Accompanying the fall production of Love/Sick, the HWS Theatre Department’s 2018-2019 Frame/Works series began on Friday, Oct. 19.
Designed to draw connections between scholarly examination and artistic practice, Frame/Works invited scholars and artists to present their research on a play, playwright, historical moment, genre or style in a pre-show lecture prior to a performance.
Assistant Professor of Media and Society Rebecca Burditt presented her talk, “Redefining Love in Swiss Army Man,” at 4:35 p.m. in Williams Hall, Room 201.
Like the “alternative suburban reality” of John Cariani’s Love/Sick, which offers a powerful statement on contemporary relationships, the 2016 film Swiss Army Man plays with genre conventions, introduces new modes of expression, and blurs the lines between reality and fantasy. Burditt’s talk examined how the film’s creation of a dream-like space opens the possibility of a relationship that violates all kinds of social, philosophical and affective boundaries. Tracing the growing friendship between Hank, a suicidal loner (Paul Dano) and Manny (Daniel Radcliffe) — a flatulent, talking corpse — Swiss Army Man bends cinematic codes of genre and romance in order to suggest new forms of intimacy. As in Love/Sick, it is the film’s luminous un-reality that allows the crass, the bodily, and the outrageous to serve as the most profound expression of love.
Burditt, who joined the HWS faculty in 2014, teaches courses on global film, media theory, and commercial culture.
Following the performance, audience members were invited to participate in a post-show Frame/Works talkback with members of the cast and creative team. Taken together, the pre-show lecture and the post-show talkback, “frame” a “work” of theatrical art.
Tickets are for Love/Sick are available at the door or at the Gearan Center Box Office, Monday through Friday, 3 to 5 p.m.