Correction: Josh Wise was incorrectly mentioned playing the role of Edward in Spike Heels. Wise actually plays the role of Andrew.
Capping off its final summer production, Theatre UCF presents a new play touching on themes of identity, sexuality and self-determination.
Spike Heels, Theatre UCF’s latest production, revolves around a cast of four characters who eventually find themselves in what Director Kate Ingram calls a “love rectangle.”
The play begins in the apartment of Andrew, who is the neighbor of Georgie. Georgie arrives to complain that her boss, Edward, had made sexual advances and attempted to rape her. From there, the play takes a series of twists and turns that lead to complex relationships between the characters.
Ingram describes the relationship between Georgie and Edward as uniquely complex.
“This is a university professor who has gone out of his way to help educate her and try to take the f-bombs out of her language and make her a better person,” Ingram said. “But he’s doing it pretty high-handedly and running her life, and in the process, he’s falling in love with her. [It] gets very complicated.”
She also noted that the production includes foul language and adult situations. Ingram also argues that the play is a timely exploration of themes such as identity, sexuality and self-determination.
“It’s pretty timely, I think, for men who try to be too macho and too in charge and too controlling, and for women who try maybe too much to please the male,” she said. “It kind of makes you think about the battle of the sexes a little bit, makes you think about language.”
The script for the play was written by Theresa Rebeck, a playwright who went on to great success after this play. Her credits include the NBC hit Smash, NYPD Blue and Law and Order: Criminal Intent, to name a few.
Ingram noted that some minor cosmetic changes were made to the production to bring it up to date. The play was originally set in Boston, but Ingram’s production is not set in a specific city.
She also said the cast decided to use cellphones rather than landlines as props for the performance.
“I tried to read carefully and only had to change a few things to make it feel like it’s now,” she said.
Gracie Winchester, a junior musical theatre major, plays the role of Georgie, the lead character who starts out the production. Winchester notes that Georgie has a tough exterior, but beneath the surface there is much more.
“I see Georgie as a girl that has been through a lot in life emotionally, that has a big heart but covers it up and uses this ‘tough as nails’ person to protect herself getting too hurt,” Winchester said.
Georgie is seen in the performance wearing spike heels, which form part of her sex appeal. Winchester said that at times, Georgie has to use her sex appeal to get what she wants.
“I think that she absolutely uses the sex appeal and the power in her heels to not necessarily please them but to maybe get what she wants, which is some sort of respect, some sort of positive attention, because other than that, I think that she sees men sort of looking at her like she’s useless and she’s not useless,” she said.
Josh Wise, a graduate acting major, plays the role of Andrew, Georgie’s neighbor. Wise defines his character as uptight and controlling at times.
“He’s very uptight. He is a professor at a university in town. He’s very passionate about what he believes in, sometimes overly so,” Wise said. “He is very into what he’s saying and how people should act. He’s also controlling, not on purpose, but he just thinks that people can be better than they are.”
Wise said his character attempts to realize this through Georgie in the show. He said his character can sometimes be seen as sexist.
“I think he is, but he’s not conscious of it. He has good intentions, but he’s not aware that he’s hurting people along the way,” he said. “He probably can come across as sexist and a lot of other negative things, but he has good intentions and he doesn’t realize it. And that’s one of his flaws, I guess.”
The performance will be taking place in Theatre UCF’s Black Box Theatre from July 12-15, and from July 19-22. Standard tickets are $17, tickets for seniors are $15 and student tickets are $10.
For more information on Theatre UCF’s productions, visit theatre.cah.ucf.edu.