J is optimistic, bubbly. K is cynical, independent. But opposites attract… right?
A modern-day love story, of both comedy and tragedy, exposing the often universal pressures of the millennial generation
CREDIT: ALI WRIGHT
It’s odd to see something of yourself reflected back at you - but that’s what Lobster did for me. Not in its entirety, but certainly in terms of the depiction of meeting someone new, of being in your late twenties or early thirties, and of living in the capital. Although the characters portrayed are queer, white women - and millennials - the themes explored in it, namely when two people in a relationship ultimately want different things, will hit home for a lot people.
The play begins when characters, J (Alexandra Reynolds), and K (Louise Beresford), meet at a New Year’s Eve party for the first time since they split. Almost immediately after they meet, we're taken back in time to how the pair met, their first dates, and when they first told each other they loved each other.
Looking back over their relationship through a series of wonderfully executed flashbacks, Reynolds and Beresford seamlessly switch from addressing the audience directly, to re-enacting significant moments from the relationship (the “underwater tea party” scene was an audience fave) and both actors do so with ease, resulting in a convincing and authentic performance.
Left: K, played by Louise Beresford, and right: J, played by Alexandra Reynolds. Credit: Ali Wright.
"I met Kayla Feldman (Director) and Lucy Foster (Writer) while working with Encompass Productions for their new writing night Bare Essentials", Louise, who plays the independent and cynical K, tells DIVA.
"Lucy works with Encompass, and I was actually performing a short piece written by Kayla's equally talented friend Eli Keren, which is how Kayla was brought into the mix. Kayla then invited me to audition for Lobster and here we are!"
"My involvement in Lobster was actually due to a rather lucky coincidence", adds Alexandra (Alex). "Our brilliant director, Kayla, had performed at Herstory (a real tour-de-force of a festival curated by Nastazja Domaradzka) which I also performed in. And, about a month after meeting her, she invited me to audition for Lobster.
"I was beyond excited to be cast. Lucy’s writing is so authentic, so beautiful. Rarely do I read a script and think, 'I have to do this, I have to play this woman and tell this story'. And then you meet everyone involved, the whole team - assistant director, designers, producer and you think how am I in this room? How did I get so lucky, to be bringing this play to life with these people? Moments like this are rare but so wonderful."
"Lucy's writing is so beautiful", agrees Louise, "and the themes discussed are so close and important to me. I feel honoured to be able to tell this story."
Credit: Ali Wright.
I wonder what Louise and Alex hope audiences will take away from the play over the coming weeks. For Louise, Lobster is about the "joys, trials and tribulations of a relationship that is ultimately flawed".
"I think most people have experienced a past romance where you absolutely adore each other, or are even in love but for whatever reason it just doesn't work. Yes, this story follows a female, same-sex relationship, but I hope that everyone can relate to it in some way.
"Another hugely important theme is mental health and what it's like to live day to day with anxiety and depression, as well as how it can affect those around them who might not have much experience with it but are trying to understand. I hope it gives a voice for those who do suffer and gives further insight to those who don’t."
"Everyone’s just trying. Whoever you are, wherever you are", adds Alex.
"Love and humanity powerfully coincide in Lobster, and in the space of an hour and a half, you experience a roller-coaster journey of joy, pain, struggle, hope and passion. After one performance, I came downstairs and found myself talking to members of the audience, some in new relationships, some in marriages and others who are in the midst of the crazy dating world. I was moved to find that they all identified, and all saw elements of themselves, and of their relationships and experiences up there on the stage.
"The conversation wasn't about what they thought of ‘that cool bit in a scene’, it was a greater conversation. One about the hardships that befall us when trying to love someone and make a life with them. I hope we continue to engage with our audience in this way. If we do, then we will have done something right."
Only reading DIVA online? You're missing out. For more news, reviews and commentary, check out the latest issue. It's pretty badass, if we do say so ourselves.