The Spell of Love takes its title from an introduction to Shepard’s text written by his collaborator, actor Joseph Chaiken, and reflects the fact that the production is more than just a staging of that series of monologues, incorporating an equal measure of new music by Jusin and Andrea.
Chaikin calls Savage/Love “common poems of real and imagine moments in the spell of love” and describes the piece as a series of situations that he and Shepard felt would be immediately identifiable as often part of the experience of love relationships. Originally presented as a solo performance by the actor, in this production, the text was portrayed by various couples.
The music element allows this exploration to go even deeper, with the musicians representing the inner thoughts and feelings of one couple who gradually evolved as a couple.
Setting the performance in the Smith Tower’s Chinese Room was also based on its ability to lend a bit of romantic history to the experience. One of the main features of the antiques that decorate the room is The Wishing Chair, in which Smith’s daughter posed for her engagement photos. Since then, it’s said that any single woman who sits in the chair and wishes will be engaged within the year. An album showing the brides for whom this wish came true is displayed nearby.
Stacy Lynn Gilbert