by Brian Paul Scipione
I Don’t Want to Get Over Love Songs
If you scour the liner notes of 69 Love Songs by the Magnetic Fields you will find this admission by writer Stephen Merritt: “I like over-the-top sentimentality if there’s a justification for it.” While this thought is no way to sum up the majesty of his much-beloved indie/emo/pop/retro/folk rock masterpiece album, it is a good way to introduce it.
The second necessary detail is that Merritt did not write 69 Love Songs as a collection of songs about love, but rather as a collection of songs about love songs: almost but not quite a dubious distinction. Also from the liner notes: “I had been thinking it would be good to get into the world of musicals, and probably easier to get into it through a revue of songs along the lines of An Evening with Tom Leher or Jaques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, two revues that don’t need any narrative to be wildly entertaining. Well, I write pretty good love songs. Nobody else is writing love songs.”
So, 69 Love Songs is one part severely sentimental and one part non-narrative musical revue but what would be the final ingredient in this odd, unique and delightful night of entertainment? From the Gnap Theatre website, “Gnap! Theater Projects presents and produces theatrical events that are both deliberately experimental and unashamedly populist.” That’s right -- an improv-based theater group with a love for all things widely loved. The piece 69 Love Scenes is a play in 69 parts inspired and guided by the themes, titles, characters, and moods of 69 Love Songs.
Read more at AustinLiveTheatre.com . . . .