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Making Coffee Art

Coffee Art

Be careful who you make memories with.

Those things can last a lifetime.

– Ugo Eze


I’ve always had a love for cafes and memories, this play is about both. After talking to my mentor, Alicia Talbot, I was encouraged to create work by solving an image that had a hold on me. The image I had in mind was watching the past play out in a coffee shop. Sounds mundane at first, but the more I dug beneath the surface, the more I realised what the core concept was behind this image. Focusing on the image made me feel intense bittersweet emotions; this image was about missing something that was irretrievable and the power of nostalgia over our conception of reality.

The next step was writing intuitively. I wanted to overlap two contrasting time periods to create a  poignant theatrical effect. I’m working with a terrific director, Christie Hershalaus, and four brilliant actors, Dominique De Marco, David Molloy, Brett Johnon and Pippa Ellams. Their insight and questions are invaluable. They bring to light many other surprising and interesting angles to my work and point out important blindspots in my process. I also learned so much from watching them tear into the script and admired the way they played with it in so many different ways.

Another piece of advice from Alicia that I’ve been pondering is about listening to criticism and feedback reflexively and productively. I’m still trying to work out how best to do this tomorrow at the preliminary showing. I will be presenting my synopsis and the first scene of the play in a theatre round to experiment with the possibility of making the work site specific.

If you’d like to know more about my piece, please see the synopsis below:

Olive and Wren would rather live a few amazing moments of passion instead of a lifetime of complacency and comfort. Their epic, head over heels romance leads to tattoos and movie-like gestures that become a matchless display of true love. However, preempting that once their relationship normalizes it would deteriorate in excitement, Olive prematurely ends the relationship. She would rather preserve the beautiful, surreal memories they’ve made together than watch it become tainted by the drudgery of reality and day-to-day mediocrity.

Years later, Wren still finds himself frequently indulging in his memories of Olive, which he embraces as the golden glimmer of nostalgia. Olive becomes more than a person, she embodies passion, destiny and the feeling of being alive. Wren believes their love is transcendent because neither time nor distance will diminish his memories of her. Meanwhile, his relationship with his current girlfriend Livia suffers because his ceaseless pursuit of the past perpetuates unhappiness with the present moment. He is faced with the choice of either becoming a more content, moderate and balanced person or risking the loss of the extreme emotions that makes his life feel extraordinary. In order to free himself from his intoxicating obsession with the past, he needs to face his fear of living an ordinary, mundane life without the passion and intensity of a grand destiny, even though he feels his past with Olive was the ultimate expression of his highest self.

The play has a non-linear structure. It layers and interweaves moments from past and present to highlight the significance, immediacy and weight of Wren’s memories on his perceptions of the present.




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