Third Onion’s presentation of ‘An Infinite Ache’ offers intimate look at couple’s love over time

Photo of a bedIt can be challenging to describe human emotion in words, but David Schulner’s play, “An Infinite Ache,” follows the long-term relationship of one couple in an attempt to make a larger statement about love.

The NIU School of Theatre and Dance-sponsored The Third Onion will present “An Infinite Ache” from Friday, Nov. 16, through Sunday, Nov. 18, in the Stevens Building Corner Theatre.

The two-person play takes place in the one room most often kept private: the bedroom.

The room itself goes through as many changes as the couple living in it. Audience members watch as the two characters move through first date, marriage and childbirth in an hour and ten minutes.

Brandon Greenhouse (Charles), MFA in acting candidate, said the play explores the redemptive power of love.

“At the end of the day, it conquers all,” he said, explaining that love transcends race, gender, creed and everything that often separates human beings.

Kendra Holton Helton

Kendra Holton Helton

Kendra Holton Helton (Hope), also an MFA in acting candidate, said the play offers a realistic representation of relationships.

“I think, for me, it’s embracing the messiness, because love is messy,” Helton said.

Hope and Charles begin as two lovesick 20-somethings searching for someone to spend their lives with. The play moves at a rapid pace and seamlessly from one stage of their relationship to the next, covering a span of over five decades.

“An Infinite Ache” is almost entirely self-directed by Greenhouse and Helton.

The Third Onion, a student-initiated production scheme created in 2005, puts on a series of shows not funded by NIU. Greenhouse and Helton described it as an opportunity for students to explore their own way of working on pieces they’re passionate about.

“I found the play, and then I just fell in love with it,” Greenhouse said. “It seemed to capture a really important part of human existence. I thought it sort of struck me as being really profound without being pretentious.”

Greenhouse and Helton were responsible for assembling a crew to produce the show. Although it placed more responsibility on them than studio or mainstage series shows, the end result is rewarding, Greenhouse said.

A two-character show can be intimidating to an actor, but Greenhouse said the level of difficulty depends on the show, and working with Helton was natural. “There is something that’s really nice about the level of intimacy,” Greenhouse said.

Both Greenhouse and Helton were drawn to the play because of they could easily identify with the characters.

“I hope people will see something of themselves in the show,” Helton said.

“An Infinite Ache” curtain time is 10 p.m. General admission tickets are $3 and can be purchased only at the door. For additional information, contact Greenhouse at bgreenhouse@niu.edu.

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