The Effect portrays more than chemical romance

(Left to Right) Communication students Hunter Thomas, Allison Berres, and Benjamin Evans perform scenes in the spring play, The Effect, during a rehearsal on February 23, 2017, in room 242 of Washington Hall. (Photo: Jamie Sapp)

By Jamie Sapp | Editor-in-Chief

When it comes to spring, people often think about new beginnings such as budding romance. However, is romance a result of a chemical reaction in the brain or a natural process?

That is where The Effect comes in. Directed by communication professor Doug Joiner, The Effect is a play written by Lucy Prebble that is mainly focused on a clinical drug trial testing between two volunteer patients where chemical romance soon develops.

In an interview with The Bell Ringer, two actors from the play speak more on what it is really about.

Allison Berres, a junior communication major, performed a major role last semester in the play, Smokefall. Now Berres portrays a main role in The Effect as a volunteer patient named Connie Hall.

“I play Connie and she is one of the patients that are in this clinical drug trial testing,” she said. “She is a university student and she actually did this to get money for her apartment rent. But if it wasn’t for that, I don’t think she would ever done this, let’s be honest.”

Berres said her main character Connie is the only female patient in the drug trial testing.

“She is the only girl in the drug trial testing, which for Dr. James it’s like incredible because there isn’t really any girls that go to that,” she said. “Connie’s very straight-laced. She’s very straight to the point. She likes being in control.”

When asked about her views on the storyline of The Effect, Berres said there is more to the play than the topic of chemical romance.

“Well, to me, it’s not just about chemical romance,” she said. “It’s about depression as well, and it’s actually focused more on Dr. James. …There’s still characters in the play that hold meaning, but I think it shows depression and how we question ourselves.”

Hunter Thomas, a junior communication major, portrays the main role of Dr. Lorna James, who is a psychiatrist conducting the drug trial testing.

Thomas said an interesting factor in the play is the involvement of a drug.

“I think an interesting factor in the play and what I think it’s about is there is a drug involved,” she said. “Because of it’s in their systems, it makes them question things. It adds an extra element that makes the play very interesting and that’s what I like about it.”

When speaking about the personality of her main character, Thomas said Dr. Lorna James is very clinical.

“She is very strict with her emotions,” she said. “She doesn’t like to show them off and she responds very ‘doctor-like.’ And when she shows emotion, it is very slight.”

Thomas said both Connie Hall and Dr. Lorna James have something in common.

“Dr. James and Connie both like to be in control of the situation they’re in,” she said. “The only difference is Dr. James is actually in control and Connie is not, and I think that upsets Connie a little bit.”

When asked whether the play is a comedy or a tragedy, Thomas said it is a dramatic piece overall.

“There is no fine line between comedy and tragedy of what the original definitions of theatre are anymore because tragedy specifically someone has to die and comedy someone doesn’t die,” she said. “So it’s just a dramatic piece, but there are some comedic elements that are pretty funny.”

The red carpet premiere event of The Effect begins on Thursday, Mar. 23, at 7 p.m. in the Maxwell Performing Arts Theatre. The premiere event includes a “Best Dressed” competition, door prizes, refreshments, a photo booth and a magical experience for students and guests.

Following the red carpet premiere event, the spring play will be shown on Mar. 24-25 at 7:30 p.m.

Contact Jamie Sapp at jsapp270@augusta.edu.

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