FARMINGTON — Theater Ensemble Arts' new production takes audiences into the complex relationships between former lovers.

"Fool For Love" is directed by Steven Clark, the Farmington High School drama teacher. The play opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the Black Box Theater at San Juan College.

It tells the story of May, played by Krista Robbins, who is hiding at a Mojave Desert hotel when her childhood friend and former lover, Eddie, portrayed by Piedra Vista High School drama teacher Patrick Cheney, shows up and tries to convince her to come back home with him and live in the trailer they always dreamed of having.

Devin McCormmick, left, Krista Robbins and Patrick Cheney act out a scene during rehearsal for "Fools for Love" on Wednesday at the Black Box
Devin McCormmick, left, Krista Robbins and Patrick Cheney act out a scene during rehearsal for "Fools for Love" on Wednesday at the Black Box Theater at San Juan College in Farmington. (Jon Austria / The Daily Times)

The "Old Man," played by Thomas LaRue, sits in a rocking chair during the play, although he exists only in Eddie and May's minds. The Old Man is the father of both Eddie and May and May worries Eddie is becoming like him, even, at times, accusing him of sleeping with another woman, who she calls the "Countess."

"It's been my most challenging role yet," Robbins said.

One of the reasons is that there's so much emotion. But she added that May "is very good at trying to hide her feelings."

For Robbins, who says she wears her emotions on her sleeve, bottling up the emotions is hard to portray.

One unique part of the play is how it is presented. The Black Box Theater enables the ensemble to show the production in the round, meaning the audience sits surrounding the stage.

"It really brings you into the feel of it," Robbins said.

However, this can also be difficult for seasoned actors who are used to having a set rules about always facing the audience.

"A lot of our training has had to go out the window," Robbins said.

Cheney has a little more experience then his fellow cast members acting in the round, although he said he still has only performed in the round a couple of times.

He said he enjoys playing the role of Eddie.

"He's pretty raw," Cheney said. "He's just there, you know, no filter."

Cheney said Eddie tends to say whatever he is thinking.

"Other than that, there's not a whole lot to like about him," Cheney said with a laugh.

Cheney said playing Eddie is a dream gig for an actor because it is intense and fun.

"You get to really just get down and get into character," Cheney said.

The fourth member of the small cast is Devin McCormick.

McCormick, who played one of the lead characters in the ensemble's last play, "California Suite," plays the role of Martin, who shows up to take May on a date. In the previous play, McCormick acted tough. He said his character in "Fool For Love" is a "big softie." He described Martin as gentle, innocent and naive.

Martin, played by Devin McCormmick and May, played by Krista Robbins, rehearse a scene for "Fools for Love" on Wednesday at the Black Box Theater
Martin, played by Devin McCormmick and May, played by Krista Robbins, rehearse a scene for "Fools for Love" on Wednesday at the Black Box Theater at San Juan College in Farmington. (Jon Austria / The Daily Times)

McCormick said although Martin is often picked on by Eddie, "he tries to keep a good face about it."

McCormick has never acted in the round before and is looking forward to trying it.

"It will be interesting to know what it feels like with the audience sitting all around," he said.

IF YOU GO

What: 'Fool For Love'

When: 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 2

Where: Black Box Theater, San Juan College, 4601 College Blvd.

Where: Tickets are $10 for adults $8 for students and seniors.

Donate: Bring a non-perishable food donation for Daily Bread and get half-price tickets on Sunday, Feb. 2.

Reserve a seat: Seating will be limited, so reserve early by calling 505-326-2839.

Hannah Grover covers news, arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and hgrover@daily-times.com. Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.