Monday, February 18, 2008

No place like London

I hope my readers will allow me a moment's self-indulgence tonight.

You see, it was a year ago tonight--not factoring for any differences in time zones--that I got to see "Love Song", a play by John Kolvenbach, at London's New Ambassador theater.

The case was amazing: Michael McKean, Kristen Johnston, Neve Campbell and Cillian Murphy. Yes, I was there to see Cillian Murphy. I would watch that man in a life insurance commercial, as those of you who know me know, and as those who don't will learn. One of my best friends and I went there on a wild hare, just for this show. For the record, this is not the kind of thing we're usually willing or able to do.

I'm writing, however, not to congratulate myself, but to to say, if you ever have a chance to see this play, with any cast--SEE IT!

The story revolves around a lonely eccentric named Beane, whose life finally takes off when he falls in love with Molly, a feisty stranger who breaks into his apartment. His sister and her husband, who have been taking care of Beane from arm's length for some time, are naturally concerned. But without even meeting them, Molly begins to open their minds, too.

I remember the music. The opening song is “Just What I Needed”, by The Cars, and to hear that song still hurts me in the best possible way. All of the songs chosen, however, give the play a funky, intelligent, contemporary feel. The set—at least the way it was constructed in London—was ingenious, making visual the feeling of the walls closing in. And the script? The script is by turns hilarious and sad and poetic. There were times I was laughing so hard that I couldn't breathe, and moments where I grew teary.

Interestingly enough, a lot of the themes in the play are familiar to neo-Pagans like myself. At the risk of revealing too much, the play deals with the power of the imagination, the nature of reality, and even the concept of thought forms. In the end, all the characters are able to strike a balance between “fantasy” and “real life”. Beane emerges ready to face the world, and his sister and her husband restore wonder and vitality to their lives.

The whole night was magical. We were still jet-lagged, as circumstances forced us to see the play the night we arrived. However, as the curtain rose, I was pulled right into the excitement of theater in a foreign city.

In case you're wondering, I did get my autograph. I didn't get a picture—Murphy is notoriously shy, and somehow, that just seemed like too much. It all happened very quickly, and I still hope that I managed not to make a fool of myself. In some ways, the play seems far more real than the press of the crowd backstage, anyway.

I guess February is just a month for theater. This year, my friends and I took to the stage ourselves, and became our own fandom. I'll never forget London, though.

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(Promotional photo found on

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