"Now and again a hopeful play doesn't hurt," Welsh playwright Alan Harris says about his Love, Lies, and Taxidermy, playing through March 4 at the Inis Nua Theatre Company at the Louis Bluver Theatre at the Drake. "People will have to get used to it."
I had just asked him, "How dare you write an optimistic play?" Love, although it navigates some heavy waters, is a play that leaves a smile with you. At a time of dark plays, it stands out. "A lot of people are saying to me, 'Wow, to have a romcom, however offbeat, that's different – and there aren't that many plays that are optimistic about the human condition."
Set in Wales, Love concerns a crush, an ice cream truck, the struggle between small business and big box stores, the working life in a cold town in Wales … and … taxidermy? "I've always been slightly obsessed with taxidermy, actually," says Harris, "and it'll take a lot of therapy to figure out why. In London, there's an amazing taxidermy shop in the Essex Road, and I used to cycle past there every day."
Love debuted at the Edinburgh Fringe, at the marvelous Roundabout Theatre, and its appearance here continues what's becoming an Edinburgh-Philly lifeline. Harris has just seen Inis Nua run through his play for the first time.
"It is an odd experience to see your play done in a different culture," he says, "although I love what Inis Nua are doing with it. Then again, there are a lot of American references in the play, especially film references. It's a teenage, idealistic thing, a theme running through the play: We are living our own movie, and the characters want to rewrite the movies they're living. Don't we all, right?"