Gare St. Lazare Players Ireland
First Love
Bodyvox Dance Center
Friday, September 10, 2010
Posted by Eve Connell

A Beckett fan since Waiting For Godot popped my pre-adolescent brain into a different gear, I was eager to view Conor Lovett’s acclaimed interpretation of First Love, a heavy, heady piece indeed. Walking a quite treacherous line preposterously balanced over a river of dark humor, complete emotional emptiness, and the usual pain and suffering caused only by love (and/or the inability to love), Beckett’s story tugs and pulls in haunted directions. Given that hoping-to-forget set up, it’s actually quite remarkable how long this particular story lingers inside the head and the heart.
Lovett’s performance Friday night was remarkable, too. His facial expressions and postures perplexed our audience exactly as he was perplexed by what he was actually saying out loud, thoughts finally outside his brain, as he pieced together a few significant events of a perhaps insignificant life for both audience and orator to mull over. Lovett’s narrative was paced and profound, his delivery poised yet raw. The methodical way in which critical elements of his lonely tale unfolded before us was careful and intriguing. What fascinated me most is that Lovett appeared to be just as surprised about his declarations as he guessed we might be, as well.
Beckett considered his “important work” stories such as First Love, not the “trivial” plays like Godot. I left First Love feeling real despair about a life (the one just shared with us–mine’s not there quite yet)–but also primed to see more from Lovett and Beckett, both contagious forces compelled to serve up intense slices of humanity.