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Disabling Life’s Challenges: A Paradigm Shift

Sean Bogue ’18, Emma Franzel ’17, and Kyle Lampar ’17 in a scene from IMMOBILE

Sean Bogue ’18, Emma Franzel ’17, and Kyle Lampar ’17 in a scene from IMMOBILE by Brittany Worthington ’13. Photo by Emily Salswedel ’16.

Festival Playhouse of Kalamazoo College presents the world premiere of Immobile, a play by alumna Brittany Worthington ’13, on April 28 through May 1. The play is directed by senior Maddie Grau ’16 as part of Festival Playhouse’s annual Senior Performance Series

Immobile is a story of relationships and self. Megan’s husband Alexander (Kyle Lampar ’17) is a quadriplegic as a result of an auto accident. Though he loves Megan (Emma Franzel ’17), who is also his primary caregiver, Alexander encourages her to start a new chapter—-with a new man, Caleb (Sean Bogue ’18)—-thereby challenging each character to reexamine what being mobile—-both physically and emotionally—-really means.

“These three characters are on the path of realizing their able-bodied privilege, and the loss of that privilege,” says Grau. “Megan struggles to find happiness once Alexander asks her to prioritize herself in a world that tells her to put him first. The unconventional relationships that develop in the wake of his decision are unchartered territory that Worthington explores through moments of unforgiving humor and emotional uncertainty.”

Worthington originally wrote Immobile for a playwriting class in her senior year. It was chosen for a showcase reading in the Student Playwrights Staged Reading Series at Kalamazoo College in 2014, and then featured in the Theatre Kalamazoo New Play Festival that same year. This month’s show is the first completely staged full production.

Says Worthington of her play, “I wanted to explore this idea of ‘selflessness,’ of putting others before yourself. What I found while writing Immobile is that every relationship in life forces us to make sacrifices but also provides unique gains. How do we reconcile those relationships that come into conflict with each other? If you’re a different person depending on the relationship you’re in, is one identity more authentic than another? In order to have a full sense of self, must we in fact be ‘selfless,’ and give up something we love or should we strive to ‘have it all,’ despite the pain it may cause others?”

The play opens in The Dungeon Theatre (139 Thompson Street) on Thursday, April 28, at 7:30 p.m.; continues Friday and Saturday, April 29 and 30, at 8 p.m.; and concludes with a final performance on Sunday, May 1, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $5. All students, faculty/staff members of Kalamazoo College are invited to attend the performance at no charge. Tickets may also be purchased at the door one hour prior to performance. To make reservations, please call 269.337.7333. For more information, please visit the Festival Playhouse website.