“How can you say I go about things the wrong way? I am human and I need to be loved just like everyone else does.” – How Soon is Now? by Morrissey
I first became acquainted with Love and Human Remains by Brad Fraser when I was an undergrad at Ithaca College. The Kitchen Theatre in Ithaca was doing a regional production of it. Like many other college-aged youths, my inner soundtrack consisted of nearly every Cure song. I was full of life, angst, questions, and emotions that I didn’t know existed within me. When I saw the poster for the show, it spoke to me. The people depicted in it were attractive but all looked lost and longing for something. It was like they were communicating “that in which we do not speak of” without words. The sides of ourselves that we hide with make-up, perfectionistic behavior, and the ever-elusive smile. Things looked fine but they weren’t. They really weren’t. What was this show? I saw it that night. And then again the next night. And then one more time before it closed.
In a nutshell, Love and Human Remains is an edgy, provocative, dark-humored drama about the intertwined lives of seven individuals. In the backdrop is a serial killer who is terrorizing the women in the city which they live. These seven individuals are you, me, your neighbor, that guy who sat next to you on the train today, that woman who you work with who seems to have it all together. Brad Fraser gives us a glimpse into what the human condition can be like – the highs, the lows, the humor, the desperation, the aggression, the longing for love and ultimately…the longing for acceptance. Through his play, we travel to places that are raw and primal – places that we often don’t like to acknowledge really exist.
In 2002, about 5 years after I graduated from college, I decided I wanted to mount this show. I produced the show at the Gene Frankel Theatre and hired my best friend/actor/director, Clyde Baldo, to direct it and cast Douglas Dickerman who played David in the Kitchen Theatre’s production to reprise the role. I still had the acting bug then so I cast myself to play the role of “Jerri.” It was a wonderful, cathartic experience.
One November night in 2013, I was over at Clyde’s house playing Scrabble. I looked at our poster, turned to him and said “do you want to do this show again?” He laughed and then realized I was serious. I saw a quick flash of a big venue, people waiting on line and leaving the theatre not knowing what happened but knowing everything that really happened and feeling invigorated. I said “yes…but this time let’s really do it…like at a prestigious venue…and go to the next level in every way.” This time I just wanted to produce it, not act in it as well. I mentioned that I knew two actors that would be perfect for Candy and Bernie. I spoke to both actors, offered them the roles, they enthusiastically accepted after reading the play and so it began again.
I’ve realized that Love and Human Remains is my soundtrack. It’s always been. It helped me realize a great many thing when in college, get to a new place inside myself when I first produced it and now…it’s time for everyone to experience it. My vision for this show is that it is raw, primal, uncomfortable, comforting and leaves you experiencing ten different emotions at once. You’ll be turned on, disturbed, pensive. You’ll take these emotions with you. You’ll think about what you saw, reflect on your own life and shine a light onto whatever needs it. You’ll realize that everything is ok. That you are loved and accepted and that we understand. You’ll connect. Isn’t that what we all really want at the end of the day?
It will be waiting for you on July 21st. As will the cast, Clyde and I.
– Jennifer Rudolph