Anonymous love at GPAC

LOVING PLAY: A performance based on 800 anonymous love stories is headed for its Geelong debut tonight.

By Natalee Kerr

A production inspired by 800 anonymous love stories from the public is set for its Geelong debut this Friday night.

Acclaimed Queensland theatre company The Good Room has transformed secret love stories into open declarations in the company’s latest show, I Want to Know What Love Is.

Co-founder, writer and performer Amy Ingram said the show explored a collection of “real, honest and detailed” anecdotes.

“The anonymous nature of plugging a story into a website really gave people the freedom to give as much information as they like,” she said.

“It’s a real rollercoaster. It’s like going through an entire relationship in 60 minutes.”

First loves, crushes, breakups and heartbreak were some common themes of submissions, but Ingram said that surprisingly not all were romantic.

“We had people write about what love meant to them in a different way, like in terms of loving materialistic things like a first car, or other relationships like kids and family,” she said.

Incorporating story, movement and song, the show examines love’s positives and negatives, taking the audience on a moving, but confronting journey, Ingram said.

“It’s not a traditional A-to-B-to-C-to-D kind of story. We run through all the emotions.”

Ingram described the show as a “declaration back to the audience”.

“They’re really the final character element to this piece.

“We’ve had a lot of people tell us they were able to recognise themselves in someone else’s submission.”

Ingram said from a young age she has “always” wanted to tell stories either on stage or in a movie.

Graduating with an acting degree in 2004 Ingram has since worked as a producer, director and performer across Australia and in New York.

In 2008 she co-founded The Good Room, a company dedicated to creating productions that involve the audience.

“We started off doing traditional theatre but then we moved into a more contemporary style of performance making,” she said.

“We always wanted to put the audience into our work and I think integrating anonymous crowd sourced material came from that desire.”

Ingram said reactions to the show differ but she hopes it encourages an array of love-related behaviors.“I hope people feel an urge to do something after seeing the show like texting their mum I love you or calling the person they have a crush on,” she said.

I Want to Know What Love is will be at Geelong Performing Arts Centre (GPAC) tonight and tomorrow tonight.

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