Love Love Love

Love, Love, Love: Designer Statements

Posted on: December 10th, 2016 by Roundabout


Set models for three different acts of LOVE, LOVE, LOVE

Set models for three different acts of Love, Love, Love

The story of Love, Love, Love takes place in three different eras during three different acts.  It is partly about a generational war and deals very much with the time periods the characters are living in. The first act takes place in 1967, the second act is in 1990, and the third act is happening more or less now. When the play starts, you don’t necessarily know a lot about who the characters are -- so the set design has to create not only the living environments of these particular characters, but it also needs to give the audience a sense of when the action is happening and where. I have worked really hard on recreating the period details of each act.  For example, in the first act, which has the most pronounced difference in terms of current styles, people living in a flat in North London in the late 60s didn’t necessarily have central heating or hot water. I did a lot of research on the possible look of each setting by finding period photographs and looking at real estate ads. One of the challenges in designing this show is we need three different settings, and it is rather difficult to use a turntable in the Pels, so I kept most of the choices minimal. But, in fact, my main goal was trying to reflect what a set might look like for a play that was produced during the same time periods. So the first act evokes what a set for a Harold Pinter play might have been at that time, the second act evokes the look of an Alan Ayckbourn play, and the third act is the most contemporary and looks like a play written by Mike Bartlett. Michael Mayer, the director, and I have worked together before, and we have a shorthand. We both realized that the story is so strong in Mike’s play, that the challenge of the set design is to help tell the story and not get in the way of it.

Costume renderings for the character of "Sandra" in LOVE, LOVE, LOVE

Costume renderings for the character of "Sandra" in Love, Love, Love

Love, Love, Love is a play with three very distinctively different worlds. The first world is all about dreaming of the future. Using the backdrop of post war 1960s London, we will create a class structure, ranging from a poverty-stricken, dingy, worn down, lower-class worker to highly educated, fashionable, thriving Oxford University students. In this act, I am going to create the foundation for Mike Bartlett’s beautifully written, dream-filled characters so that they will have room to grow into the powerful, self-absorbed, painfully unaware people we see in Act III. The second act is all about sacrificing for money in 1990s London. We see these characters living the life they dreamed of, and paying the consequences. With money as the signifier for success, we need to see wealth all around this family. We have children in private school uniforms, men in expensive designer suits and women in powerful work attire. But with all of this success comes complications, which we will see. Set in 2011, the third world is about the conflict between generations; the older generation basking in their success and living the life of leisure, and a younger generation unable to succeed in the world they inherited. My job is to show the division between the two generations. The older generation with feel expensive and luxurious, while the younger generation will relate back to the poverty-stricken world we saw in Act I. We see how time and excess has treated this family, for better or for worse.

My first creative task as I envision my lighting design is to determine how I will craft the environment for the characters to inhabit as they tell the story of the playwright. In Love, Love, Love, I have the added challenge of creating three distinctive environments that span six decades. An enormously fun challenge. In creative meetings with Michael Mayer, he suggested each act should have a unique look, perhaps three different light plots. Design Notes: Three distinctive Acts. Three unique decades. The characters age dramatically throughout the play. The world that they inhabit should grow to reflect their age, taste, and attitude. Act 1, Summer of 1967, monochromatic, moody yet funny, shadows, simple, honest yet cheeky, television light; Act 2, Spring, 1990, bright, late 80s sitcom, soft, very pink, very rosy; Act 3, Summer 2011, severe and austere, sharp, edgy, high contrast, silvery, sleek, perfect, and beautiful.

As a sound designer, I never want to sonically distract listeners and take away from the storytelling; conceptually, I only want to add sound elements that are absolutely necessary to aid in telling the story. In Love, Love, Love, Mike Bartlett is very clear in his script which pieces of music he desires to set the time, place, and mood for each act, and thus part of my job can be somewhat utilitarian— facilitating the playwright’s wishes by providing the right edits to the music or sound element. Where I can better express my creativity is by manipulating how the audience hears those songs: obviously the music has to be localized to a practical record player or television on stage, and making that as realistic as possible is one of my goals. Then, as the music fades into or out of the audience listening area, I can have a little more fun in how that transition happens — I can be specific in where the sound appears to be coming from while subtly adjusting the dynamics of the music so that it can also feel as if the music is enveloping the audience.


Love, Love, Love is now playing at the Laura Pels Theatre at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre. Visit our website for tickets and more information.

