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LEMONS LEMONS LEMONS LEMONS LEMONS PROGRAM

A NOTE FROM THE DIRECTOR

From the beginning of this journey, I knew that I wanted to tackle a script that commented on current societal issues. I personally gravitate towards any form of entertainment (film, theatre, games, novels) that leave me with thoughts to take away and chew on after their tale has ended. I read a long list of plays during the pitching phase for this INTER/OUTER season, and after I stumbled upon Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, thanks to a suggestion from Chris, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I continued to read other plays, but after every subsequent play reading, I kept coming back and comparing those to this one. I had to accept that this play had me hooked and that other options would have to wait for another time. Upon reading the script I was intrigued by the way the script embraced an interesting duality in its narrative. It balanced an episodic, time-jumping exposé that challenged the audience to take on a ‘detective role’ and piece the narrative together as they watched; with an underlying linear progression that took us through the different phases of a relationship journey (meeting, dating, living together, arguments, resolutions). It was interesting how both forms of storytelling were in effect at the same time, and yet the play was still easy to follow. This genius was coupled with the dystopian lore of a ‘not-too-distant-future’ in which the government regulates how many words everyone can speak per day. In our current world that is riddled with issues surrounding the openness of social media, lack of fact-checking, and ‘plenty of talk, not enough action’; the concept of ‘forcing us to say less’ doesn’t seem too farfetched. Steiner purposefully doesn’t want us to dwell on how the law is enforced, but just to accept that it is and that we must deal with it (much like the characters have to themselves). The introduction of this concept to the narrative means that while our two characters are trying to discover each other and figure out whether they want to spend a life together; they are doing so with a limited vocabulary and restricted forms of communication. It’s hard enough to live with another human being at the best of times, but it adds another layer of complexity when you’re trying to resolve important issues with your partner and you can only say so much! Steiner heightens this concept one step further with the careers and personalities that our two main characters have been given. Bernadette is a lawyer (in training) who is finally finding her place in society. Oliver is a musician who currently writes catchy jingles for commercials. Both career paths rely heavily on words, which means that once a word limit is introduced; much of their daily allotment needs to be used for work, leaving very little left for their homelife. Additionally, Oliver and Bernadette are initially drawn to each other through their shared love of talking about quirky topics and concepts, which creates another blow to their relationship once words become a finite resource. All these factors culminate in a relationship that begins with: freedom of expression, playfulness, and whimsy, but quickly becomes bogged down with: feelings of resentment, lack of communication and mistrust. The play is equally about what words are chosen to be spoken aloud, as well as what isn’t able to be said (either due to the limit, or to their own insecurities). Although past productions have opted for a naturalistic set, I chose to keep our staging minimalistic; to focus more on our two wonderful actors. This also allowed for fun technical elements to emerge during the process that injected momentum into the staging and enabled an intriguing deconstruction of our established scenographic conventions at pivotal moments in the play. This show was fascinating to direct, and it is thanks to the team at IO, and to my talented actors that we have been able to do the play justice and present a performance that is memorable and thought-provoking, even after the stage goes to black.  

- ANTONIO ZANCHETTA

DIRECTOR
ACTORS
WARNING/CREW

CAST

Connection. Love. Communcation. Three things I seem to crave, and yet, in the age of smart technology, I feel I'm further away from those three things than I was ever before. My approach to acting is built on three simple concepts: art is a feeling, feeling is truth, and truth is simple. Those elements help to inform my craft for what it is, in short, to tell a story and inspire conversation, good or bad. Through my exploration of crafting Bernadette, the literature of this script brought forth interesting questions for myself. A single woman of 30 years old, in this new age, where communication is all around us, I often find that I don't have much to say, while at the same time, wanting to say everything.  Wanting to love. Wanting to connect. Wanting to communicate. I hope that our exploration of what connection, love, and communication might mean - while being limited with how many words you can say - has inspired you to say something today. I know it has for me.

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IMOGEN STORM

When I first read the script for Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons, it was love at first sight (fittingly so). Another brilliant two-hander had fallen into my lap, but this time it was something truly different. There were no ghosts, no danger, and not a single drop of red in sight; instead, it was a romantic comedy. It was a simple story about a couple trying to communicate in a world where words have become truncated and indirect. Creating Lemons has been a transformative and beautiful experience for me. Tapping into a feeling as truthful and powerful as love has been a privilege for me to explore as an actor, and the exploration was only made better by Sam Steiner’s witty, poignant, and tender script. I am eternally grateful for the support given by IO, the brilliance of my co-star, Imogen Storm, and the directorial vision of Antonio Zanchetta.

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OLIVER JOHNS

SPECIAL THANK YOU TO

MIKE & DEB ROBERTS

MANDY AND GERALD JACKSON

STUDENT WORKS

BUTTONS BREWING

WARNINGS

CONTAINS: 

Adult themes, Sexual References, Coarse Language.

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