Playing the game of love

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Lovepuke cast members in rehearsal. Photo: Amy Johnstone

SEX. Argument. Argument. Make up. Sex. Argument. Argument. Love.

It isn’t pretty, it isn’t easy and it isn’t always fun. And it’s all laid bare in the classic New Zealand play Lovepuke, at Repertory House, Invercargill, which is being performed this week.

Written by Duncan Sarkies, author of Two Little Boys, and directed by Victoria Mills, Lovepuke is a quick-witted, high-energy play about intimate relationships – how they come to be, how they evolve and how they fall apart.

Mills said she first came across the play in 1998 when she was cast as Hermione in a production directed by Bryan Aitken.

“What really captivated me about Duncan’s piece was its energy, intriguing use of language and the mixture of different theatrical styles that often get used in the same scene.”

A local, young and energetic cast had embraced the challenge, she said.

The audience watches, empathises and laughs as eight characters bounce their way through burgeoning affairs.

“The cast has been so awesome. It’s a play that forces the performer to focus their performance in a way that not many other plays do. Because the play is quite short, they have to work efficiently to create and convey their character.”

Written in 1993, Lovepuke is still extraordinarily relevant more than 20 years later. Some of the technology may have changed, but the chaos that was an evolving relationship never would, Mills said.

“We’ve made a couple of discreet changes to bring Lovepuke into the 21st century but, in reality, the essence of the story is always going to be true; people are always going to have relationships with other people. Some of them will end badly, some of them won’t.”

One thing is certain; the audience is in for a wild, no-holds-barred ride.

“Rather than a long, languid symphony with its distinct phrases and themes, beginning middle and ending, Lovepukeis a punk race horse; quick out of the blocks and best you hold on.”

The play is being presented by Repertory Invercargill as part of the Southland Festival of the Arts.

Lovepuke, Repertory House, cnr Jed and Esk Sts. Performances tonight, tomorrow and Saturday, 7.30pm. Book at TicketDirect.

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