Love Field (Bakehouse Theatre Company)

lovefieldVenue: TAP Gallery (Surry Hills NSW), Oct 22 – Nov 2, 2013
Playwright: Ron Elisha
Director: Michael Dean
Actors: Lizzie Schebesta, Ben Wood
Image by Tessa Tran, Breathing Light Photography

Theatre review
Jackie Kennedy and Lyndon Baines Johnson (the 36th President of USA) feature in this fictional story situated on a jet, immediately after the Kennedy assassination. Ron Elisha’s writing is imaginative and his thoughts are complex. There is a sense of something wild bubbling under his constructed universe, although the surface is deceptively restrained and conventional.

Direction of the production focuses on the creation of a naturalistic environment, and relies heavily on the actors’ lines to convey Elisha’s ideas. This is a tall order, as these concepts are deep and seem to demand more elaborate exploration. On the other hand, what results is an elegant work with a dignified simplicity.

Both actors are gifted with impressive but easy, stage presence. They are naturally fascinating creatures that absorb our attention effortlessly. Ben Wood plays Johnson, with a commanding speaking voice and great conviction. He instils clear character transitions throughout the play, and allows us to perceive several dimensions to his personality in a relatively short time (it runs for approx 75 mins). Lizzie Schebesta’s performance of the newly widowed Jackie Kennedy is beautifully melancholic, but she comes across slightly young for the role, and a little muted in her approach.

Although lacking in extravagant dramatics, Love Field is interesting and engaging. Its attempts at discussing issues of gender and social politics are well-meaning, and because modern times always seem to be in a state of “political turmoil”, the play is a timeless one.