I couldn’t be happier to be giving Love, Love, Love its American premiere on Septemeber 22, 2016. To my mind, Mike Bartlett is one of the most exciting young playwrights to come on the scene in the last several years. He had a well-deserved Broadway debut last season with his modern (yet Shakespearean) take on the future of the British monarchy, King Charles III. The sense of adventure and originality in that piece is exactly what makes Mike such a thrilling talent. Veering far from the tradition of polite British drawing room plays, Mike instead seems to be closer to the bold energy of the “angry young men” who came out of the Royal Court Theatre in the 1960s. His plays vibrate with their depth of feeling, whether that feeling is rage, lust, envy, or a desperate need to be understood.
It’s perhaps fitting that Mike has a bit of that ‘60s sensibility, as 1967 marks the beginning of the story for Love, Love, Love. The play travels far from there, but Mike uses that particular moment to examine the seeds planted by a generation that came of age in a time of free love. How would the choices they made affect both them and all those who came after?
As a late-era Baby Boomer myself, I certainly have my own feelings about the questions that Mike is bringing up in this play, and Mike as a Gen X-er has his own strong take on the issues. What the play does so brilliantly is to force a conversation between those perspectives. In fact, this very idea led to perhaps the most memorable first rehearsal that we’ve ever had at Roundabout. Our wonderful, Tony-winning director, Michael Mayer, separated this room full of cast, crew, designers, and staff into sections by generation, encouraging us to each come up with the essential characteristics of our own eras. The discussion was utterly fascinating, with topics ranging from changing family size to divorce rates to comfort with technology to financial security or lack thereof. We all went in knowing the stereotypes of each group, but in forcing ourselves to dig deep, we came away with an understanding more complicated than the standard buzzwords of “free love” or “yuppies” or “those privileged Millennials.”
It’s this teasing out of provocative questions from the everyday that Mike does so singularly, and he does so with fantastic humor and wrenching emotion. With a first rehearsal that I will never forget, I can only imagine how memorable this production itself can be. I hope that you are as thrilled by this new play as I am. I can’t wait to hear your reactions to it, so please continue to email me throughout this 50th Anniversary season at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can’t tell you how greatly I value your feedback.
I look forward to seeing you at the theatre!
2016-2017 Season, Love Love Love