In Love in the Time of Lunatics, NWPL embarks on an investigation
of love, love stories, illusions and idiocy. Combining clowns, cabaret, and Buchner's dark comic vision, the performance
attempts to strip love down to the thing itself. The three actors represent the
eternal triangle of Pierrot, Columbine, and Harlequin. Pierrot wears a black
skullcap and white floppy pants and jacket. Harlequin wears clothes designed
with diamonds of contrasting colors and carries a stick. Columbine often dresses
sumptuously and sensually. They are in love with one another, often erotically
obsessed, in a mocking and treacherous manner. But this threesome does not fit
societys vision of marriage and family. They have different values. They are not normal. How can they know love? What can they teach us about love?
The actors (who are actually
playing actors playing archetypes playing a variety of roles) use three primary means to wrestle with the different notions
of love: Georg Buchners play Leonce and Lena, The Song of Songs,
and their own dreams, memories, and fantasies.
The story of Leonce and Lena
is a fairly typical commedia delarte inspired scenario. Prince Leonce of the
Kingdom of Popo, a bored and melancholy youth, is commanded by his father to marry Princess Lena of the Kingdom of Pipi. But Leonce wants to find his own ideal love and takes off to Italy with his philosophical
servant, Valerio. Princess Lena also decides to run away. On their journey, the two cross paths and Leonce and Lena fall in love without knowing each others true
identity. The wily Valerio arranges for them to be married as the Prince and
Princessin effigyand only after the ceremony is the truth discovered.
The Song of Songs, also known as The Song of Solomon, is one of the most beautiful mystical love poems ever
recorded. This classic text describes love as the ecstatic union with The Heavenly
Bridegroom. Buchner often makes reference to The Song of Songs in his
play and NWPL has created its own version of the text sung in the form of a traditional ballad.
And then there is our own
experience of love. Are the laws of love an illusion? Or do some laws of love exist, just not in any fixed form? How
can we find the answer? In the theatre.
Because through the paradox of the theatre, we still have the possibility to immerse ourselves in life.
Cultural historian Morris
Berman points out that, in the counter-tradition of paradox, truth emerges only when it is not pursued. So, too, love. Perhaps the only solution is to follow Rilkes
maxim: Live in the question.
Love in the Time of Lunatics represents a question to live in.
NWPL is a community of theatre artists whose mission is to
create theatre events and pedagogical programs; to research performance techniques from around the world; and to develop a
contemporary performance methodology. NWPL members are Jairo Cuesta, Salvatore
Motta, James Slowiak, and Debora Totti. NWPL is supported, in part, by The University
of Akron, School of Dance, Theatre and Arts Administration and operates as a non-profit corporation under the aegis of The
Cleveland Public Theatre.
For more information visit NWPLs website: www.nwplab.org or contact NWPL at firstname.lastname@example.org