Q: Okay so suggestion from a few of us! This show is about a high school, and in high school dating/crushes/romance is really common. And when you think of it, naming a single musical without some kind of romance is REALLY hard. I find it a little bit strange that in cotesville there aren’t any romances. We thought that it would be great if Rikki and Shinn had a little thing. I mean, the whole best friend and the brother get together thing. It’s classic, doesn’t take away from the plot, connects these characters more to the audience, and adds something that is missing.
KATIE: Alright, I haven’t talked to Rob about this yet, so I can’t give you a clear up-down on whether or not we’ll add a romantic subplot (although I can tell you that in this regard, Rob is Even Less Fun Than I Am, so don’t get your hopes up). But, let me offer you a brief explanation of why there’s no romantic relationships there, and what you can do about it.
We deliberately set out to write a show that highlights other forms of love – friends, family, etc. – rather than romantic love, because heaven knows there’s plenty of other shows about that. We were in high school at one point, and we know that that sort of thing is in the air, but we wanted to write a conspiracy thriller that just wasn’t about that.
Beyond that, in conceiving the show and thinking about how it will exist in the world, we wanted as many of the characters to be able to be played by actors of either gender as possible, including nearly-all-female casts if necessary, and while we’re certainly not opposed to same-sex relationships, we just didn’t want there to be any holdups that would make the show harder for virtually any school to produce.
I do like the idea of a Shinn-Rikki relationship… some day, not in this show. They’d probably like each other. But, Act 2 pretty much happens over the course of one evening, Shinn shows up at the beginning of it, Rikki gets cobra-fied like one scene later, and so they’re both human and in the same room for literally like 2 minutes. They can totally get together in the sequal. Or in the companion comic books. But a quick perusal of the French scenes doesn’t provide a lot of opportunity of love. [Edited to add: Shinn, a junior in college, hitting on a high school girl within like 30 seconds of meeting her makes me like him a lot less….]
I have my own opinion as to who Chuck is into, and who’s into him, and how this might evolve over the show, but really, this comes to a bigger issue in general. Every character in this show has ever-changing relationships with and thoughts about all of the other characters. It’s up to you to identify and invent what those are, and track them throughout the show. Maybe your character thinks that Boom is really cute, and even though we don’t see him invite you to study group, that’s what gets you turned into a cobra. Maybe you’ve never noticed Mouse before, and then you see her play in the band, and then you do. Maybe you are totally annoyed by Darzee saving the world, but once she’s turned into a cobra, you miss her. Maybe Shinn and Rikki do notice each other. Just because there’s not a line about it doesn’t mean it’s not there. Your job as an actor is (with the guidance of your director) to create a fully-lived-in character, and their relationships of all kinds are a huge part of that, whether or not we decide to write in an “official” romance.