By Will Detlefsen
Love is everything that ever mattered yesterday, matters today, or will matter tomorrow.
Love is what separates us from the machines.
(Except—there’s that damn Pixar movie Wall-E, which complicates this idea.)
Um, aside: Listen, I don’t want to get into Wall-E right now. It’s a longer conversation about why I hate that movie and that’s not really what I’m interested in writing about.
I will now have a biased conversation between myself and an Imaginary Confrontational Person, or an ICP:
ICP: What’s your play about?
ICP: Okay, sure, but what’s it really about?
Me: It’s about love.
ICP: What happens in the play?
Me: (Sigh-uh). Some aliens crash into Disneyland, these two old people go streaking, two boys go out on a date and search for the edge of the earth, an airplane transforms into Space Mountain, and it snows in Los Angeles. But it’s about love.
In my studio classes I keep hearing that “Love is a topic. Love isn’t a theme.”
But if theme is “a subject of discourse, discussion, meditation, or composition; a unifying or dominant idea or motif” (thank you dictionary.com), then why isn’t Love a theme?
It’s always a subject of discourse in one form or another. It always comes up, people! Just listen to music. I don’t think songwriters are using it because it rhymes with so many great words. (Case in point: of, dove, .gov, above, cov(et)).
When I meditate (which is 1-2 times every 5-21 years), it usually leads me to thinking about love. I can’t be the only one.
It is the dominating motif in every story ever told.
Yes, every story ever told. Yes, I’m going to use extremely broad, sweeping statements. And yes, I’m going to use words like “everyone” and “always” because I can. This is, after all, a conversation with myself. A meditation, if you will. Hmmm, maybe I meditate more often than I thought.
The point is …
I hate when people say, “the point is…”
I always think, “If you’re just now getting to the point, what have you been blabbering on about all this time? Why didn’t you just start with the point?”
Question: What if a play started with “The Point”?
Answer: It’d be a 12-second play most likely written by Samuel Beckett, called Point.
Where was I?
(Tangents, parentheticals, and free-associations are dangerous temptations when writing. (It makes it seem like the person writing has no idea what he or she is talking about. (In this case, ‘he,’ because I’m a boy.)))
Look, I know what I’m talking about.
That’s a lie.
I know what I’m trying to talk about.
Ugh, I hate when people say it like it’s an entire sentence: “Love.” Love period. It’s pretentious. Titles with parentheses in them are also pretentious. I’m sorry I just did it. I wonder why I just don’t delete it? I’m sorry for not deleting it, but it makes the title seem more important.
People don’t stay together these days. Things don’t last. Time moves too fast now. If we can’t hang onto a cell phone for longer than five years, how can we possibly hold onto a single person? What’s a promise, anyway? It’s just a thing you say in the moment. You can’t know that you’re going to hold onto the promise in fifty years. You might be a completely different person in fifty years. You might be dead in fifty years. But then, you might be dead tomorrow. Bum bum bummmm. If you’re looking for a depressing movie about dying and why it sucks, watch Never Let Me Go.
Is it logical to tell someone that you’ll love him or her forever? What have I loved forever? Nothing. I haven’t loved anything that long. Except maybe chocolate. I’ve loved chocolate longer than anything else in my life. I should marry chocolate. Try making that shit legal!
And now, another biased conversation between myself and the same Imaginary Confrontational Person (ICP) from earlier:
ICP: What do you know to be true?
Me: I know love is real.
ICP: You do?
Me: Yes. I know it. It’s real, and it’s really all that matters.
ICP: But how do you know.
Me: I just do.
ICP: But how?
Me: I’ve decided it.
ICP: What if someone else decides it’s not real.
It’s real because I say it’s real, damn it. I feel it.
It’s my family.
It’s Wall-E, too.
It’s not words.
It’s something more magical.
More magical than the happiest place on earth.
More magical than Harry Potter.
More magical than Harry Potter Land!
It’s the color we can’t see.
It’s spelled with letters we don’t have.
It’s a sense we possess no scientist will ever understand.
It’s paradise after the apocalypse.
It’s utopia’s utopia.
I know it.
Why do you ask?
ICP: I ask impossible questions because it’s impossible not to.
ICP: Why is the sky blue?
Me: Are you sure it’s blue?
ICP: Are you sure it’s sky?
Me: How do we know it’s sky?
ICP: Why are we here?
Me: Why do we exist?
ICP: How do we know love is real?
I think theatre can and must deal with love. It’s way more than a topic.