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Lovesong (Oberon Modern Plays)

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Often when both couples appeared in the same scene together, the young couple were lit in a soft, warm coloured lighting whilst the old couple were often left in darkness. The use of levels in this scene aided the visual impact; as their future selves were sat directly behind them. Despite maintaining their individual personality traits, the relationship of the couple seemed to change in many ways as they grew older. Lovesong plays at the Drum Theatre Plymouth 30th September to 15 October 2011, then opens in Washington DC in Autumn 2011 followed by a run at Sheffield Crucible from 19th October. Fugee (National Theatre), 27 (National Theatre of Scotland), Love Song (Frantic Assembly) and The Mistress Contract (Royal Court Theatre).

Video projections onto the back wall of the stage featured in some scenes, and often related to the event of conversation that had just taken place. It's not often that you hear mass sobbing in the theatre, but it's all sniffles during the latter stages of this new Frantic Assembly show. An example of this was when a low level, soft music played in the background and the young couple were lit in a soft spotlight that contrasted against the rest of the blacked-out stage (to represent the night time). is as tender as the bruised peaches that fall to the ground in the garden of the elderly couple's US home.

I say ‘watched’ but frankly I could only gaze at the play through tearful eyes; it is deeply moving without being in the least sentimental, achingly sad without being morbid. Whilst she was younger she often wore brightly coloured clothes such as her blue dress- this could’ve hinted at her aspirations for an exciting and vivid future, however as she grew older she wore colours that were much more dull- this could’ve symbolised her passion fading. The production stayed with me for a long time after I had seen it, as for me it illustrated the fragility of life and relationships, and the naturalistic, raw emotional response to separation through death.

Past and present literally intertwine as the older and younger couples move around each other across the stage. The absolute precision and fluidity of movement that was choreographed created the sense of the performance feeling like an actual love song.An elderly man dances with the memory of his young wife; a young man makes love to the woman his new wife will eventually become. Though widely performed in the south of England over the last decade, we’re delighted to bring this beautiful and haunting drama to the North East. Join Frantic Assembly Associate Simon Pittman as he leads you through a physical creative task inspired by the rehearsal process for our production of Lovesong.

The set was simplistic; only featuring basic statement furnishings of the house (such as the fridge, table, bed and wardrobe). The kitchen and bedroom of Maggie and Billy's house, where the walls were never scribbled on by longed-for children, are stalked by the ghosts of their younger selves: the smooth-skinned, radiant Margaret (Leanne Rowe) and William (Edward Bennett). One of these moments was when William went to the fridge to drink for the first time during an argument with Margaret, and his older self shut the fridge door behind him. Her The Night is Darkest Before the Dawn was written and performed as part of The Great Game: Afghanistan cycle of plays which recently toured to the Pentagon.One way in which this was achieved was by the repetition of William saying ‘blue’ each time Maggie swallowed a blue pill. The magic realism of the story is also enhanced by occasional balletic movements well delivered by the older couple Phillips who was pushing 80 when the play was filmed is an astonishing dancer. If this sounds tricksy (add in powerful video backdrops and an intensely moving underscore), it isn’t – all is perfectly pitched and done with beautifully judged finesse. However, the differentiating factor in their voices was that while the volume of Margaret’s voice fluctuated depending on the situation, Maggie’s voice was much louder the majority of the time. He touches on where the idea came from and focuses on a particularly important scene and the building blocks used in its creation.

That powerful image of time as a viscous fluid, disappearing before our eyes, gradually leaking into oblivion, came to mind while watching ‘Lovesong’ on Digital Theatre.One example of this is through voice; both characters of Margaret spoke with a fast paced, pronounced British accent. Her television work includes My Fragile Heart, Murder, Sex Traffic, Tsunami – The Aftermath, White Girl, Royal Wedding, Birdsong, The Hour, River and The Split.

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