Gryphon Theatre, 22 Ghuznee Street, Wellington

07/06/2017 - 10/06/2017

Production Details

… it’s not what you think 

From the moment the two lovers take to the stage, there is an expectation that this won’t be a predictable tale about love.  

From the newly established troupe, Midsummer Night Players, comes this raw and unconventional take on the traditional boy meets girl story, called Some Kind of Love.

Written and directed by Philadelphia-born Emanuel E. Garcia, the now New Zealand-based poet, novelist and playwright, the play runs for seven shows at the Gryphon Theatre.

From June 1-3 and June 7-10, the small but intimate cast of just two take the audience on a relationship rollercoaster spanning infatuation, excitement, passion, love but also anger, fear, mistrust, even violence … and then if not friendship, at least acceptance.

Mr Garcia says the play explores the journey of emotion and experience on a universal level that is deeply evocative.

“The story, in its very essence, escapes conventional categories; employing dance, song, acting and live music.

“These opposite poles of light and darkness weave through the play and never quite allow the spectator to settle into a ‘comfort zone’ until, perhaps, the end.”

The ‘Woman’ is played by Julia Maria Seemann, who loves uniting various modes of artistic expression: dance, music and drama.

Her more recent work involved composing music and dancing for a Butterfly Creek Theatre production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

As one of the founding members of Midsummer Night Players, she is dedicated to bringing theatre to our region that is daring, adventurous and vibrant, from playwrights around the world.

Scott Ransom, the ‘Man’, is a Wellington-based performance artist who enjoyed success with such theatre works as the sell-out 2014 and 2013 seasons of A Tempest off Matiu/Somes Island and the 2011 Fringe Festival season of Quarantine.

He also featured in the award winning 2010 Fringe Festival season of Back/Words, and the sell-out performances in the 2009 Fringe Festival session of Frogs Under the Waterfront.

Gryphon Theatre
1-3 and 7-10 June 2017
Tickets can be purchased on Event Finda

Julia Maria Seemann:  Woman
Scott Ransom:  Man
Caitlin Morris:  Chorus

Stephen Riddell:  Sound Design
Aaron Blackledge:  Lighting Design

Theatre ,

Takes itself too seriously?

Review by John Smythe 08th Jun 2017

Billed as an “unconventional take on the traditional boy meets girl story”, Some Kind of Love is said by its writer and director, Emanuel E Garcia, to “explore the journey of emotion and experience on a universal level that is deeply evocative”.

The claim that it “escapes conventional categories” by employing “dance, poetry, soundscapes, creative lighting, original music and drama” is a bit odd, given most musicals blend those skills (where poetry = lyrics). Some Kind of Love is not a conventional musical, however. 

Lighting Designer Aaron Blackledge’s shafts of coloured light adorn the hazed bare black stage in the preset, and the lighting effectively creates many mood-changes throughout. Similarly Stephen Riddell’s sound design – mostly abstract, eerie and portentous – suggests subjective inner feelings.

It is such a soundscape that accompanies the three dance sequences that open the show, delivered introspectively by Julia Maria Seemann, who plays ‘Woman’. This may be seen as a ‘dumb show’ prologue, abstractly summarising what we are about to see. Or maybe it depicts her backstory, before she meets ‘Man’ (Scott Ransom).

The programme note does warn us the “journey through the lives of two lovers in a series of nine evocative scenes [will] convey the spectrum of a passion that is as mysterious as it is unpredictable.” So while we compulsively seek meaning, it’s as well to suspend analysis and judgement.

The scenes may not be linear. Woman and Man first come together (on stage) when she plays a small harmonium, he reads her a poem about being at a loss with her, then she sings of things that are private between them and asks him not her leave her now, but “take the next step”.

Recorded cello music blends seamlessly into live cello, played by cellist Caitlin Morris, to which the couple dance, hands not quite touching … and the cello augments the drama throughout.

The scenes that follow suggest the Man has smothering mother issues and is now a dominating controller type whose flipside tenderness may also be seen as a controlling device. Her range of responses seem to include compliance, nagging, misery, wearing sexy underwear – and practising seductive postures while he plays the alpha-male money lender, on the phone to clients he despises.

There is a recurring image of imminent parting, as a ship’s horn sounds. There is a petty point-scoring, blame-assigning squabble. Voice-overs haunt them with things they have said or thought, and a woman’s voice (the mother?) sows debilitating seeds of self-doubt.

Conversely, the Woman and the Man – suitably dressed for his New Age phase – articulate extraordinarily idealistic notions of how love and abundance once permeated vibrant and free life in a utopian paradise that has only ever existed in fables. Or in a carefree childhood, perhaps, where the necessities of life are taken for granted. Either way, they seem to want to rediscover that state.

At points like this I have difficulty discerning whether the playwright and actors really do take it all as seriously as they seem to be, or are they quietly ‘taking the piss’. Her earlier torment in drenching rain has rung very true. His later rant about wars, the slaughter of innocents on the altar of greed, not to mention threats to our privacy and the warping of language, are clearly sincere.

My capacity to immerse myself in Some Kind of Love’s abstractions of subjective realities become somewhat undermined when I realise the cello music, which has been appropriately melodic and discordant in keeping with the action, has become a time-filler while the actors change costumes in the wings. Pace thus flags when it should be building to revelation and resolution.

The ship’s horn sounds once more as he declares he’s “gone for broke” – which I take to indicate he is still the dominant partner, imposing his solution rather than negotiating one. He also leads the extolling of a new beginning with more (warped?) New Age idealism and she complies. Indeed the director has them literally skip-dance their joy as birds tweet …

While I recognise many home-truths identifying how and why would-be lovers subvert their relationships, I cannot say I discern much insightful wisdom in the way Some Kind of Love is dramatised. The earnest actors devote themselves wholeheartedly to the writer-director’s vision, fully supported by the music and design elements. But I yearn for a touch of humour – Sondheim-style, perhaps, if that’s not too ‘conventional’ – to alert us to our all too human foibles and desires.

Does it take itself too seriously? As always it’s a question of taste. 


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