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Loveplay  

A titillating history of romance, lust, and their myriad meanings

Wednesday, Mar 8 2006
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Have you ever been in your apartment and wondered about all the debauched couplings that must have transpired there before you moved in? Perhaps playwright Moira Buffini pondered this idea before creating Loveplay, which details the love and sex acts that take place in one London location over 2,000 years. As time passes, this spot -- which begins as an empty field in A.D. 79 -- evolves into an abbey, then a stately home, a bohemian studio, a brothel, and finally a modern-day video-dating agency. In TheatreFirst's delightful production, random events link up in terms of theme and location but not necessarily in terms of style and substance. The first, Monty Python-esque interaction -- involving an ignorant prostitute who doesn't comprehend money and hilariously demands a chicken for compensation -- is shockingly followed by a bloody rape in the woods, which is in turn trailed by a bit about a man who has died while posing as a nun; such juxtapositions illustrate the beguiling randomness of time, yet underscore how every action haunts a place. Though Buffini hasn't added up these scenes into some brilliant hypothesis about, say, the evolution of carnal love and its consequences, the joyful cast (headed by the very funny and malleable Noah James Butler) still tells a titillating history of romance, lust, and their myriad meanings, depending on historical context. And that's much more fun than a dusty old textbook.

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Nathaniel Eaton

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