Significant Other: So Relatable it Hurts

Is your dating life trash? Is your dating life great? Are you happy in your current romantic relationship? Are you unhappy in your current romantic relationship? Are the last two questions not applicable to you? Do you love your friends? Do your friends piss you off? Do you feel supported by the people in your life? Do you sometimes feel completely and utterly alone?

Sorry, just brainstorming some questions I can ask people when I meet them for the first time. You know how you meet people for the first time and it’s always the same questions? “What’s your name?” “What’s your major?” “Where are you from?” “Can you smash my head in with this hammer?” Blah blah, the usual boring questions. Let’s get to the important stuff, like, “When was the last time an emotional downward spiral lead you to Facebook-stalk a person you used to have a crush on at 3 in the morning?”

Anyway, let’s move on to talking about Cabaret Theatre’s first mainstage production of the 2018-19 season, Significant Other.

 Sabrina Dunn (Vanessa), Katie Siegel (Kiki), John Lerman (Jordan), Steph Bradli (Laura)

Sabrina Dunn (Vanessa), Katie Siegel (Kiki), John Lerman (Jordan), Steph Bradli (Laura)

Once again, I really committed to my role as author of this blog and infiltrated this production by posing as an “actor” and auditioning for this show. The ploy worked, and just like that, I was in. Now I have the trust of the cast and prostaff, and the inside scoop of Significant Other. (Last week I was picking out my classes for next semester and considered taking Investigative Journalism, but honestly at this point I don’t really think there’s anything left for me to learn, y’know?)

Committing to my undercover identity as an actor in the show, I casually asked John Lerman (Jordan Berman) (that’s his character’s name, not a weird nickname I made up for John) what this show is about. After questioning how I’ve been in this show for two months and still don’t know the plot, he answered, “This show is about a gay man in his late twenties who struggles to find romance while his three closest friends are all finding love, leaving him behind. It’s a hilarious yet heart wrenching story about friendship, quarter life crisis, and learning to love yourself.”

 Nishika Bagchi (Helene), John Lerman (Jordan)

Nishika Bagchi (Helene), John Lerman (Jordan)

After hearing John explain the show, I realized, okay, yeah, I think I knew that. I play one of Jordan’s close friends in the show, Kiki, and she’s super fun. They have some great times together throughout the show. But I didn’t realize how much John’s character was struggling while Kiki was busy with her super dope life. Huh. I need to look into this more.

I went to find Sabrina Dunn, who plays another one of Jordan’s friends, Vanessa. After talking for a bit, I learned that not only did she know a lot more about the plot than I did (maybe I will take Investigative Journalism after all), but she actually connects very deeply with the play.

“I relate so much to this show, sometimes too much,” she said. “The way this show speaks about love is so human and real. In my own life, I have a Laura, a Kiki, and a Jordan. I feel like the conversations these characters have are similar to ones that I have had with my own friends. I relate to the excitement as well as to the pain of the show.”

Overhearing our conversation, Assistant Director Talya Shatzky (who, based on her eavesdropping, might also be undercover), walked over, agreeing with Sabrina. “I cannot believe how much of myself I see in almost every single character,” she said. “Jordan's experience of seeing his friends entering happy relationships while he is left single and lonely is something that cuts so deep and is so real to me. On the other hand, I've also began a relationship and saw my friends being happy for me but knowing they are secretly thinking they will never find someone.”

“It's so true and raw and uncomfortable on either side, but in such a beautiful way.”
-Talya Shatzky, Assistant Director

 LuisDiego Millan (Will/Conrad/Tony), John Lerman (Jordan)

LuisDiego Millan (Will/Conrad/Tony), John Lerman (Jordan)

Okay, this is good, I’m learning a lot about this show and how the people involved feel about it. But the big question is, how will other people react to the show? Traditionally, when theatrical productions are put on, it’s for an audience, and if all goes to plan, that will be the case this time as well. Will audiences be able to connect with this show? I took my question to the top: Director Colee Bellmay.

“I think the audiences will be able to recognize both themselves and their loved ones as the characters on the stage,” Colee told me. “The thing about these characters is that they are incredibly human, and the dialogue is so real and raw that the show is almost taken to a personal level for the audience.”

“At its core, Significant Other is about the relationships we make and how they affect us.”
-Colee Bellmay, Director

 John Lerman (Jordan), Steph Bradli (Laura)

John Lerman (Jordan), Steph Bradli (Laura)

I was hearing a lot about relationships, both platonic and romantic, when learning about this show, and I was starting to realize how these relationships really impact Jordan. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t need much from my friends, although I still want and enjoy having them them in my life. I think that’s a lot like my character, Kiki, and maybe like Sabrina’s character, Vanessa. I think there are a lot of people like that.

But there are also a lot of people who really need those relationships in order to survive, and when they start to change, it can really hurt. We say “change is scary,” but when you really need that emotional support and it starts going away, it can be be detrimental to a person’s mental health.

I didn’t just learn this on my own (I’m discovering that maybe I’m not as good an undercover investigator as I thought). Nicole Jimenez, the Props and Costumes Manager for the show, told me that she struggles with her mental health, and relates very much to Jordan. “Much like him,” she said, “I feel stuck in one place while my friends move on and do bigger and better things. Like Jordan I have depression, which can be hard sometimes. My friends are much like his friends in that they have helped save my life.”

 Steph Bradli (Laura), John Lerman (Jordan), Sabrina Dunn (Vanessa)

Steph Bradli (Laura), John Lerman (Jordan), Sabrina Dunn (Vanessa)

Is your dating life trash? Is your dating life great? Are you happy in your current romantic relationship? Are you unhappy in your current romantic relationship? Are the last two questions not applicable to you? Do you love your friends? Do your friends piss you off? Do you feel supported by the people in your life? Do you sometimes feel completely and utterly alone?

Do you want to see a fantastic show that you will connect with to your very core?

Significant Other continues to run tonight, November 2nd, at 8pm, tomorrow at 8pm, and Sunday at 7pm, at Cabaret Theatre.

Tickets: http://sabo.tix.com/m/Schedule.aspx?OrgNum=4785&framed=true&fbclid=IwAR3NDedyQHRJBhQnupusemsoeNrQbnfUNgP0cfF1QGFxJUu-i0JO_TfK7zw

For more information: https://www.facebook.com/events/584265898654726/

Photography by John Hennessy