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If you are deeply in love...

purva@khaleejtimes.com Filed on August 24, 2020
The play explores the many dimensions of modern society

Good for you, but it won't last for long, suggests an upcoming theatrical production in Dubai

Let me warn you, right ahead, we will walk deep onto the path of love and walk out a bit stirred and shaken. American author and film director Neil LaBute's The Shape of Things, an unusual love story that focuses on human behaviour, is ready to be staged in Dubai. The dark comedy will explore how love and friendship don't often mix well. In a conversation with Dubai-based director Sarah Potter, I put forward a question: If I am deeply in love, should I or should I not watch this theatrical production? Her reply is where lies the tangled web of truth that the play about small-town college sweethearts explores. "If you're deeply in love, good for you, but it won't last for long. It'll settle into something more like contentment, or better yet, loving someone deeply for who they are, not who you want them to be. I would say that definitely, you should watch this play because it will open your eyes to the things we may say to each other when we are gripped by 'love', or even to the extent that we are willing to compromise our self-worth for other people." Well, that's a start. So, guess all is fair in love, war and an academic research project, the other themes that the play's storyline explores? "Indeed. In this play, the characters juggle friendship, new love interest, and their studies - sometimes with an unexpected outcome," she adds.

The play premiered in London in 2001 and was released as a film in 2003, which makes one wonder if we'll end up comparing the live act with the movie. Sarah says she saw the movie, only after the play. "My inspiration wasn't that, but a version of the play I saw in a small art gallery in London's Soho in 2011, directed by Tom Attenborough. He used minimal set, minimal props, and the actors' prowess to create each scene in the minds of the audience. I have shamefacedly stolen that technique and adapted it." Also, she's made absolutely no changes to the script. "Neil LaBute writes so precisely (unlike some other playwrights) that every single word counts and has meaning, so I didn't change a word. His character directions, however, I have changed, depending on how the emotion felt in the moment, the way the actors felt their characters would react."

Interestingly, as if exploring love in contemporary times was not enough, the play does explore another dimension of the modern society i.e. the need of seeking acceptance. In the times of hashtags and influencers, being liked by the society has become a priority (sadly!), does the director agree or disagree?  "It depends on your feelings of self-worth, but everybody wants to be liked by their chosen circle. Having said that, being liked by 'society' has always been a priority - particularly for the underclass. The upper-class characters in the play don't have to care about what people think. Whereas the shy, not rich, not part of the 'in-crowd' character is pushed around by the upper class and is willing to do it."

So, if you are ready to revisit that feeling when you fall in love for the first time, go watch this play casting local actors Mario Silva, Genette Harrison, Falaq Tahir, Satya Baskaran, and produced by Sid Abbas, on behalf of H72 Productions. To be staged at the performing art space,  The Junction, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz, Dubai. You can get your tickets: ae.bookmyshow.com, for the shows on 26, 27, 28, 29th August: Wednesday-Saturday, 7:30pm; Friday-Saturday, 3pm. 

author

Purva Grover

Purva Grover is a journalist, poetess, playwright, and stage director. She made her debut as an author, with The Trees Told Me So, a collection of short stories. She is the editor of Young Times, a magazine that empowers the youth in the UAE. She conducts fortnightly writing workshops, author interaction events, open mic sessions, etc. for the writing fraternity in UAE. Her stage productions have been recognised for their boldness, honesty, and unique voice. She is backed with a post-graduate degree in mass communication and literature. Born & brought up in colourful-chaotic India, she writes in English and currently resides in Dubai, UAE. You can stalk her on Instagram @purvagr and say hello to her at purvagrover.com


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