Laura Lethlean’s new work, Two Hearts, examines relationships through memories and conversations experienced by a couple, played by Eliza Scott and Damon Manns.
They meet at a party in a crowded Darlington terrace; a quintessentially Inner West experience. Lethlean then lovingly unfurls the couple’s journey in both its passion and banality. A third character, played by Pheobe Grainer, acts interchangeably as narrator, friend and ex-lover. She is a constant presence, leading the couple’s actions and ruminations.
Lethlean excels in projecting people’s inner thoughts about their relationships with others onto the stage. Two Hearts offers poignant moments, particularly in its depiction of the start of the couple’s relationship where trepidation and fervent desire battle each other.
The characters have an anonymity to them, representing as they do the universal aspects of connection and romantic love Lethlean is looking to convey. They could be anyone, everyone, or at least deeply familiar. In achieving this, however, Lethlean has stripped the characters of their uniqueness which makes it hard to connect to them. Despite this, Scott, Manns and Grainer demonstrate moments of genuineness and there is a strong sense of their connection as an ensemble throughout the performance.
Director Jessica Arthur’s production is performed on a straw mat with nothing else included by way of set design. This allows the script’s imagery to fill the space, though the effectiveness of this is haphazard. Lighting design strongly supports the sense of place, particularly for a terrace house party scene with warm lights creating a dingy, humid room. There is frequent and excellent use of sound throughout the performance. It creates lush and cinematic atmospheres that heighten the feelings conveyed, though one sound grab in the sexual prelude strikes as overdone.
Two Hearts offers a reflective production that encourages its audience to study their own relationships both current and retrospective.