‘Fool for Love’ to make its Wisconsin debut

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‘Fool for Love’ to make its Wisconsin debut

Amee Binder and Paul McComas are the two stars of this adaptation of the tragic comedy.

Amee Binder and Paul McComas are the two stars of this adaptation of the tragic comedy.

Photo by Lynnette King

Amee Binder and Paul McComas are the two stars of this adaptation of the tragic comedy.

Photo by Lynnette King

Photo by Lynnette King

Amee Binder and Paul McComas are the two stars of this adaptation of the tragic comedy.

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The romanticized nature of love often leaves out the tribulations that come with it. For one day only, this message will come to life onstage.

“Fool for Love,” a traveling benefit and tribute show, will come to Milwaukee today. All proceeds will benefit both Marquette University’s Center for Peacemaking and the Alma Center, a nonprofit working primarily toward helping men with a history of domestic abuse.

Patrick Kennelly, director of Marquette’s Center for Peacemaking, said the center helped coordinate the production and proceeds will be used to fund awareness programming, as October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Some of these initiatives include distributing teal ribbons that people can pin on a backpack, handing out resource guides and tabling at the Alumni Memorial Union.

This play in particular brings light to some of the center’s points of focus, Kennelly said.

“The Center for Peacemaking is all about creating healthy communities where nonviolence is used, and one of the ways we do that is by addressing violence and how it manifests itself,” Kennelly said. “This play in particular talks about toxic relationships and what can be done when people find themselves in them.”

He said he thinks it’s a good thing that art is being used to “continue an important conversation” and create “a safe space to discuss really difficult and complex issues.”

The show, held at Linnemann’s Riverwest Inn, 1001 E. Locust St., will also honor its creator, the late playwright Sam Shepard. Obie-Award winning and Pulitzer-Prize nominated, “Fool for Love” documents the tragic and comedic romance of May and Eddie, star-crossed lovers living in the South.

The event will feature a 45-minute adaptation of the drama and live music surrounding the irrational nature of romance prior to the show.

Chicago-based actress and singer Amee Binder plays May, the fiery female lead. She said the addition of music to the lineup sets the tone for the show.

“I hadn’t seen (a musical opening) done specifically for a show like this, but it’s different and cool,” Binder said. “Music can sort of transport you to a place. … It’s sort of there to get you into that world.”

Milwaukee native Paul McComas directs the show and also plays the character Eddie. McComas said the messages of the production resonate with the identity of many college students.

“I know that when I was in college, I was particularly drawn to pieces that were controversial and pushed boundaries in certain ways, that were edgy and alive,” McComas said. “That’s who we are at that age.”

Along with the production only having two people acting in it, McComas said attendees can expect a plot twist toward the end of the play.

“These are two characters who are in love but are dealing with an impossible situation thrust on them really by fate,” McComas said. “They’re both innocent — it is not the fault of either one of them. But that doesn’t entirely absolve them … from trying to grapple with the impossible.”

Binder said aside from the surprise, at its heart “Fool for Love” is a “relatable love story.”

“In college or high school, I feel like everybody sort of has at some point a tumultuous relationship. You know, ‘I want to hurt somebody just because they hurt me but I love them so much that I actually want to be with them but I don’t know how to do that because I’m still hurt,’” Binder said. “Or ‘I don’t want to be with them, but I don’t want anyone else to be with them either,’ like all of that stuff.”

The goal of the production is to not only entertain the audience, but leave a lasting impact as well, McComas said.

“I also want (the audience) to be involved simultaneously at the level of the head and the heart,” McComas said. “If I had to pick one over the other, I would pick an emotionally impactful play or novel, … but in the case of Shephard’s work, you don’t have to pick.”

Doors will open at 7 p.m., and the show will begin at 8 p.m. Students under 21 can be admitted with a parent or guardian. The price of admission is a $5 or more donation to the benefited nonprofits, given at the door.

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