It seems only natural that Available Light Theatre, a theatre company built by friends who thrive off each other’s creativity, energy and reliability, would devise a piece exploring the ties that bind. At the Madlab Theatre in Columbus, Ohio, Nov. 14–23, the troupe presents Glue, an original investigation of the nature of friendship.
Directed by Matt Slaybaugh and created by the ensemble, the project has been brewing for five years, inspired by philosopher Judith Butler’s words on the nature of loss: “On one level, I think I have lost ‘you’ only to discover that ‘I’ have gone missing as well. Perhaps what I have lost ‘in’ you, that for which I have no ready vocabulary, is the tie by which we are related.”
Glue explores that conundrum via tales of friendship, gleaned from the actors’ personal lives and from the community, with references to poetry and such classic buddy films as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Stand By Me.
Most members of Available Light were born and raised in the theatre’s hometown. As production manager Dave Wallingford explains, “It’s important to us to remind our audience that this is written and produced in Columbus, by their friends and neighbors.” Ensemble member Acacia Duncan affirms, “Our work always has a strong element of joy.”
In keeping with this upbeat ethos, Glue touches on dark moments but keeps its focus on the beauty of friendship. As ensemble member Michelle Schroeder says, “Everything we do is about raising our social consciousness and our level of responsibility for each other. If one person says, ‘I’m going to step out of my comfort zone and do something nice for someone else,’ that’s a success.”