A tale of coming out is coming to the Newport Performing Arts Center this month.
In “She Loves Me Not,” written and directed by Milo Graamans of Yachats, the audience follows the story of Caitlin — a girl home from college for the summer who introduces her boyfriend to her family the day before coming out as a lesbian.
“It’s largely about how the family and friends and soon-to-be ex-boyfriend are going to react to that news,” said Graamans. “(It’s) a case study, I guess, but also light-hearted.”
The dramatic comedy has many spots of humor, but never at the expense of the serious subject matter — one-liners and physicality bear most of the comedy, while staying out of crucial scenes and moments where the characters are handling serious interactions.
The actors are accompanied on stage by a seven-piece live band, which helps produce the varied sound over the course of the two-hour show. With funk, blues, spoken word and more all performed, there’s sure to be a song for everyone’s tastes.
The lyrics also contrast with each other, as different characters react to this revelation in a variety of ways. Cassie Lihou plays the central character, Caitlin, while Graamans stars opposite as her boyfriend, Jim. As for the family, Cassie Beal plays Caitlin’s sister, Sarah; Gary Herd and Miranda Carter portray Caitlin’s parents; Annie Pusey makes for a spectacular Grandma; and Jami Ivory and Leo Johns act as dear friends to the protagonist — Sam and Josh, respectively.
Many views are represented in the reactions of Caitlin’s loved ones, making for interesting discussions on identity and acceptance — even outside of sexuality.
“I would like to think that you’ll come into it and just observe, have a good time and maybe you’ll have something to think about when you get home later,” said Graamans. “I’m not trying to put any agenda down anyone’s throat, it’s just something to think about — take what you will from it.”
Tickets are available online at coastarts.org, by phone at 541-265-2787 or in person at the Newport Performing Arts Center box office. Admission for adults is $22, student and senior tickets are $20. The show runs every Friday, Saturday and Sunday starting Aug. 9 and closing on Aug. 25. There are no flashing or pulsing lights in this production, and the director estimated that the material would be equivalent to a “PG” movie rating.