Life and Lovesickness
When we imagine love what tends to immediately springs to mind is the clichéd image of a man and a woman, running through a field of flowers, with outstretched arms reaching towards one another. Careless, free and joyous. We have no doubt that they will reach eachother; that their hands will touch. We see love without what needs to be endured for it to last. Love: the abridged version. A ‘best hits’ montage of love without taking into account the effort and pain it needs to be nurtured and maintained.
A Number by Caryl Churchill examines parental love: how we seem to take unconditional love for granted within the family unit and whether love is responsible for shaping us into who we are. Salter takes his fatherhood into his own hands, creating a second chance at raising the same child afresh. When we meet the original child, his anger cannot help but convince us of his neglect, however his second child convinces us of Salter’s ability to love. In the question of nature vs. nurture, we begin to view love as a medicine and lovesickness as a weapon which can make monsters out of men.
Matthew Trevannion’s All But Gone blurs the lines between past and present with two intertwining stories of love. Both are unexpected and neither is forgotten. We are forced to readjust our definition of love to account for that which exists even though it cannot be spoken.
In the final show of the Spring 2018 season, The Effect by Lucy Prebble brings into question the science of love. Prebble envisions a future where love can be manufactured with a precise chemical formula. Dopamine: also activated by taking drugs and nicotine. Adrenaline: the hormone released to trigger the fight-or-flight response in order to keep the body safe. Serotonin: released when exercising, laughing or eating chocolate. The Effect causes us to question how can we know ourselves from our basic instincts? Is the love just another reflex to external factors or does it go deeper?
The LOVESICK season portrays love in all of its forms: romantic, parental, situational, lost, hidden and forgotten. After the horrific events which have taken place in 2017, I have never more wanted to be convinced of the existence of love that humans can have for one another. Not of love that endures until death or love that can heal but love that exists, if only for a while, and make better people of us all for that time.