What’s most absurd about Murray Schisgal’s LUV? That it’s not been done before now

In Audio, Features, Interviews, London theatre, Opinion, Plays, Special Events, Ticket recommendations by Terri PaddockLeave a Comment

What’s most absurd about absurdist comedy LUV? That it’s virtually unknown in this country – despite an incredible pedigree.

Long before he wrote the screenplay for the hit 1982 film Tootsie starring Dustin Hoffman, American Murray Schisgal made a name for himself in New York with this 1964 stage play, which is a riotous celebration of the lengths we go to when struck down with the affliction known as ‘love’.

The original production was directed by Mike Nichols, starred Alan Arkin and Eli Wallach as old schoolfriends Harry and Milt, who, after 15 years, unexpectedly reunite on a bridge from which one of them is contemplating throwing himself off, and Anne Jackson as the sometime wife to both. The play went on to win several Tony Awards, including Best Play, ran for nearly two-and-a-half years on Broadway (with Gene Wilder later joining the cast as suicidal Harry) and was made into a 1967 film starring Jack Lemmon, Peter Falk and Elaine May.

But despite these successes, and also having had a preview run at London’s Arts Theatre ahead of its premiere in New York, it’s only now that LUV receives its first major UK production, care of Buckland Theatre Company in this limited season, running until 7 January 2017 at the Park Theatre.

Why has the play been so neglected in this country? How did European absurdists influence Schisgal’s writing? And how did New York? (Imagine Neil Simon and Mel Brooks spawned Beckett and Ionesco…) What references to other plays (including Waiting for Godot) are there in LUV? Why is it the word ‘love’ misspelt in the title (or is it misspelt?)? And what’s next for Buckland Theatre?

After last night’s performance (14 December 2016), I was joined by director Gary Condes and the three-strong cast – Nick Barber, Elsie Bennett and Buckland founder, Charles Dorfman – to learn the answers to these and many other questions. Have a listen to the unedited podcast below.

Q&A photos by Peter Jones, production photography by The Other Richard. And great live-tweeting from Laura Thomson @BucklandTheatre and my fellow MyTheatreMates blogger Daniel Perks (@dperks13).

LUV continues at London’s Park Theatre until 7 January 2017.

Interval video

Interval video @ParkTheatre with director @GaryCondes on the #LUV set! Follow @BucklandTheatre for live Q&A tweets later. Absurdist fun ❤️ pic.twitter.com/bDKS36v22v

— Terri Paddock (@TerriPaddock) December 15, 2016

Podcast

Q&a photos
Click to view slideshow.

Show photos

Live-tweeting

LUV Q&A – Curated tweets by MyTheatreMates

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Terri Paddock
Terri Paddock runs the Terri Paddock Group, which provides content and social media marketing services for theatre clients across channels including MyTheatreMates.com, StageFaves.com, Stage Talk and TerriPaddock.com. Previously,
Terri Paddock founded WhatsOnStage.com and the WhatsOnStage Awards, running the company and its events from 1996 to 2013. Terri is also the author of two novels, Come Clean and Beware the Dwarfs, and has previously written for the Evening Standard, Independent, The Times and other national publications. She is renowed for her 'legendary' post-show Q&As and also produces the annual Critics' Circle Theatre Awards and acts as a digital, content strategy and event consultant for theatre, producers and other clients. She tweets about theatre at @TerriPaddock.
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Terri Paddock on FacebookTerri Paddock on InstagramTerri Paddock on LinkedinTerri Paddock on TwitterTerri Paddock on Youtube
Terri Paddock
Terri Paddock runs the Terri Paddock Group, which provides content and social media marketing services for theatre clients across channels including MyTheatreMates.com, StageFaves.com, Stage Talk and TerriPaddock.com. Previously,
Terri Paddock founded WhatsOnStage.com and the WhatsOnStage Awards, running the company and its events from 1996 to 2013. Terri is also the author of two novels, Come Clean and Beware the Dwarfs, and has previously written for the Evening Standard, Independent, The Times and other national publications. She is renowed for her 'legendary' post-show Q&As and also produces the annual Critics' Circle Theatre Awards and acts as a digital, content strategy and event consultant for theatre, producers and other clients. She tweets about theatre at @TerriPaddock.

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