But Robinson hasn’t lost her grip on reality. Rather, she is among the four actors performing in the upcoming CAST production of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. The musical comedy, which opens Thursday, Sept. 15, calls for each actor to play upward of 10 separate characters. Such Sybil-like transformations have been a fun challenge for the 33-year-old actress in her first CAST show.
“It’s been a lot of work,” said Robinson, who graduated from Jacksonville State University with a degree in drama. “Try to grasp onto something that identifies that character to me, whether it’s an accent, a mannerism, a way they fidget, a lot of times it’s vocally. We’ve all made a concerted effort to give each character a distinct voice.”
Along with Robinson, the rest of the cast includes Steve Simmons, Cody Harrell and Heather Garlick. Working with such a small cast, with each taking on such unique, not to mention multiple, characters is a true opportunity to shine, says Kim Dobbs, who is co-directing the play alongside Eric Trainer, a drama professor at JSU.
“It’s a tour de force for an actor,” Dobbs said. “This is a rare chance for them to do so much — like three or four performances all in one.”
This play will also be something of a departure for CAST audiences as well. I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, as told through four separate vignettes, is a modern take on the ins and outs, ups and downs of love, marriage and relationships. There’s some adult language, often set to music, and content that would probably earn a PG-13 rating.
Billed as the longest-running off-Broadway play, I Love You offers an honest, insightful and hilarious look at the mating game.
“It’s a bit more edgy than anything we’ve done,” Dobbs said. “For me, it was about stepping out of the saccharine and into the real world. I think our audience is going to understand and relate to this story. Part of our mission statement is to educate and enlighten as well as to entertain. We want to open the eyes of our audience to the wider world, and we aren’t going to do that by always playing it safe.
” And it’s a story everyone’s painfully familiar with, Dobbs adds. “It’s art affecting life,” she said. “This is life that’s happening every single day right here in Anniston.”
Robinson believes I Love You is perfect for everyone. And given the myriad of characters she’s playing, she should know. “It’s really a good gap show,” she said. “It runs the gamut from first-kiss jitters, to one of the characters gets picked up at a funeral, and I’m in my 60s. So no matter what they’re age, anybody who’s ever been on a date will see something they can relate to.”
Given its realistic take on relationships, I Love You provides a unique opportunity for CAST to push the envelope a bit without alienating its core audience.
“I think no matter what (CAST) is doing, it’s important to keep a well-rounded balance,” Robinson said. “It’s cool that they’re doing something that pushes the boundaries a bit and offers a modern take on a modern topic.”
Contact Brett Buckner at firstname.lastname@example.org