On Friday evening we caught up with three current students on the MA Music Theatre programme at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama to ask them about their first public production, ‘Love Is Not A Science’. This devised piece is based on the songs of American composer and lyricist, Joshua Rosenblum, and lyricist Joanne Sydney Lessner, who will be having their works performed in the UK for the first time. We spoke to Daniel Julian, Jessica Tripp and Jake James, to find out more…
Ginger Wig: So tell us about the show?
Daniel: The show is about mathematics and love and the relationship between them both.
Jess: It’s about finding the formula for true love…
Jake: It’s a statement about the magic of literature and books and how love isn’t necessarily a science.
GW: Can you tell us a bit about the devising process?
Jess: We workshopped as an ensemble songs by Joshua Rosenblum and Joanne Sydney Lessner and looked at the idea that love is not a science and what that might mean to us as an ensemble. We explored the lyrics of the songs, how they could be incorporated and after a bit of workshopping of scenes we looked at a structure for the piece and how it can all link together with 23 members of the ensemble.
Jake: We also had contributions from a few members of the course who had experience in choreography. They are responsible for three of the dance numbers in the show, creating these magical worlds where things come to life and the unexpected happens.
Jess: The play is set inside a library and we explore different worlds.
Jess: The worlds come to life when a book is opened so, just like any other form of theatre, we’re storytelling.
Jake: Because we are performing in the traverse (audience on two sides), this opens up opportunities to break the fourth wall and be closer to and more intimate with the audience.
Daniel: It is an immersive piece.
GW: Can you tell us about the music?
Jess: I find it very clever. I’m not someone who is particularly mathematically or scientifically inclined, so I think it is incredibly clever how the lyrics really explore the theory of mathematics and physics and science that directly relate to love and emotion.
Daniel: It showcases the creative versatility of Joshua and Joanne because they are able to do any sort of musical form, classical to jazzy or bluesy, to something typically Broadway like ‘Welcome to Hollywood’ and the [Greta] Garbo section.
Jake: The intricacies of the composition for the majority of the numbers also lend themselves to the world in which Helen [Watts] our directer has tried to create this magical and perplexing library where things come to life. The intricacies of these compositions really lend themselves to the complex structure of our show and the complexity of science and mathematics.
GW: What has been your favourite part of creating the show?
Jess: Working as a member of the ensemble, I think we’ve got a really good group and I think all our voices and personalities really complement each other. So getting the opportunity to work with this music that really showcases all of our abilities and working together has been the best thing for me.
Jake: Yes we are such a diverse group of people, no two people look the same, sound the same, nor are the same, so to have an opportunity to perform with such a diverse cast is something I will relish for the rest of my performing career. We have all had an opportunity with this devising process to create characters and to have an input into the direction of the show, so having the responsibility and a free rein to create this world which has been very rewarding.
GW: What can we expect if we come along to the show next week?
Daniel: You can expect to be surprised because of the range of the themes and their integration. You won’t really be able to tell which way the show is going.
Jake: It’s not your typical musical theatre show that you might expect to see in London’s West End. It’s a kind of concept musical or a…
The two students start to overlap.
Daniel: It’s like a song cycle….
Jake: It’s like a song cycle… a concept musical… a book musical…
Daniel: With a sort of frame… a concept musical, yes…
Jake: One not to be missed.
Jess: Not your average day at the library.
All three laugh along with the Ginger Wig.
GW: And are you all enjoying your time at Central?
Daniel: It’s been amazing to see how far we’ve come and it’s so clear how much has changed since we started the course.
Jake: The fact that we’ve still got another major musical project coming up is very exciting because I can feel already, just from the development we have all made in 12 weeks with our skills modules that we are only going to improve further. It’s just amazing.
Jess: This has been a really good opportunity for us to take the training from the last 12 weeks and actually put it into practice.
Daniel: The teaching team is fantastic and that’s been very beneficial.
Jess: We’ve been really lucky with the guest lecturers as each brings very different experiences.
Daniel: They are all very professional.
Jess: And it’s just a fun and sunny place to come to every day.
GW: Well thank you very much for talking to us.
Daniel, Jess and Jake: Thank you, Ginger Wig.
GW: All the best with your show.
‘Love is Not A Science’ will be showing in the Webber Douglas Studio at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama 9th to 11th of February, with performances at 2 and 7pm.