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Interview with Director Gary Condes: “In an age of calculated self-aware subtle comedy, LUV will provide a belly laugh.”

Gary Condes

As he directs LUV at Park90 with Park Theatre, director Gary Condes reflects on rehearsals, the Emma Rice fiasco and his favourite old wives tale.

LUV is a 1960s riotous celebration of the absurd lengths we go to when struck down with the terrible affliction known as love. After reuniting one fateful night, old school pals Milt and Harry uncover each other’s miserable life stories before hatching a plan to find their happily-ever-afters. I decided to chat to Gary about a whole manner of things.

Gary Condes

Gary Condes

Hey Gary! You previously directed Miss Julie and Some Girl(s) with Buckland Theatre Company and are back at Park90 with LUV. What do you like the most about working with Buckland?

I love Buckland’s desire to produce work that examines the nature of human behaviour through plays that focus on relationships and to put them in intimate studio spaces so that audiences experience immediate and affecting theatre full of emotional truth.


Luv. Click on the image to book your tickets

How are LUV rehearsals going? 
Great! We are spending the early stages mining the script and improvising to work out what the characters are really doing in each scene and why they are doing it. As a result we are acquiring a deep and specific understanding of the characters behaviour which will help to build nuanced and fuller performances.

What attracted you to direct LUV?
It’s a charming, unique play with heartfelt humour that gets us to face those existential questions that arise when examining the very nature of ‘Love’, how we define it and we measure it. It’s strengths lie in its colourful characters, extreme circumstances, laugh out loud dialogue, physical comedy, social and philosophical commentary and it’s infectious energy. The attraction for me was the mix of absurd humour and touching moments and the opportunity to make audiences feel happy, sad, joyful and full of despair all in the same show.

Are you sad about Emma Rice stepping down from The Globe? 
From the outside there seems to have been a misunderstanding about the style of work The Globe thought they were going to get from Emma Rice and what they ended-up getting from her. The glove didn’t seem to fit. Emma will find another platform for her work easily enough and The Globe will find someone else who best supports their philosophy. Can’t blame them both for trying.

What can audiences expect from LUV
In an age of calculated self-aware subtle comedy this production will provide audiences with a good old cathartic belly laugh at how self-indulgent humans can be with their own suffering. Expect a delicious high energy romp through a multitude of matters: marriage, relationships, loneliness, lost identity, desires, ambitions, failures, suicide. The performances will be bold but grounded in emotional truth so that audiences can connect to the characters suffering through laughter. A mix of absurdist humour and Broadway comedy: Mel Brooks and Neil Simon give birth to Eugene Ionesco.

What’s your favourite old wives’ tale?
If you are unable to fall asleep you are awake in someone else’s dreams.

What is your best advice for actors at auditions?
Don’t look at it as a job you have to get. See it as an opportunity to present your work. Prepare fully, deeply and make specific choices about your scene or monologue and then go to the audition to show them your work. Treat it as a presentation of what you’ve created, but you’ve got to do the homework beforehand.

Who is your favourite director?
Rimas Tuminas, Artistic Director of Moscow’s Vakhtangov Theatre Company. He manages to create an audacious mix of heightened and symbolic theatre which is underpinned by performances of deep and full emotional truth. His Uncle Vanya being a perfect example of this. It is theatre as art which illuminates & elevates.

Say in 1,500 years they discovered something you had directed on film what would you like them to find? 
It would be a film I haven’t made yet but is in development. It’s an autobiographical piece about family and takes place between the family run restaurant and the family home. I would like them to find it in 1,500 years and hope it helps people to understand something about human nature and its capacity for both deep suffering and great joy and that it’s the ‘experience’ of living that is important.

Why do you think Park Theatre is so successful? 
I think it’s due to the combination of seeing quality productions of interesting plays, thought provoking subject matter and fine acting in intimate and involving spaces.

Anything you’d like to add? 
If you want an alternative Christmas show to come and see LUV, this is it!

Luv in on at Park Theatre from 8 December  2016 – 7 January 2017