NAU Theatre takes loves to the stage in spring production of ‘The Effect’

patients holding hands

Feb. 13, 2019

The Northern Arizona University Department of Theatre questions the meaning of love in its upcoming production of “The Effect,” a funny and moving story exploring the human heart as well as the brain. A number of performances will be held in February and March at NAU’s Studio Theater.

“’The Effect’ allows us to explore the causes, presentations and treatments of mental illness wrapped in a very non-conventional love story,” director Christina Gutierrez-Dennehy said. “The combination of the play’s heavier and lighter elements makes it appealing to audiences.”

A cast of four students bring the complicated story to life, as a behind-the-scenes crew of students manages the stage, lighting, costume design and other technical elements necessary to ensure a successful production.

“The Effect” is playwright Lucy Prebble’s tale of two subjects in a clinical drug trial who are given a powerful new anti-depressant, sparking a journey that will challenge their views of love and truth. Throughout the play, the two fall in love and begin to wonder whether their developing feelings are real or caused by the drug. As the story unfolds, the characters question their perceptions of reality and what kind of control they have over their emotions.

“This is what I mean when I say that the love story is unconventional—the characters are not only questioning how they feel about each other, but indeed if those feelings can be trusted to begin with,” Gutierrez-Dennehy said.

“On the surface it’s a love story, but at the same time, ‘The Effect’ questions the nature of reality and if we can we trust our own perceptions. What if the things we think we know and feel are in fact the products of medication?”

Performances of “The Effect” will take place at the Studio Theater in the Performing Arts Building. Evening shows begin at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 22, 23, 28 and March 1-2. Matinees are 2 p.m. on Feb. 24 and March 3.

Tickets are $14 for adults, $12 for seniors and NAU employees and $8 for children and NAU students. They are available at the NAU Central Ticket Office in the University Union, online at the CTO website or by calling (928) 523-5661 (ordering charges may apply).

Cheyenne Jarrette