November 14 2007
Peter Papadopoulosâ€™ â€œLost Loveâ€ will be performed Nov. 17 through Dec. 22 at Chicagoâ€™s Stage Left Theatre by the Hypatia Theatre Company.
The work can be described as an edgy romantic comedy tragedy, combining broken relationships, ruined wedding days, and climate change.
â€œThe idea for the play first came from an image of a bride stranded on a mountain peak,â€ Papadopoulos said. â€œThat image, coupled with my great concern about global warming came together.â€
â€œLost Loveâ€ chronicles the experience of Mitzy, a waterlogged bride, who finds herself stranded on a mountaintop with Tito, a streetwise, Zen-wise parking valet, after an epic storm flooded her wedding. Several states away, Jan spirals into a state of existential madness as a result of girlfriend Barbâ€™s infidelity, as images of storm refugees appear non-stop on television. The plot leaves audiences wondering if these characters find their way back to love in time to save themselves and the planet.
The storyline bears some resemblance to a recent, notable event in American weather history.
â€œHurricane Katrina was definitely an influence,â€ he said.
In addition to Mother Nature, innovative theatre-maker Charles Mee influenced the Connecticut-born playwright. Mee is known for his collage-style playwriting incorporating music. Meeâ€™s trilogy of love plays, â€œBig Love,â€ â€œTrue Love,â€ and â€œFirst Love,â€ inspired Papadopoulos to write his own love trilogy.
â€œHis writing is a big influence on mine,â€ Papadopoulos said. â€œMy works are a very loose trilogy in response to his.â€
After years of conversations with Mee, ISU colleague Christopher Berchild, director Oskar Eustis, and other theater artists around the country, Papadopoulos coined the term â€œMojo Theatreâ€ in an attempt to describe the kind of art they were creating. Ongoing discussions with Berchild, often while working together on ISU productions, further defined this innovative style of play-making. Mojo Theatre utilizes expressionism, absurdism, lyrical language, and storytelling infused with social and political undertones. He jokes that this is a junkyard form of writing, incorporating everything â€œincluding the kitchen sink.â€
â€œI like to put lots of things together that donâ€™t seem to belong together at first,â€ he said, adding, â€œThatâ€™s where the energy comes from.â€
Papadopoulos, who teaches acting and playwriting at Indiana State, lets whatâ€™s going on in the world come into his plays.
â€œI channel whatâ€™s happening in the world around me. I borrow a little something from everywhere.â€
A former newspaper reporter in south central Connecticut, Papadopoulos said the skills he learned back then help him today as heâ€™s crafting his plays.
â€œI learned how to write fast and tight and to type as fast as politicians could talk,â€ he said.
While he is excited about his Chicago debut, itâ€™s something he takes in stride.
â€œI donâ€™t think you can gauge what this means to your career in an objective way. I guess thatâ€™s a very old school way of looking at things,â€ he said. â€œThe world is changing fast, and those changes are only going to accelerate rapidly.â€
What does excite him is the realization that he is not the only one concerned about global warming.
â€œA few theaters get it--and want to take it beyond me,â€ he said.
Papadopoulosâ€™ plays have been produced and published in the United States, Australia, and China. His short play â€œIn the Cool Cool Coolâ€ was recently named a finalist for the 2007 Actors Theatre of Louisville Heideman Award.
â€œLast Love,â€ the first play of Papadopoulosâ€™ Mojo Love Trilogy, recently ran at the Totem Theatre in Alice Springs, Australia. â€œLost Loveâ€ was named a finalist in the Northern Kentucky University YES New Play Festival, the Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, the Bloody Unicorn Queer Womenâ€™s Play Festival, and the Kitchen Dog Theatre New Works Festival.
Papadopoulos admits all this wouldnâ€™t be possible without the support of his colleagues in the theater department.
â€œIn theater, you have all these extra projects,â€ he said. â€œTo have people step in and help me out has been great. I couldnâ€™t have done it without them.â€
With two works in the trilogy completed, Papadopoulos has one work remaining.
â€œI donâ€™t have a set timeline as far as writing the third and final piece,â€ he said.
Contact: Peter Papadopoulos, ISU Theater Department, (812) 237-3335 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Writer: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications & Marketing, (812) 237-3783 or email@example.com
A unique play combining global warming, love, and catastrophe has earned an Indiana State University theater professor a Chicago debut.