So if you're looking for one of those neat and tidy plays with a distinct beginning, middle, and end that answers all of your questions, then look elsewhere, because Big Love is an EXPERIENCE.
From the moment I walk inside, I am overwhelmed by visual elements: dozens of real-life wedding photos plastered to the walls, bouquets of flowers hanging from the ceiling, projections of butterflies, a moving backdrop of the beach, and what looks like an actual bathtub on stage.
As I process all of that, an exhausted looking woman wearing a filthy wedding dress walks on stage and proceeds to strip entirely and joyously bathe in front of all of us.
This is just the first few minutes.
Mid bathe, the woman is walked in on by a man who politely informs her that she is in his family's house, and not a hotel like she had previously thought. Stunned, she introduces herself as Lydia, a distressed woman and sister to 49 other women (wow), all of whom are infuriated over their forced engagements to their cousins (ew). But rather than enter into these marriages against their will, Lydia explains that she and her sisters have fled from Greece and their 50 fiancés by ship in search of refuge; It is her and her sisters' hope that they can find it in Italy, where they have landed.
When Olympia and Thyona, two of Lydia's 49 sisters, join her in the large house, they immediately pull out microphones and break into song, specifically, "You Don't Own Me," and it's like that scene out of The First Wives Club, except Lydia is wearing a bath rope and her sisters are in tattered wedding dresses. But you get the idea.
Throughout the rest of the show there are angry fiancés in flight-suits, murder plots, trampoline jumping, people angrily throwing themselves to the ground, and of course, more musical numbers. But somehow, the more over the top and ridiculous Big Love gets, the more its message to not condemn people for whom they love rings true. Love is something sacred and beautiful and yet it is the cause of so much pain and disagreement. Love cannot and should not be forced, but when it comes naturally and it's mutual, then there is no better feeling in existence.
Experiencing Big Love, I can't help but feel proud to be a woman. Watching Lydia, Olympia, and Thyona delve into their differing conceptions of feminism, my own views are strengthened.
Thyona believes that men are almost entirely rotten and that society would benefit from being completely female. Olympia is more materialistic, and loves makeup, clothes, and being submissive to men. Lydia is more in between, and I can easily identify with her perspective. I think that most of those who choose not to identify as feminists are operating out of ignorance and associate the movement with loud riots and anti-man parties when in actuality, the concept behind it couldn't be more basic.
But I think that Emma Watson puts it best in her much talked about UN speech:
It's as simple as that. Furthermore,
Amen to that.
If I were to sum up Big Love in one line from the show, it'd be:
And as Lydia finally finds true love, I cannot help but smile to myself. She throws her wedding bouquet into the audience and just like that, I am part of her wedding party. A woman sitting two seats to my right catches the bouquet and beams with happiness. Those on the stage throw rice, while the song "Celebration" blasts over the speakers.