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The meaning of love

The SMSU theater department explores relationships in the upcoming production of the romantic comedy ‘The 13th of Paris’

February 11, 2012
By Cindy Votruba , Marshall Independent

MARSHALL - When you're in doubt about your current relationship and feel things have gone stale, why not just hop on a plane to Paris and get advice from your deceased grandfather?

The Southwest Minnesota State University theater department is performing "The 13th of Paris" at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 16-18 and 24-25 and 2 p.m. Feb. 26 at the SMSU Fine Arts Theatre. The show is being directed by SMSU theater professor Sheila Tabaka.

Jessa Roberts, an education major with a theater minor, said she started out in SMSU's shows as a stagehand for Introduction to Theater Class and was assistant stage manager for "Twelfth Night" this past fall. This will be her first time on the college stage as an actor. She had performed in shows at Minneota High School.

Article Photos

Photo by Cindy Votruba
Top:?Gunner Mattson and Jessa Roberts rehearse a scene from “The 13th of Paris,”?the upcoming play being performed at Southwest Minnesota State University.

Being onstage is a new experience, Roberts said.

"I'm used to being backstage on a headset telling people what to do," Roberts said.

Roberts, along with Anna Johnson, who is in her first college play, said they appreciate how much work the actors put into the shows, how they care about what's being portrayed on stage.

"People actually dissect their characters," Johnson said.

Roberts said that the audience finds out a lot about her character, Annie, during the course of the play. The actors sat down and talked about their characters, she added.

"There's a lot of subtext you have to figure out," Roberts said.

"The 13th of Paris" is a romantic comedy. Victor, who is played by Gunner Mattson, finds love letters that his grandparents wrote to each other during their relationship. Unsure about his own relationship, Victor makes a spontaneous trip to Paris where his grandparents lived and looks toward the "ghost" of his grandfather for advice.

"He wants the idea of love," Mattson said about his character. "He has to realize that what he's doing is just fine."

Although the play does take place in the modern-day Paris, it also looks back to the 1950s when Victor's grandparents lived in the city.

"It's two love stories that play off each other," Johnson said.

Roberts said she loves the storyline of "The 13th of Paris."

"I fell in love with it before auditions," Roberts said. "I'm a sucker for romance."



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