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9 Stories, 18 Actors Explore the Heart in "Love/Sick" at Village Players

As a prelude to Valentine’s Day, The Village Players of Fort Thomas present the comedy Love/Sick, a collection of nine very short plays that invites audiences to laugh (and weep) about the joy and pain of love. It opens Jan. 27 for a two-weekend run.

Set on a Friday night in an alternate suburban reality, director Dan Maloney explains, “It’s about nine couples all at the stage in a relationship where things could go either way.”

The play, and the director, are serious about the “alternate reality.”

Maloney teases the opening vignette, Obsessive Impulsive: “Two people meet at a grocery store and everything they think or feel they automatically do. So the first thing they do is kiss.”

Definitely alternate reality.

Maloney is one of the go-to talents in area community theatre. After graduating from Xavier University in 2007 (“The great thing about X is that I was on stage in 22 productions”), he toured with Madcap Puppets and these days, when he’s not at his copywriting job, reads dozens of scripts a year looking for gems.

One of the reasons he likes directing is, “I get to pick the plays. I can bring shows people don’t know to the community.”

Love/Sick fit the bill, and so did the big cast of 18 (two actors for each of the nine sketches.) Maloney was looking for actors “with a sense of the eccentric, with heart and emotions to share. They’re all different shapes and sizes.”

Half of them are from Northern Kentucky.

Chris Payne is one-half of Obsessive Impulsive, mentioned above; in no particular order, Maloney lists the northern Kentucky actors are the alternate suburban reality characters they play:

“Heather Abbott is a bored housewife who’s afraid she might kill. Jenifer Davis and Teresa Myers are a couple who have forgotten who they are in their relationship. Scott Unes is a husband whose wife tells him she had sex for lunch.

“Ginny Butsch is a bride whose groom has pre-wedding nerves. Nathan Henegar is a guy who delivers singing telegrams and he sings to Patricia Mullins that she’s being dumped. Jeremy Cox is confessing his

Maloney’s home theatre is Mariemont Players, but he’s a regular at Village Players, too, where he had his first community theatre gig. He’ll be back at Mariemont in spring, with an April 28-May 14 run of Theresa Rebeck’s Dollhouse (a contemporary riff on Ibsen’s A Doll’s House) and he’s already booked for Village Players next season, project TBA.

Love/Sick, Village Players of Fort Thomas, Jan. 27-Feb. 4. 8 North Fort Thomas Ave., Fort Thomas, 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets $20. 859-392-0500 and www.villageplayers.biz