Edinburgh Fringe 2011
David Leddy’s play “Untitled Love Story” is an exploration of what it is to be in love, what it is to loose that love, and what it is to be alone. Four lyrical monologues are interwoven, telling the tales of characters from different time periods, of different sexual orientation and characters who have arrived in Venice for very different reasons.
Hetrosexual, Homosexual or Asexual, this is a work that explores Love from all perspectives. A woman, whose relationship status has been changed from engaged to single via Facebook whilst on a flight to Venice. A Priest, whose love for meditation creates a complex conflict between a love of God and a love of tranquil relaxation. A man whom both is looked after and looks after his partner in the struggle against Aids and a woman whose fear of failure and social ostracisation cripples her love life with her various partners and destroys her relationship with her daughter. The characters as listed above each present their own version of life and love in the same city, a fascinating perspective to approach writing a play with, and in literature terms this is a work of art. At times, however, there is not enough room allowed for the visual, and with minimal direct communication between characters, can become a static.
Leddy both writes and directs this piece, and at times this really works to the advantage of the cast and indeed the audience, there are other moments when the play is crippled by Leddy’s meticulous desire for every word to be savoured. On a number of occasions the audience quite literally find themselves plunged into darkness, with the actors reciting lines in front of microphones. During these spells of darkness the priest takes the audience through a meditative process. Although the choice to place the auditorium into the same state of darkness hanging on the words of the priest, does make sense, it does not work in production terms. Unless, of course the intention is to relax the audience to a point of sleeping for the remainder of the production, if this is not the case, then sadly it is a clear example of where the translation between the text and the theatre does not quite hit the mark.
The cast provide a masterclass in vocal delivery, carrying their stories like treasured secrets and conveying every molecule of detail across to their audience. At times such vivid pictures of their situations are painted by their voices that the different Venices are created simultaneously. Their stories are so compelling that we understand their conflicts exactly, however there are other moments, when much like the characters themselves, the audience are left craving arrival the partners or ex-partners in the stories, to truly see and understand the damage that has been done, and enjoy the rebuilding of life from the familiar process of grief we have all faced at times.
Untitled Love Story, is as earlier mentioned, a beautiful piece of literature. As a radio play it would be a huge success. At present, even with some of the multimedia projections, the moving around of the vast piece of red silk, culminating in it engulfing the audience, there are still moments when the stagnant stillness becomes distracting from the beauty and honesty which exists within such a compelling story.