CUYAHOGA FALLS — Being love sick can mean many things and the play, “Love/Sick,” may help to untangle the ups and downs of romance.

The fans of John Cariani's “Almost, Maine” will want to see “Love/Sick,” a darker cousin written in Cariani's style with a collection of nine slightly twisted and funny short plays performed by Actors-N-Theatre in Cuyahoga Falls. Performances are May 10, 11, 17, 18 at 8 p.m. and May 19 at 3 p.m. at Quirk Cultural Center, 1201 Grant Ave. in Cuyahoga Falls.

ANTIC Director Kristen Smith and Assistant Director Mark Brown began casting the men and women for the roles March 22.

The play is set on a Friday night in an alternate suburban reality and explores the pain and the joy that comes with being in love. Full of imperfect lovers and dreamers, “Love/Sick” is an unromantic comedy for the romantic in everyone.

Each director picks the play they want to direct, Smith said. In 2016 ANTIC did “Almost, Maine.”

“I love his [Cariani's] style of writing and how he does plays,” Smith said. “They talk over each other and break traditional rules of theater.”

Smith said she is looking for actors to push their comfort zones and bring heart to their characters. The difficult part is matching actors as couples who may audition on different nights.

“'Love/Sick' shows the cycle of love from a first meeting through divorce,” Smith said. “It's a little darker than 'Almost, Maine' and love isn't always what it seems.”

The play should appeal to a wide range of people since love appeals to everybody, Smith said.

Brown said his role is to help with auditions and rehearsals but Smith has final say.

Bella Fothergill, of Cuyahoga Falls, was in “Almost, Maine” and said the characters were challenging and fun. She said she would like to win the part of Louise who answers the door to a singing telegram man.

When it comes to love, Fothergill said she prefers the emotion’s lighter side.

“I would choose someone who makes me laugh and is a friend who accepts me for you I am,” she said.

Ben Hammer, of Cuyahoga Falls, who is also a board member for ANTIC, was in “Almost, Maine,” and is excited to be cast for any part.

Hammer who is married to the director, said he would pick a fun person to love.

“I want someone to share that fun and talk with and be down to earth with,” Hammer said.

Susan Rusinoff, of Tallmadge, said she liked the character of Shelly in “Almost, Maine” because she was truthful.

“It was meaningful and I liked how she took a risk,” Rusinoff said.

She said “Almost, Maine” was her favorite play to be in.

“We had a closeness with the other characters,” Rusinoff said. “At ANTIC you become family and take care of each other.”

Rusinoff said the person she would choose to love would be someone with integrity and patience, someone who is calm and helps ground and center her.

Brittany Bizub, of Wickliffe, also likes the author of “Almost Maine.”

“It's an interesting style to be in vignettes that are not connected,” Bizub said.

Her choice for love would be someone she can trust and provides good entertainment.

“They are there by your side when times get tough,” Bizub said.

She auditioned with her husband, Christopher, who has directed “Almost, Maine” at three locations in 2011, 2014 and 2017 and was a cast member at the University of Akron.

“I like John Cariani's writing,” Christopher said. “It's simplistic and flows and is very accessible to the modern audience.”

He said he would choose to love someone who shares his values and is trustworthy.

“They are there for you in good and bad times and you can laugh together,” Christopher said.

Veronica Andrews of Cuyahoga Falls said her choice for love would be responsible, kind and has “their stuff together.”

Whether in love or not, the audience will find someone to relate to in “Love/Sick.”

Reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at 330-541-9434 or