Hearts take on a symbolic quality in “With Love and a Major Organ,” the Julia Lederer play opening Thursday at Baylor University, but they represent the characters’ real and not symbolic emotions.
That’s the selling point for Jessica Holt, who’s directing the three-person Baylor production staged at Baylor’s Theatre 11. “It seemed like my kind of play: a little quirky, poetic but a poetry grounded in real life and not flowery,” said the graduate student. “It’s a world where you can take your heart out and talk to it.”
Which happens when George (Daniel Merry) meets a subway rider (Katie King), who falls for him and starts communicating with him through cassette tapes. It turns out George has only a paper heart thanks to his mother Mona (Meredith Marcum), who wanted to protect him from the pain of a broken heart, and can’t reciprocate when the rider offers a real one.
It’s not a horror story that follows, however, but a triple journey of emotional exploration, said Holt. “It’s a comedy, so things end up on a positive note,” she said. “This is great for people who are romantics at heart. You can see the beauty and whimsy of everyday life. As painful as it can be to have a heart, it’s still important to have one.”
Though Lederer’s play has the background of today’s tech-friendly world where devices sometimes replace face-to-face communications, Holt found herself doing a brief bit of technological coaching. “I had to teach my cast how to use a tape player,” she said.