Theatre ReviewsTom Williams

Love Person

by Aditi Brennan Kapil

at Victory Gardens Biograph Theater


Directed by Sandy Shinner

At Victory Gardens Biograph Theatre

Unique four part love story filled with gimmicks

Playwright Aditi Brennan Kapil’s Love Person, now in its Chicago premiere at Vicroty Gardens Biograph Theatre, is a four part love story featuring four disperate people searching for human connection utilizing Sanskrit, ASL and English that allows love to transcend sexual orientation, physical attraction, cultural differences and electronic communications.  Love Person is a love story that stretches beyond all the electronic indirect modern communication devices to become a melodrama–a soap opera–about four folks trying to fight their loneliness.

Lovr Person
Lovr Person

I quickly got tired of the Sanskrit love poems, all the emails, and text messages that made me read my way through this play. Only the signing–since actress Liz Tannebaum (herself hearing impared) plays a deaf character was absolutely necessary in the play.  We meet two sets of folks–each struggling with loneliness and each disperate to communicate their needs and nurish love. Maggie (Arlene Malinowski)–who teaches poetry lives and loves Free (Liz Tannebaum). They are lovers dispite Free being deaf.

Vic (Cheryl Graeff), Free’s sister, is searching for love in all the wrong places. Alcohol and low self-esteem seem to doom her chances for love. Her poor judgment in men doesn’t help either. Maggie introduces Vic to Ram (Rajesh Bose), an Indian Sanskrit translator of love peoms. Ram is a lonely, shy nerd professor and Vic easily is attracted to him dispite him only visiting the US.  Free is growing apart from Maggie and she starts an email communication with Ram, who believes he is communicating with Vic. Free becomes a compulsive emailer with Ram. They  talk about the nature of love and the meaning of Sanskrit poems.

Besides this nightly emails, Ram also calls the ‘real’ Vic on his cell phone. Vic is flattered yet Ram never seems to mention any of the emails. Curious?  in the meantime, Free and Maggie grow apart as Free seems preoccupied with something. Vic and Ram grow closer as Ram enjoys the emails much more than his calls to Vic.  The language of love and the indirect methods we use to communicate complicate each person’s struggle for human connections.  Kapil’s play is too busy with the electronics for my taste. The work essentially falls into a predictible romantic tale. The only character I had any empathy for was Ram even though he came off as a desperate loser.

The most interesting part of Love Person was the outstanding acting from Liz Tannebaum who demonstrates how strong a deaf person can convey emotions and truth without words. The use of signing never distracted like all the projected text messaging. it is too bad that we didn’t find out more about Maggie and Free’s relationshim. But as it plays, Love Person, is a unique 21st Century look into the struggles to communicate and make meaningful human contact. It is worth a look.


Tom Williams

Jeff  Recommended

At Victory Gardens Biograph Theatre, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL, call 773-871-3000, tickets $20 – $48, Tuesday thru Thursdays at 7:30, Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 5 & 8:30 pm, sundays at 3 pm, running time is 2 hours with intermission, through June14, 2009

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