Sunday, October 18, 2009

Love Song - by John Kolvenbach

Premiered in 2006 at Steppenwolf, Love Song is a comedy in ten scenes. It moves between Beane, a recluse, seemingly depressive and his sister and her husband, Joan and Harry, who try to help him amidst their busy lives. Beane comes home in the third scene to a woman in his apartment, wearing his clothes, she came to steal but there's nothing to steal and Beane is transformed by his contact with her. In their second scene together she tells him:

Do you understand who I am? The last one? The architect? I took his stereo, I Ripped it out of his bookcse, It has no buttons and it's also a satellite and a particle accelerator and no decent person could possibly afford this Object and I am Ripping it out of his bookcase, I've got my boot on a shelf for leverage. But then I notice something: Hold on a minute. None of the books have been read. No cracked bindings, Beane. Not a wrinkle. I burned his house down. I got some gasoline and a blowtorch and my vengeance and I burned it to the ground. I waited for him to come home and I watched the architect cry and I felt happy for the only time this year. Is who I am.

I think that's reasonable.

He falls in love with her. He tastes things, he develops a passion for the world. His sister and husband worry but then are inspired to play hookey from work and fuck all day. But then it becomes clear she is imaginary and Joan encourages him to hold on to her anyway. Molly comes back to Beane, but Beane chooses to try the world, knowing that Molly will be waiting for him should it not work out.

It's simple. It's fast. It starts immediately with a wordless scene of Beane in his apartment with the walls closing in. The dialogue is swift, smart, current. Funny and sad and lots of love, lots of different loves loaded into a small set of givens. And totally theatrical. Only theatrical. No bones about it - and even if you could give it Jungian interpretation of meeting and integrating the shadow self, the anima to your animus or whatever - it doesn't fall into pretention. It sticks to comedy - quick characters drawn swiftly with few details and dealing with this - an awkward brother, a caring sister and how they will live in the world.

There's no rhyme or reason to the choosing of plays for this experiment. I'm reading one everyday. I'm apart from my book collection so I'm relying on what happens to have been ordered recently and what happens to be in the used bookstores of Atlanta, GA. I like this randomness. It is kindof the point, to read widely and try to write a response to them. I haven't decided if unplublished plays will be included. I read those too, but I'm leaving them out for the time being. In fact - even a new play like today's & Ruined I'm finding harder to talk back to. And I'm not sure why that I'm thinking about that.

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