A character drunkenly remarked that he was in love with his best friend’s wife in Bloomington Playwrights Project’s new production, “Apropos of Nothing.” That friend confronted him about it.
“So, what, are we supposed to like fight it out, or…?” the friend asked.
“No! God, no!” the character said. “I’m a little in love with your wife — but this should have absolutely no effect on our relationship!”
“Apropos of Nothing” by Greg Kalleres runs from Jan. 18 to Feb. 2 at the Bloomington Playwright Project. Tickets start at $10 for students.
The comedy follows the tumultuous aftermath of this conversation and how it wreaks havoc on the characters’ lives.
“I’ve been calling it a postmodern comedy of manners,” Kalleres said in an interview with the Indiana Daily Student. “It’s about the way we interact with people, the messiness of relationships, about the way we talk to each other.”
The title, “Apropos of Nothing,” is a cliche meaning “without any apparent reason or purpose.” As the play progresses, characters begin to realize the extent to which they perform cliched actions in their everyday lives.
“We do things because people have done it for years,” Kalleres said. “We get married, we get a job, and one day we go, ‘Wait, I haven’t even thought about what I’m doing.’”
Kalleres said the characters in the play deal with these kinds of revelations and how they affect their relationships. They also explore how much of their lives they haven’t invested in by instead going along with the cliche way of doing things.
“Why do we do the things we do, is there any reason for the life we live, have we considered it, or do we do it apropos of nothing?” Kalleres said.
As characters examine themselves, they also explore how the idea of love and relationships are fraught with cliches.
Some characters enter the play with grand notions of love and romance, Director Jonathan Michaelsen said. They come to question the idea of love and its authenticity in their relationships.
“Are they based on some sort of ideal that we’re trying to live up to, or are they grounded in some sort of truth?” Michaelsen said. “Are you trying to have somebody else’s relationship?”
Despite this heavy emphasis on cliches, Michaelsen said the play avoids falling into cliche itself. Between the comedy and the absurdity, the show has a lot of thematic depth.
“The language is so well put together and interesting, and has a cadence to it, and is funny,” Michaelsen said. “There’s that balance of it being heightened and funny and a delight to watch, and the inner workings of these characters, who they are, and how they relate to each other.”
In between moments of lighthearted humor, the play also has its poignant and serious scenes, Michaelsen said.
“We take a great journey in that we start off in this cliche world, and then things fall apart,” Michaelsen said. “By the end, we think there’s real hope that these couples will come to their relationships in a truer sense.”