 5 p.m. The production will be followed by a pizza reception. Tickets are free and can be reserved via phone at 617-573-8282 or via the Suffolk University Theatre website.

Following this production, the Suffolk University Theatre Department will present their final Spotlight performance, “The Lover,” written by Harold Pinter and directed by Suffolk student Stephanie Coyle, on April 10.