'Love/Sick': The tragedy and comedy of relationships
From its innocent, bewildered beginning, to its gradual plateau, and the grief and relief of its end, Love/Sick, Upstart Productions’ current performance, takes its audience through the extremes and nuances of relationships.
A romantic comedy by Tony Award-nominated John Cariani, the play is composed of 9 narratives, each featuring a couple faced with a conflict that is, at times, so mundane it’s almost painfully relatable.
“The lifespan of a relationship”
Love/Sick’s cast features Noel Rayos, Teenee Chan, Bibo Reyes, Mica Pineda, composer Onyl Torres, assistant director Nicky Triviño, producer Rachel Alejandro, and director Joel Trinidad. They portray characters each with his and her own struggle with being half of a could be/ex-/couple, at different moments in a relationship’s lifespan.
The portrayals are, at the right moments, laugh-out-loud comedic, pensive, and passionate. The chemistry between each character in each scene is seamless, tension-filled and strained when the story calls for it, and touching in the more tender moments.
Each vignette, while distinct in narrative, are all interconnected. It is fearless in its realism, treading into the themes of cheating, divorce, uncertainty, and – in its most uncomfortably real – settling.
The stories’ themes vary from literal conflicts such as a couple disagreeing on whether or not to have a baby, to clever metaphors for the components of love and its disintegration.
Reyes and Pineda portray the pain in "Lunch and Dinner," where hunger stands for one couple’s lack of excitement in their sex life.
In "But," one man’s difficulty in expressing feelings manifested in a physical illness, brought to life with a hilariously animated performance from Rayos.
"Obsessive Impulsive" (not to be confused with obsessive compulsive, as in the disorder) mirrors the recklessness and confusion of succumbing to love at first sight, with Reyes and Chan amply portraying this moment’s panic and, at the same time, delight.
Love/Sick is written thoughtfully, such that the final vignette, featuring an ex-husband and ex-wife, functions as a synthesis. “Cariani explains it in his script that the last [scene] has elements of the first scene to the last,” says cast member Pineda, who brought the script to the group. “It’s basically the lifespan of a relationship, so every single problem that you find in the other vignettes contribute to the last one, to the reasons why relationships end.”
“It’s like a mirror”
What makes the play such a satisfying viewing experience is, in addition to the capable acting, its relatability. “It’s like a mirror,” says producer and cast member Rachel Alejandro.
“It speaks to everybody. Everybody’s felt that at some point,” cast member and director Joel Trinidad says of the play. “I think that you will see yourself in this show somewhere, for sure. If you see someone [in the scene] going through problems that you might be going through, you can see where you don’t want to end up, or where you do want to end up.”
True enough, the effective performances and clever storylines draw nervous laughter from the audience in moments of discomfort and conflict, and guffaws in exaggerated iterations. “I think that it’s both funny where it needs to be and sad where it needs to be, just like relationships,” says Trinidad.
So does the company recommend couples watch it? Trinidad jests after their press preview performance, “If you watch a play and [it causes] you [to] break up, I think you were going to break up anyway.”
While the play does reflect many of the struggles of being in a relationship, it does so with a light touch, bringing to the forefront the excitement and, while imperfect, joy that comes with it as well.
If you’re in for a bit of introspection, a few awkward laughs and some heartstring-tugging moments, or just a good time, watching Love/Sick proves to be a worthwhile weekend idea. – Rappler.com
The Mind Museum presents John Cariani’s Love/Sick, directed by Joel Trinidad. August 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, and 20 (Fridays at 9 pm, Saturdays and Sundays at 8 pm) at the Mind Museum Auditorium, J.Y. Campos Park, 3rd Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. Tickets at P500 each. For ticket and show buying information, contact Upstart Productions at 09178116156 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Love/Sick is presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc., New York.
Nicole Reyes is a marketing professional whose life revolves around yoga, good food, and coffee.