Xavier Players Present "Closer" as Examination of Hook-Up Culture

Inaugural Alumni Production brings grads back home | August 2, 2010

At the end of the first week of classes at Xavier University, Xavier Players will present Patrick Marber’s Closer as part of the Week of Welcome program. Open also to the public, the shows are at 7:30 pm on August 27 & 28 and at 2 pm on August 29 in the Gallagher Student Center Studio Theatre. Tickets are $5 in advance or $7 at the door and can be ordered online at http://www.xavier.edu/players/

Closer is the first of what will be a yearly alumni production by the Xavier Players. Scott Allison (2005), Brandon Anderson (2001) and Hannah Balash (2009) will return to the Xavier stage in Closer along with Annie Huey, a current graduate student, and senior Ellen Beltramo, who will be stage manager for the production. Many students involved in theatre at Xavier graduate and take jobs in the Greater Cincinnati area. This is a way for them to continue the connection with theatre and with their Xavier family. Allison, from Wyoming, OH earned a degree in history and political science and the University of Toledo College of Law and currently works on Congressman Steve Driehaus's reelection campaign. Anderson, from Covington, KY earned a BA in Public Relations and a minor in Performance Studies. He is a featured actor, singer, and assistant general manager and media relations coordinator for Shadowbox: The Sketch Comedy & Rock ‘n’ Roll Club. Balash was a music major at Xavier and now lives in the Madisonville neighborhood of Cincinnati and teaches private voice lessons at the Loveland Music Academy in Loveland.

In Closer, four lives intertwine over the course of four and a half years in a densely plotted, stinging look at modern love and betrayal. In this world, the line between love, as desire, and hate is thin: endearments are followed by insults; embraces prepare for violence on all levels; and passion’s heat gives way to icy detachment.

Closer forces the audience to examine all dimensions of their own lives, even the ugly parts. But, they are able to see the rainbow through the rain. Closer explores the selfishness of desire when detached from love and commitment. Audience members see bits of themselves in the characters.
Western theatre has traditionally called the audience to be more than spectators - to be participants in the drama.

“The play calls us, as life itself does, to deeper authenticity, to a reverence for personal integrity, and to the world of interrelation and interdependence that lies beyond mere hook-ups,” says director Bob Sauerbrey, adjunct theology faculty at Xavier. “Understanding our lifelong psycho-spiritual development is essential to the teaching of Theology. For students, sexuality pervades that development and cannot be separated from any other dimension of their lives. There is nothing casual about sex for those who perceive its power. ‘Hooking-up’ creates the illusion of intimacy without the commitment of love. Human relations degrade to mere ‘gestures,’ without significance.”

First-year Xavier students participate in a Hook-up Culture workshop, which helps them understand the pervasiveness of this culture in today’s society and how it can impact their lives.

The Xavier Players strive to complement Xavier’s Catholic, Jesuit philosophy and form students intellectually, morally, spiritually, with rigor and compassion, toward lives of solidarity, service and success. Xavier believes critical inquiry, open discussion and diverse expression of ideas are essential to its educational mission.