What the world needs now Talia Pura’s Per­fect Love

Pasatiempo - - CONTENTS - Per­fect Love, Per­fect Love, Press. and Per­fect Love Per­fect Love’s Win­nipeg Free

Per­fect Love, a darkly comedic ro­man­tic play by Talia Pura, be­gan as a the­atri­cal writ­ing ex­er­cise. Pura wanted to see how long she could sus­tain di­a­logue that could be said by any char­ac­ters, re­gard­less of gen­der, age, or their re­la­tion­ships to each other. The fin­ished prod­uct is a se­ries of the­mat­i­cally linked vi­gnettes fo­cused on sex and ro­mance, most of which take place at the mo­ment of a breakup or sig­nif­i­cant shift in in­ter­per­sonal dy­nam­ics. A cast of four ac­tors ro­tates through the scenes, with ev­ery ac­tor get­ting a chance, as Pura said, to flirt shame­lessly with ev­ery­one else. Pura di­rects the world pre­miere of open­ing Fri­day, Dec. 7, un­der the aus­pices of Blue Raven Theatre, at Ware­house 21.

In 2015, Pura moved from Win­nipeg to Santa Fe, where she quickly be­came in­volved in the lo­cal the­ater com­mu­nity as a di­rec­tor, ac­tor, and cos­tumer. She used to teach act­ing to high school stu­dents to whom she of­ten as­signed open-di­a­logue ex­er­cises. “The stu­dents, as they played the scene, had to tell me who they were, where they were, and why they were say­ing what they were say­ing. One pair would come back in, and it was clear that it was a guy who had made a girl preg­nant. Some­body else would come in and do the ex­act same lines, and it was su­per clear that this was a mother and a fa­ther dis­cussing their child,” she said.

a well-crafted ex­ten­sion of this struc­ture, fea­tures an an­chor­ing scene that re­peats four times through­out the piece, each time uti­liz­ing a dif­fer­ent com­bi­na­tion of ac­tors. Some­times the cou­ple in­volved is het­ero­sex­ual, some­times same sex; in other ver­sions, the power bal­ance changes be­cause of an age dif­fer­ence. There are also stand-alone scenes, mono­logues, and a cou­ple of linked nar­ra­tives in the play. I Not all scenes lack con­text, and de­spite the some­what aca­demic ori­gins of the script, the con­struc­tion and lay­er­ing of the vi­gnettes is play­ful rather than con­fus­ing.

Most of the sit­u­a­tions come from let­ters to “Miss Lone­ly­hearts,” an ad­vice col­umn in the

Pura was trans­fixed by the tale of a cou­ple who had been hav­ing an af­fair for 20 years — un­til the woman met a man for whom she wanted to leave her hus­band her lover. In ver­sion of this re­la­tion­ship, Pura plays Brenda and Hamilton Turner is Blair, the jeal­ous boyfriend. The other ac­tors are Amanda Cazares and Tyler Nunez. In one of their scenes to­gether, Cazares plays Melissa, who finds out that her boyfriend, Brad, is see­ing other girls. But, as we soon dis­cover, Melissa and Brad are made for each other, as are many of the other cou­ples.

The sce­nar­ios can be shock­ing, rife with sex­ual ten­sion, while oth­ers are sim­ple and heart­break­ingly fa­mil­iar. A fa­ther flirts in­ap­pro­pri­ately with a young wait­ress while out to din­ner with his son; a teenage girl cries to her par­ents af­ter her boyfriend comes out of the closet; a young re­cep­tion­ist is of­fended by her boss’s fla­grant af­fairs; an older woman’s af­fec­tion for her son-in-law makes for some blurry bound­aries. Of­ten, just as you think you know who the vil­lain is, Pura makes things more com­pli­cated. “Any­one is ca­pa­ble of be­hav­ing badly,” she said. “It’s been so much fun for the ac­tors to em­brace all these per­son­al­i­ties. I think some peo­ple watch­ing will find a lot of this funny, but some peo­ple will think it’s sad.”

treads into some pre­car­i­ous and touchy emo­tional ter­ri­tory; it’s pos­si­ble the play may rip the scabs from any slow-heal­ing love wounds in the au­di­ence. It is not, how­ever, an is­sue play or at all po­lit­i­cal. (Don­ald Trump’s name comes up once, but Pura wrote this sec­tion a few years be­fore he ran for pres­i­dent.) Her goal was to write about the hu­man con­di­tion and the end­less search for love, which is never per­fect but ex­ists as an ideal. Some of her char­ac­ters are just wait­ing for the next best thing to come along, bid­ing their time, while oth­ers are so be­sot­ted that they be­lieve they’re the first and only per­son to ever feel any­thing so deeply. In one mono­logue, de­liv­ered by Nunez, a young man named Sam crows about his new­found love to his friend’s voice­mail.

“She is ab­so­lutely, to­tally, the best thing that has ever hap­pened to me. No ex­cep­tions!” he says. “I mean, when was the last time you felt as great as I do right now? Never, right?” Sam is smit­ten but rid­dled with anx­i­ety. He cy­cles through a num­ber of emo­tions and states of con­fi­dence as he talks. “Is it nor­mal to be freaked out about be­ing too happy? Why can’t I just re­lax and en­joy it? How much time has to pass un­til I feel like I’m wor­thy of all the love she gives me? When do I get to just en­joy this love I have for her?” In a play full of peo­ple who of­ten treat each other badly, Sam is a hope­ful in­no­cent, rid­ing the wave of in­fat­u­a­tion but aim­ing for calmer wa­ters ahead — if only he can re­sist the other char­ac­ters’ im­pulses to­ward ro­man­tic self-sab­o­tage. ▼ ▼

▼ ▼

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.