Theater and Love. A Valentine’s Day Appreciation
February 12, 2014 Leave a comment
Can any theater define love the way so many songs do?
“Only love can save me, and love has destroyed me.”
Actor Oge Agulué was struck by a scene in August Wilson’s Jitney: “Rena confronts Youngblood about being absent from home and possible indiscretions. As it turns out, Youngblood was out securing a new house to move their family out of the projects. It speaks to me because he’s not just “saying” that he loves Rena, he’s “showing” how he loves Rena. He’s sacrificing his time, talents and treasures to give his family the best. It’s a snapshot of their day to day living rather than a forced proclamation of love. And I appreciate that it acknowledges how flawed we are: even when we think we’re doing good, we might not recognize the pain that we’re causing. Love is a struggle and there’s no handbook.”
Playwright Eddie Antar picks Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing. “It blew me away how this man refused to play the “act” of love and held out for the real thing. How it almost cost him his marriage, but how he just couldn’t be inauthentic or untrue to his standards. Love how deep he went in that play.” Antar has written a collection of plays entitled “Full Frontal: A Naked Exploration of Sex and Sexuality,” which will be performed starting April 3 at the WorkShop Theater Company. It has no nudity and no explicit sex a la Intimacy. “The material amounts to a journey, plays that travel through different stages of maturity and development. It starts with two kids stumbling through their first time in the back seat of a car. It ends with a middle aged, middle class Jewish woman who is transfixed by the sight of this young Latin man she spots on a subway platform.”
Many plays define love for playwright Emily Snyder: “Our Town is about the love of little things, the ordinary, the beauty of every day. But if you’re talking romance, I’d point to the lush classic romances as my favorites: Romeo and Juliet (when performed well), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (which is hard to perform poorly), Cyrano de Bergerac (heartbreaking), and I’m going to throw Peter Pan in there mostly because he was my five-year-old boyfriend and the scene when he steals Wendy away to Neverland is just…well, I’m still waiting, Peter! Also An Ideal Husband, because I’m a fan of plays that show what happens after “happily ever after.” There’s so much more romance in struggling to keep your vows than in impetuously rushing towards them.”
Snyder has created her own play about love, entitled “Cupid and Psyche,” which runs at HERE for five performances beginning tomorrow, including Valentine’s Day. It is based on the myth of Cupid and Psyche. Cupid was not always the mischievous little cherub with the bow and arrow.