Related Categories:
2016-2017 Season, Education @ Roundabout, Love Love Love, Upstage

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LOVE, LOVE, LOVE: Read/Watch/Listen

Posted on: December 7th, 2016 by Rory McGregor


From the playwright behind the smash Broadway hit King Charles III, Love, Love, Love, follows two baby boomers, Kenneth and Sandra, as they come to grips with the world through three very different eras. Starting with the 1960s, we watch these characters as their lives unfold, and as they have children who embark on journeys of their own. To give better context of what London was like in 1967, 1990 and 2011, check out our latest installment of To Read/Watch/Listen below!


Bartlett’s Tony-nominated King Charles III imagines a future wherein Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has passed and Prince Charles takes the throne. Written in blank verse, Charles struggles with the question of how to rule as William, Kate and Harry look on.


1967 (Act I) – Our World

At the opening of Love, Love, Love, we see Kenneth excitedly waiting for The Beatles to perform on the TV. Did you know that the Beatles recorded "All We Need is Love" especially for Our World on June 25, 1967? They were tasked with coming up with a song which promoted love, peace and unity for the event, which was the world’s first live, international satellite television production. Artists from nineteen nations were invited to perform and represent their nations, including artists such as Maria Callas and the painter Pablo Picasso. We hear "All We Need is Love" at the beginning and end of the show, and it is "Our World" that Kenneth is watching on the TV as the play opens.


1990 (Act II) – The Battle of Trafalgar Square
Act II opens in the family home in March 1990. Jamie tells Kenneth of a riot he is watching on TV with "horses" and "skinheads", asking if his dad pays Poll Tax. This is referring to Margaret Thatcher’s controversial decision to change existing tax laws in the UK and create a new "Poll Tax" which led to protests across the country. The event that Jamie is watching on TV is most likely the largest protest which occurred in London on March 31, 1990, colloquially known as the "Battle of Trafalgar Square" which led to rioting and looting which went on until 3am David Graham revisits the scene in this article in the Independent.


1990 (Act II)
At the beginning of the Act Jamie dances vigorously to The Stone Roses’ She Bangs the Drums. This song is the second single off their debut album, The Stone Roses, released in 1989.

2011 (Act III):
At the beginning of Act III, we hear DJ David Guetta and Akon’s dance hit "Sexy Chick" which was recorded for Guetta’s fourth studio album, One Love. The song achieved considerable commercial success worldwide, peaking inside the top five in several countries, including topping the charts in Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

However, it was not the highest selling single of the year in the UK. If you were to visit the UK in 2011 who were you more likely to hear? It turned out 2011 was a breakthrough year for a certain British artist below, who topped the charts:



2011 (Act III):
One of the main themes through the play culminating in the third act, is that of home ownership. Rose, 37 in the third act, asks her parents to buy her a house. The United Kingdom, like many other Western countries, is currently suffering from a housing crisis. Many people are unable to afford to buy a house and so become trapped in an unending cycle of rental, as summarized in article by The Guardian.

Love, Love, Love is now playing at The Laura Pels Theatre through December 18. For tickets and more information, please visit our website.

Related Categories:
2016-2017 Season, Love Love Love


Love, Love, Love: The World of the Play, 1967

Posted on: December 4th, 2016 by Roundabout


The late 1960s were a time of social and political change in both Britain and the United States. In many ways these were the conclusion of shifts begun in the wake of WWII. For the older generation, these changes were disorienting; for Love, Love, Love protagonists Kenneth and Sandra, representatives of the cohort born just after the war, they were a natural evolution of the only society they had ever known.


Sample of a UK Child's Ration Book, WWII

Sample of a UK Child's
Ration Book, WWII


While the United States emerged from WWII as a world power with a strong economy, Britain was left bankrupt and physically devastated, unable to maintain control over its far-flung colonies. Between 1945 and 1968, more than two dozen British colonies, including India, all became independent nations. At the same time, immigration to Britain rose due to the need for new workers to rebuild the British economy. Indians, Poles, and West Indians arrived in large numbers.


Though Britain struggled economically after the war, by the late 1950s the country was more affluent than ever before. There was a purposeful effort to build a more equitable, less class-based, society. The creation of the social safety net, including national health insurance and payments to families to offset the cost of caring for children, raised the material standard of living. Employment levels were high, and families could afford cars and televisions for the first time. Housing estates, similar to older American suburbs and early public housing developments, were built to replace housing destroyed in the war and to house those displaced by slum clearance projects. These estates featured amenities uncommon in previous generations: central heating and indoor plumbing.


