Love, it seems, is in the air. Well, it’s not February yet, but love needs no season, no reason. Does it?
Love in July, a one-man musical monologue transcends boundaries of time to present a love story spanning 15 years, with the protagonists meeting only 15 times, their identities safely kept anonymous, and their love beyond words could explain.
On July 19, 2005, a man and a woman meet at a restaurant in Goa, and there begins a love story like no other. “Without revealing too much, the story is from the guy’s perspective about falling in love with this woman he met at a restaurant in Goa in the month of July. There’s something that connects them instantly and intimately. To give that love all the precedence it deserves, they decide to keep their identities anonymous and meet at the same restaurant on the same date, every year,” says Sandeep John, who plays the protagonist.
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Over the span of 15 years, their lives change, with new chapters of relationships, breakups, marriages, and more, but the one thing that remains constant is their love for each other and the pact that they made of meeting on a specific date, no matter what.
Strange as it may sound in the age of social media that also defines how we love and/or treat our relationships, Love in July rises above such challenges and pressures to give love its due. “I have been asked, in this age and time, will such a concept about love work? But my reply is simple: Love has always existed. It forever will,” says writer/director Denver Anthony Nicholas, adding, “The original was a 10-minute short play titled, Once a Year, that I penned in 2017, in the month of July for the Short and Sweet festival, for which I also won best script writer. Ever since, I had been trying to develop this into something bigger and different, but for some reason, none of it panned out. Then, sometime around the end of last year, Sandeep told me he wanted to do a full-on monologue, with songs. And I figured out this is a script that could work. The original had two actors, but I challenged myself to change it into a one-man musical monologue, and it just fell into place.”
Love seems to be a recurrent theme with Denver. “Yes, it is. Twisted Love, All You Need is Love, Love in July, Faith Hope and Love, and Complicated Love — have one thread in common — love. I like to work around with human emotions. Love in July is about falling in love with the person, and not the identities attached to the person,” he says.
With the play being a musical, Sandeep will also be singing some English tracks from the ’60s, ’70s and the ’80s, all of which have been carefully selected by Denver. “The music is from across genres — pop, rock, country, old, and it’s very unlikely that the audience will know all the songs. I would say it’s better if they don’t know the songs because you will be keen to figure it out and why I am singing it at a particular point during the act. Yes, the songs are an integral part of the story,” Sandeep tells us.
Sandeep and Denver started reading the script two months ago. “We did a tester show a few weeks ago to get a feedback. The response was great. I think for us, the only concern was — will the audience be engaged over the one hour or will they switch off and go back to their phones. But that never happened. The play is engaging, exciting, with lots of memorable moments in it,” says Sandeep.
After 15 long years, and 15 meetings, will the two protagonists reveal their identities? What happens in 2020? You got to find out.
At Alliance Française of Madras. January 22. 5 pm
and 7 pm (two shows).