Anna Mahtani and Mark Smith respond to This Is A Love Song
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This Is A Love Song is the perfect indie rom-com; simple structure with vivid characters, plenty of highs and lows, and a killer soundtrack. But do the songs add to or detract from the play itself; are they simply a gimmick, or essential to the art?
More of a film trope than theatre, songs resonate with people so well they risk speaking to the universe, without really saying anything at all. At times, tunes become shorthand for genuine emotion; and the real tear-jerkers were when the soundtrack took a back seat. A good playlist plasters up any flaws in the story, but without them can it still stand? Some scenes felt like simply a build up to the next great song. When the song ends, you expect the emotion to end with it, and with so many perfect endings, the real ending loses what could have made it so powerful.
In one particular interlude, however, exterior shots flutter by, underscored by Adrianne Lenker’s ‘anything.’ This moment conveys quiet introspection. We become privy to the characters’ surroundings, a poignant pause for breath amidst the complex drama of the piece. Lenker’s song exquisitely encapsulates the characters’ frustrations: “I don’t wanna talk about anything / I wanna kiss, kiss your eyes again,” she coos, embodying the protagonists’ urgency to forget their impending doom, to trade it for intimate moments even if they are fleeting. As their world crumbles, cracking around them, this track reminds us comfort can still be found in the darkest crevice.
Tiny Change Theatre have soundtracked their piece well: an assortment of apocalyptic indie-rock bangers that, while aligning with their premise and reinforcing certain moods, hold the potential to diminish the central conceit that these characters are confronting a matter of life and death. The end is here; the end is here.
This Is A Love Song writer Mark Fenton's Spotify Playlist: