HOW We Begin is a beautiful play about love and relationships – and difficult choices that sometimes need to be made. It’s tenderly performed by actors whose on-stage relationship is joyously symbiotic.
Written by Elisabeth Lewerenz and directed by Elizabeth Benbow (founders of Surfacing Act Theatre), the play examines the three-way relationship that emerges between Helen (Talia Pick), Diana (Emma Lucia) and Diana’s boyfriend. Although Helen (openly bisexual) and Diana (a repressed bi-sexual) have had feelings for each other ever since Fresher’s Week at university, it takes a few years for stored away feelings to be transmitted into deeds.
As their relationship becomes physical, there are hurdles aplenty to leap over. Hurdle one, Diana’s boyfriend – will he leave her, will she leave him, or will he accommodate her love for someone else?
Hurdle two, Helen’s family who are basking in the joy of her brother’s engagement – will they understand her bi-sexuality?
Hurdle three, their circle of friends – will they twig that Diana and Helen are in a relationship and will they accept it?
In a nutshell, will Diana and Helen overcome all and triumph – or will they succumb and split?
It’s all delivered with a delicious dose of humour and a Turkish Delight-like delicacy. The ‘sex’ scenes are verbal rather than physical and it all adds to the play’s flavour as does the quality of the writing. ‘I’d like your internal organs if I could see them,’ says Helen to Diana as she explains her love for her.
‘It’s not important whom you love,’ says Grandpa to Helen. ‘What’s important is that you love someone who loves you.’
What is all embracing about the play is that it is not just about two females falling in love. It could equally be about a couple where either partner embarks upon another relationship. This play is fundamentally about how we cope when relationships are potentially disrupted – either as the interloper or the one with divided love – and the choices we then make.
How We Begin is a treat. Beautifully written, beautifully performed and beautifully directed. One hour of sheer delight, even though the ending is rather sad.
Photos by Charlie Sambrook