The Education Act of 1944 made secondary school, equivalent to high school in the United States, free and available to all students. Previously, secondary school had been almost exclusively for upper class males. Beginning in 1962, universities in Britain were free: the state paid students’ tuition and awarded maintenance grants to cover living expenses. Between 1960 and 1970 the number of Britons earning a college degree doubled. Kenneth and Sandra are part of this group.

Recruitment Poster for the National Service

Recruitment Poster for the National Service


From 1939 until 1960 all British men between 18 and 21 were conscripted into National Service and required to spend 18 months in the military and four years on reserve. This system was phased out between 1960 and 1963. Kenneth was part of the first group of teenagers not required to join the military in two decades.


Women in Britain in the 1960s did not have the rights or opportunities of their male peers. Most left school at 15, worked for several years, and married by their early twenties. Pursuing a college degree makes Sandra part of an elite group.

Though an official marriage bar — which required women in civil service to give up their jobs after marriage — ended in 1946, women were still expected to leave work after marriage in many fields. Women could not get credit or make large purchases without a male guarantor.

Birth control became available to married women only in 1961, but it was not prescribed to unmarried women until 1974. Abortion was legalized in 1967, but the law required the doctor, not the woman, to make the decision about whether or not abortion was appropriate.

The women’s liberation movement coalesced in the late 1960s around issues of wage equality. Women earned 54% of what men earned on average and in many cases were paid less for exactly the same work.

Students on their way to class, early 1970s

Students on their way to class, early 1970s


British and American young people in the late 1960s were similar in their rejection of “the establishment,” a term for those who hold political or cultural power in a society. The revolutionary, rebellious music of the decade spanned the Atlantic, as did the appreciation of recreational drugs and free love. But the United States had two challenges the British did not face: direct involvement with the Vietnam War, and a major civil rights movement.

The main political cause for British youth was the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. CND unilaterally opposed nuclear weapons, held at the time by the U.S., Britain, and the Soviet Union, out of fear of a nuclear war and in moral objection to the loss of civilian life seen after atomic bombs were dropped on Japan in 1945. While CND opposed the war in Vietnam, not many Britons were active participants in the Campaign in the late 1960s.



British youth culture centered on “Swinging London.” Swinging was slang for hip or fashionable, and came into use in the late 1950s. Perhaps because the political situation in Britain felt less urgent, Swinging London was all about music and fashion. “Mod,” short for modern, clothes were in: miniskirts and shift dresses in bold colors and prints, designed by Mary Quant and modeled by Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton.


U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, which began in the early 1950s, was driven by fear of communist expansion. By the late 1960s many Americans no longer supported the war because they objected to American soldiers dying in another country’s civil war, learned of the death and devastation caused by the American and south Vietnamese militaries, and/or or considered American involvement a form of imperialism. The draft system, which conscripted men between 18-21 to serve in the military, drew heavily from minority populations and was seen as unfair. Student groups, civil rights activists, mothers’ organizations, and clergy were all involved in the anti-war movement.

The U.S. civil rights movement, which began in 1954 and had forced change in U.S. laws and practices in housing, employment, education, and voting rights, continued in the late 1960s. Britain, which didn’t have a significant minority population until the immigration of the 1950s, also passed anti-discrimination laws during this period. Overall, the movement was much larger in the United States.

1967 FACTS

  • Senator Edward Brooke, Republican of Massachusetts, becomes the first popularly elected African-American Senator since Reconstruction.
  • The Great Human Be-In in San Francisco features Timothy Leary, who tells the crowd to “Turn on, tune in, drop out”
  • The first ATM is installed in a North London bank.
  • Male homosexuality is decriminalized in Britain.
  • The Outer Space Treaty is signed by the U.S.A, the U.K., and the Soviet Union. It prohibits orbiting weapons of mass destruction.
  • The first air conditioned subway car goes into service in NYC.
  • The first black police officer joins the the London Metropolitan Police Force.
  • The first heart transplants are performed in Cape Town and New York City.
  • In Loving v. Virginia, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down state laws prohibiting interracial marriage.

Love, Love, Love is now playing at the Laura Pels Theatre at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre. For tickets and more information, visit our website.

Related Categories:
2016-2017 Season, Love Love Love

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