This year’s edition of Next Stage Festival of theatre includes an unscripted comedy based on a HBO medieval-fantasy series (Throne of Games), a story about the late hockey tough guy John Kordic (Sudden Death) and a poignant, poetic comedy about love and the portrayal of emotions. We spoke to actor-playwright Julie Lederer about With Love and a Major Organ, a hit from last year’s Fringe Festival.
Can you tell us what With Love and a Major Organ is all about?
In terms of ideas, it’s about communication, and what we experience with other people externally and how that resonates internally, and how those two things can be so different. What happens is that the lead character Anabel [played by Lederer] has these interactions with a man she meets on the subway. Their conversations are very brief and small, but her reactions to them are huge. We see both sides, because she reads love letters to him on cassette tapes. We get to see how she has managed to fall in love with him and how she interpreted the things that he said to her, and then how she portrays her affections for him externally.
How does he react to her love letters?
He’s slightly alarmed by them, and sort of shies away. Eventually she decides she’s going to send him her heart.
We won’t get into his response. But what kind of reaction are you wishing for with your play, from the audience?
For me, a lot of the appeal of theatre is asking questions. When I come out of a play I love it when I question my own beliefs and ideals and
just myself generally. With
this play, I think the central question is how we relate to our emotions, and how we contend with them in society, and how they can be changed to the outside world to
protect ourselves. Of course
I hope people enjoy the
play. But perhaps, as well, they will think about things in a different way than they went in.