How do you wipe tears away when your eyes are dry? I Want to Know What Love Is by The Goodroom is such a celebratory piece about romantic love there’s no reason to cry during it, despite running the gamut on everything known humanly possible when it comes to love. It has its ups and downs in terms of mood, and the many weird phases that love has, but if anyone that chalks it up to be a mere ‘hour of entertainment’ they're wrong. Unless you have no emotions, but then I'm also not sure you'd call it entertainment.
Can we start by immediately establishing how accessible the piece is? How great is it that everyone is going to look at this show through a different view? Some people having been in love for a long time, some just starting out, some ending. Work like this is essential because it's accessible for everyone. Everyone, not just the usual 40something crowd that come to theatre with their dinner jackets and their diamond monicals. Literally everyone - love is like a universal desire, and the fact that it's been jammed into a 60 minute theatre piece is a feat in itself.
Look, me writing is pretty personal and more of a reason to vent than reflect on what a terrific show this is. The last time I saw this production was during the original incarnation during Brisbane Festival 2014. I was with my ex-boyfriend at the time, and unknown to me, we were on the cusp of breaking up. He broke it to me pretty soon after that he just wasn't feeling it so we had about two months later. We got back together but the same problem of not wanting to be tied down reared its head again, so this time I around I saw it without him, but he was in the same room seeing it with someone else. So, this time it's going through my first big breakup and I'm far more compelled to write about it now. Just a disclaimer. And also an update, if you used to read this blog for the personal updates (which I have since REMOVED).
The structure of the show itself mirrors an ending relationship. There is actually the finale at the start - an, exuberant ineffable joy and declaration that live is alive and real. It is then yanked off stage by lost, moving through grief, coping, acceptance and then the unknown future. The four actors are just terrific and are extremely versatile, moving between vignettes and moments of over 800 real-life submissions on what people perceive what love is. It seems so simple but it's utterly genius. How has this not been done before (*prior to 2014) and how has the world not seen this show yet? Hopefully it will.
Right now, when I think about my ex my blood boils to the point where if you slit my throat open, you would be thrown on your back and your flesh would burn off (I think I'm in the coping faze?). It’s amusing to be reminded that pain, joy and sorrow felt while you’re in ‘love’ (and post) aren’t unique. You’re not special or particularly interesting, and what I really like about this show is that the reassurance that seems to echo everyone's life. We all go through your friends/parents/colleagues saying “We all hated him/her”, “You can do better”, “I’m hotter anyway”. Then also the promises you make in the ENDLESS conversations that you're obliged to have about it with everyone. "I'm fine" "I've got space for me" "Everything is going okay". I've never seen a show packed with so much emotional truth within the text because these are ACTUAL human reactions. I can't comment on the actors experience with love but some seem to grasp it a little better than others - but that's not even a flaw, since the nature of the piece is that perceptions of love are organic and change over time. Lovely.
I suppose I'll be pretty much the only one to point out the design of the show is just gorgeous. Kieran Swan has created this luscious Garden of Eden battle arena where thousands of petals descend the stage admits a forest of pull-down banners of posters which echo different sentiments of love. Lawrence English is an absolute revelation and is too good for Brisbane'd sound design community for theatre - probably why we only get to see works from him like one a year. The music of appropriately thunderous or soft whenever it's needed and it really assists in helping out where you stand on a certain viewpoint of love. I've said it like a thousand times for all the thousands of shows that Jason Glenright has lit, but you couldn't ask for more appropriate and seamless lighting. Chumps will cluck their tongues and complain about lighting states being reused all over the place, but there's only so many types of lights in one rig. It's a marvellous marriage of elements and nothing could've been done better.
The piece is really important since its smoulders with truth and such emotional honesty. The feeling of community that you feel watching the piece - the comfort that people have been where you are, or have been, or even where you're going to be. It's at once therapeutic, exciting and sad, but overwhelmingly celebratory.
I really wanted to buy a ticket and just throw it into the wilderness so someone could enjoy that but for some fucking reason I went to CANBERRA - THE CITY OF DREAMS last weekend so I literally don't have enough to buy one. So, in my failure of that, I'd recommend make the effort to clear your calendar (probably don’t set someone up and dump them within the same sentence - that would make you a massive cunt - also, what is the point?), and try to get along to see I Want to Know What Love Is. It finishes this Saturday and then who knows when you'll be able to catch it next? When you're next in LOVE? HAHAHAHAHAHA.
Tickets for The Good Room's I Want to Know What Love Is are $33 - $39 (not including Booking Fee), and is showing at Brisbane Powerhouse until 19 December. Duration of approximately 1 hour. Book by visiting Brisbane Powerhouse's website.