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Evan Pringle and Jana Lillie rehearsing for Walloomsac River Theater Company's performance of "Love/Sick." 

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BENNINGTON — Walloomsac River Theater Company will kick off 2023 with a performance that the director describes as a “dark romantic comedy.”

The show is “Love/Sick,” and it will run Feb. 10, 11 and 12 at Second Congregational Church, 115 Hillside St.

“Love /Sick” is a collection of short plays that feature nine different couples at various points on the timeline of their relationship. For example, one couple will be featured in their honeymoon phase, but another will be featured during the getting-to-know-you phase of their relationship.

Vincent Tatro, the show’s director, called the performance “whimsical.” The play was written by John Cariani, who also wrote “Almost, Maine.”

His work is mostly based in New England, and “Almost, Maine” is a popular play for high school and middle schools to perform. Tatro said “Love/Sick” is similar to Cariani’s other work, but it’s more PG-13.

The show isn’t PG-13 in the sense that children aren’t welcome. Everyone is invited to the show, but it’s PG-13 because to fully understand the show, the viewer should have an understanding of romantic relationships.

The show “explores the realness of relationships that we often don't want to face,” said Tatro.

Although there are 18 different characters and nine different couples, a lot of the actors are pulling double duty. Cast members will play more than one character, but they will remain with their partner from the first part of their performance.

The actors have had several weeks of rehearsal to solidify their on-stage chemistry. “Once you have that chemistry down, it's so easy to swap into different characters,” said Tatro.

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“We're really exploring the like, sitcom aspects of reality,” he said. “We want it to feel like you're watching a family sitcom, a TV show you watch every Thursday night” until the moments in the show that snap the audience back into reality.

This is the theater company’s second theatrical production after their premiere showing of “Vanities.”

Everyone in the “Love/Sick” cast will have their WRTC debut on opening night, but the cast of “Vanities” was still involved with the show behind the scenes, said Tatro, and a lot of the actors are Mount Anthony alumni.

For anyone who has been to Second Congregational Church, the performance space will be practically unrecognizable thanks to all the set design and hard work the stage crew will put into the show.

After “Love/Sick,” the theater company will begin preparations for the family-friendly version of “Firebringer” — a musical of prehistoric proportions.

The musical features a large cast, several featured roles and a handful of non-singing parts for the musically challenged.

“Firebringer” was popularized by TikTok, and it was created by the same company that made “A Very Potter Musical.”

Auditions will be in April, and the show will premiere in June. “We're doing it and we're excited to finally get it up on its feet,” said Tatro.

Tickets for “Love/Sick” are $15 and can be found at wrtc.booktix.com. Tatro said the audience will exercise the full spectrum of emotion.


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