Play gives new life to expressions
Do you really mean ‘I love you' every time you say it?
The definition of tired expressions like these are being explored in Speaking in Tongues at the Herald Theatre.
Described as a ‘theatrical Rubik's Cube' it delves into dialogue that gets lost in translation between couples.
Actor Stephen Lovatt says the characters are trying to communicate with one another but finding it hard because overused expressions can lose their meaning.
"It's about the difficulty of really grasping what it is when we say ‘I love you' or when we say ‘I don't love you'. What does it mean when I hate you? Does it mean you want to kill me?"
The Titirangi resident's most disliked expressions include ‘at the end of the day' and ‘in all fairness'.
"And ‘you're a liar'. What does that even mean? At some point we're all liars. We say these things all the time but they've become meaningless."
Written by Andrew Bovell, Speaking in Tongues was turned into feature film Lantana in 2001 and went on to win 34 international awards.
Mr Bovell is a true wordsmith who has a way of crafting a script with several layers of meaning, Mr Lovatt says.
It's rare for a person to be able to communicate what they really mean so succinctly, he says.
"He's writing characters who are struggling to use language to convey even the simplest idea but he understands the rhythm of the character. He's empathetic, he's human and he has a lot of great stories to tell."
The play doesn't follow a traditional linear pattern so as the drama progresses in a three-act format audiences will have to connect the dots between seemingly unrelated characters or stories.
But don't expect a stereotypical big reveal at the end.
"The weave of those three acts is so dense that after three and a half weeks of rehearsals I'm still not sure how it comes together," Mr Lovatt says.
Speaking in Tongues is playing at the Herald Theatre from now until September 14.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Do you wear a lifejacket when you are on the water - no matter what vessel you are in?