A psychologist’s darkest fantasy threatens her good life, successful career, and impending marriage in Let’s Hope You Feel Better.
MadLab presents the world premiere of Samantha Oty’s dark comedy which will be released on October 7th at 227 N. 3rd St.
“This play can lead to bigger conversations about mental health, why we do what we do and how you never know what someone is struggling with,” said director Sarah Vargo.
Seven actors appear in the 90-minute one-act act, which explores how mental health, assisted suicide, morals and identity can affect friendships, romantic partnerships, and family relationships.
“At first you don’t know exactly what’s going on, but after a few scenes you realize that something is wrong,” said Vargo.
“There are sincere moments of love and lightness that are contrasted with highly uncomfortable, even vulgar, moments when you can only laugh at the boldness of what is said or done on stage,” she said.
The piece explores the limits of normality.
“Nobody is ever as normal as it seems. What keeps everyone in check are the social norms that we’ve all agreed to, ”said lead actress McLane L. Nagy.
Nagy plays Therese Blanc, torn between her recent engagement to a handsome surgeon and a dangerous online relationship related to her academic work on the psychology of the modern cannibal.
“Therese is a perfectionist and control freak. … She thinks her life is divided up so that she can get the peace and quiet she wants without having to sacrifice anything, ”said Nagy.
Therese, meanwhile, has a difficult relationship with Marie (Catherine Cryan Erney), her cold, controlling mother.
“Therese tries to break free from becoming just like her mother,” said Nagy.
Nagy compared the piece to a B-movie horror film.
“Because she’s a therapist with a complex about knowing best. … Therese thinks that her imagination cannot control her, ”said Nagy.
“But everything goes wrong with her that could go wrong,” she says.
Tom Murdock plays Isaac Abrams, a frightened young man in New York City.
“He’s incredibly sincere but doesn’t know how to reach out to other people in the real world, so he retired to an online room,” Murdock said.
After his fiancé recently left, Isaac becomes depressed and self-harming.
“Isaac reflects many young men today who are building personalities online rather than socializing in the real world,” said Murdock.
Isaac visits a web forum to research extreme fetishes and meets Therese.
“It’s the first time that someone really cares about who they are. The humor in Isaac’s scenes comes from watching someone try so awkwardly but also so sincerely to handle a relationship, ”Murdock said.
The 28-year-old actor found his character recognizable.
“I have my own struggles with depression and anxiety. … Nowhere near as much as Isaac, but enough to empathize with anyone who might walk down that rabbit hole, ”Murdock said.
Oty’s comedy was intended to appeal to fans of true crime series and podcasts that “open the audience to the stranger things in the world,” he said.
The piece is suitable for a mature audience because of violence, profanity, sexuality, partial nudity and the eroticization of death.
“People should be aware of what they’re getting into with this piece about a really toxic relationship,” said Nagy.
“But after the dark of the last two years we’ve all gone through the wringers, so some people may think of this piece as catharsis, a way of laughing at pain.”
At a glance
MadLab Theater presents “Let’s Hope You Feel Better” at 8pm October 7-9 and Fridays and Saturdays through October 23 at 227 N. 3rd St. Tickets are $ 18 or $ 15 for students and Seniors, $ 13 for members. For more information call 614-221-5418 or visit www.madlab.net.