‘Three Views of the Same Object’ offers new view on life

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‘Three Views of the Same Object’ offers new view on life

An elderly couple makes a suicide pact in

An elderly couple makes a suicide pact in "Three Views of the Same Object." Photo via nextact.org

An elderly couple makes a suicide pact in "Three Views of the Same Object." Photo via nextact.org

An elderly couple makes a suicide pact in "Three Views of the Same Object." Photo via nextact.org

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The concept of death is difficult to understand, especially for college students whose primary focus is passing their hardest classes. However, Next Act Theatre’s production of “Three Views of the Same Object,” directed by Shawn Douglass and running until April 27, shows the weighty issue in a touching, relatable way.

An elderly couple makes a suicide pact in "Three Views of the Same Object." Photo via nextact.org

An elderly couple makes a suicide pact in “Three Views of the Same Object.” Photo via nextact.org

The premise of playwright Henry Murray’s work surrounds an elderly couple who have made a suicide pact should one of them become ill or unable to care for the other, but the play is not really about death. Instead, it focuses on life, said Becky Moder, marketing and public relations manager at Next Act Theatre.

“When you hear the basis of the story, you think it’s going to be all about death,” Moder said. “But it’s not. It’s really all about living and how we choose to live our lives and how we communicate with our loved ones.”

The plot of the production resonated on a personal level with producing artistic director David Cecsarini. A storyline like “Three Views of the Same Object” is one that is not shared in the theater world often, he said.

“The matter of (the) play is unusual, I think, to be depicted on stage,” Cecsarini said. “That is the kind of stuff that does not get discussed in theater form. The way the story is told is with such understanding about long-term relationships and the expression of so much compassion and empathy and love for the people in love. It just seemed like such (an) amazing piece that needed to be done here.”

Moder said “Three Views of the Same Object” is a production that represents what Next Act Theatre is about.

“We like to do productive theater that definitely leaves you thinking at the end of the play, and it’s not always wrapped up in a neat little bow,” she said. “So it’s very much the work we generally do.”

Cecsarini said one of the play’s strongest attributes is its cast, featuring Jim Pickering, John Kishline, Laurie Birmingham, Susan Sweeney, Flora Coker and Jenny Wanasek.

“The characters are in their 60s, and we needed six people like that,” Cecsarini said. “So I have a veteran Milwaukee cast of friends that I have known for years and colleagues, and it’s pretty cool to have that much fire power in the room. As actors get older, they typically get more efficient and more focused, and their work becomes more visible and yet sublime.”

“It’s an all-star cast,” Moder said. “You don’t normally see all six of them on stage at once.”

The way these actors bring the intense script to life is what makes the performance relatable, Cecsarini said, especially since it addresses issues everyone must one day face.

“Even though the subject matter may be with this suicide pact that they made, what the play really takes us toward is asking us how do we live our lives?” he said. “How do we connect with our significant other? How do we care for one another? It asks all those questions about how one lives a life and will one be satisfied with living that life with the choices we’ve made.”

Tickets can be ordered online at www.nextact.org or by calling 414-278-5930. Students can receive a $5 discount with a valid student ID. Tickets will also be 50 percent off a half hour prior to a performance with a student ID.

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