2 min

Can’t help it!

Poking fun at found, and lost, love

Credit: Xtra West files

“I mean, really, what people go through for it can be ridiculous!” Conrad Alexandrowicz is talking about L-O-V-E, the focal point of his one-act urban gay comedy, The Erotic Curve of the Earth.

“All that exaggeration, the extravagance of emotion! My play sends up all the excesses of heartbreak. And I think that while it’s a serious topic, it can be very effectively addressed by means of comedy.”

Alexandrowicz’s play, a version of which premiered at Toronto’s Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in 2000, captures a handful of significant moments in the life of Stanley-a brainy and eccentric man who is rapidly approaching middle age. He has been abandoned by Roger, his lover of seven years, and is now having real difficulty managing all the ups and downs that come with being a bachelor once again.

Even with the aid of an acid-tongued Quebecois friend named Louis (not to mention help from otherworldly Finbar, the patron saint of break-ups), it’s clear that Stanley’s journey toward contentment is anything but assured. Still, Alexandrowicz explains that he’s tended toward comedy in all his work, and from that statement we might infer that Stanley might yet find his amorous nirvana.

Alexandrowicz is a Vancouver-based director, writer and choreographer best known for his acclaimed and widely produced play, The Wines of Tuscany. In addition to featuring the barbed remarks, tear-soaked episodes and laugh-out-loud set-ups that are the staples of romantic comedy, Alexandrowicz has incorporated lyrics from our society’s immense my-world-is-empty-without-you-babe pop love song archive.

But the play’s two actors speak the lyrics conversationally, and the songs are completely devoid of their normal musical accompaniment. Removing the emotional cadence and heart-swelling strings allows the audience to confront the lyrics, remarks Alexandrowicz. “Popular ideas about love are much more easily apprehended that way. We can have a dialogue with the words, think about the concepts seriously, even argue with and rebut them,” he explains.

The director has been in hectic rehearsal with his performers, Thomas Hunt and John Murphy, for three weeks. For the play’s run they’ll be holed up in The Odyssey nightclub. Seating about 100, the venue is intimate.

And it’s both apt and inspiring, Alexandrowicz says. After all, The Odyssey’s a place that usually exists to play the music that assists people with their ongoing quests for love, sex and fulfillment. What better venue at which to sit for an hour and quietly ponder the many faces of love?

* A BYOV (Bring Your Own Venue) Fringe event at The Odyssey, 1251 Howe St, Sep 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14. All performances are at 8 pm. Tickets: $9 at the door, or $11 in advance through Festival Box Office at 604.257.0366.