Friday, July 6, 2012

THE LOVER by Pamela Powell

I'm so sorry you missed last night's performance of THE LOVER, written in 1962 by Harold Pinter and currently a production of Soul Theatre.  But you can still catch it as it's playing through July 15 at A Red Orchid Theatre in Old Town Chicago.  The Lover is about a married couple trying to keep things new and fresh and the lengths they go to do so.  It's about creativity and trust in a relationship and what happens when the agreed upon fantasy world crashes into reality.

This provocative production targeted one of our most basic needs:  sex.  But in a relationship, sex is much more complicated than just the action.  In THE LOVER, the couples' relationship was about fidelity and love fighting with boredom and the need for newness.  Keeping things fresh hit home as the normal course of any relationship is to take things for granted. We don't "see" that person in front of us anymore.  Sarah, played by Ravi Batista and Richard/Max played by Mick Weber, had developed a "game" to play to keep each other interested and intrigued.  They talked with each other about their affairs or lovers.  The scenes continually changed as did their roles with each other smoothly transforming into another person and back again.  It sounds confusing, but it wasn't.  It was crystal clear.  They needed this role playing to keep things fresh.  But what happens when words hit too close to home and the line of fantasy and reality collide.  What was truly happening and how did they really feel about each other?

This honest depiction of relationships was wonderfully presented with this small ensemble.  Sarah and Richard could be any of us.  Their use of a fantasy relationship within reality was what set them apart.  Will it be their demise?  This isn't a new concept.  Infidelity is rampant and divorce is a common occurrence.  The just released feature TAKE THIS WALTZ addresses the same issue.  What initially is new eventually becomes old.  The use of a fantasy world within the scope of reality in a relationship was also reminiscent of Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf.  Both look at how helpful or harmful can it be in the long run?  THE LOVER took what I am sure has been a problem of centuries and brought it to the forefront to truly see and hopefully discuss with our partners.  To deny the need for newness and the base need of sex is to deny who we are as people.
Watching this relatively short, one act wonderful, entertaining and thought-provoking play wasn't the end of the evening.  There was so much more!  After every performance, the producer has arranged presenters that relate to the play's theme.  Tonight's post-show event was Sex, Chocolate and Yoga.  I was in heaven!  The presenter, Andrea Klunder, was a Yoga and meditation instructor from  The audience stayed to learn a few basics about Yoga, how it relates to being in touch with yourself, and seeing your partner in a new light with continued "mindfulness."  Then there was the chocolate.  You can't go wrong with chocolate, especially when they are turtles from The Fudge Pot!  But the instructor, Andrea, didn't want the chocolate to be just a good experience, she wanted it to be a phenomenal experience.  We then implemented the mindfulness technique to be completely aware of every sensation that we could have when eating this treat:  feeling, smelling, tasting without devouring.  Although, one of the cast members, who shall remain nameless, devoured his before the instruction so he had to be given a second one!  I think that was pretty smart on his part!  This play was a unique and relevant look at relationships along with an extraordinary post show presentation.  Truly one of the most fun plays I have had the pleasure of seeing and reviewing!

Take a look at the Facebook site to see the upcoming post-show events and discussions at  For tickets, go to  For more information about Yoga and meditation go to

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