Arts & Culture Features In Focus

What love is!

Photo: Kheira Morellon
Photo: Kheira Morellon

“Not what love does. Not what love was. What love is!” said actor Stewart Légère during the performance of Pop Up Love Party this past Wednesday in Prince Hall.
King’s has hosted the Pop Up Love Party for four years, a multi-sensorial experience where people enjoy a meal with their friends while watching a reenactment of Plato’s Symposium.
The Symposium is made up of six speeches, each delivered by different members of the Athenian elite. The speeches are about Eros, or love. Each person has a different take on what it is and how people feel it, but the goal of the debate is to find out the nature of love and how it manifests itself.
During the show, three actors perform two speeches each. They talk about the Bad Love and the Good Love, the ladder of Love, the globulars and how they got separated by gods (or aliens). All of these are references to the original speeches.
“It’s one of my favourite memories of first year,” says Dylan Jackson, a second-year student at King’s.
The interaction between the public and the performers is constant. As a crowd member you can decide what the cast members eat, share your own embarrassing love stories and debate why Katy Perry and Russell Brand broke up.
“It’s amazing to go eat in Prince Hall all the time and know what that space is, have an expectation of what that space is, and see it completely transformed with what we are studying,” says Ariel Bates, the don of Angel’s Roost.
She likes that the show takes something that’s been around for a long time, and is able to make it relevant.
“This year my favourite part was the comedic speech with the globular figures and playing with the conspiracy,” she says.
In the Symposium, party-attendee Aristophanes delivers a speech on how humans were originally globular figures: the shape of a ball with four arms, four legs, two heads and two sets of genitals. The gods were annoyed by their constant happiness and decided to cut them in two, creating a need in all of us to find our literal other half–our soulmates.
“When we were looking for a new show, we read the Symposium one night ordering sushi and drinking a lot of wine and realized that it was really exciting,” says Alex McLean, director of Pop Up Love Party. According to McLean, a lot of the show is about the contrast between ideas and bodily things; the ideal and the visceral.
“It feels like we are still wrestling with the same problems,” says McLean. “The show is about theatre and its relationship to philosophy.”
Ben Stone, one of the actors in the play, describes the show as “philosophical thoughts over booze” and says that once the audience leaves, they bring the show with them by talking about it throughout the evening.
“Part of the show is the drinking thing, but when we do it in October [at King’s], not as many people can drink,” says Stone. Pop Up Love Party also runs every February at Zuppa Theatre. The first time they played at King’s more of the crowd was 19 or over,  so the experience seemed closer to a real symposium, a drinking party.
“It’s a really brilliant and thoughtful work; it makes you think about love in so many different levels,” says Bates.

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