Spring is in the air and there’s an exciting collaboration between dance and theatre when Chichester’s Minerva Theatre hosts Like Rabbits by Lost Dog Dance and award-winning playwright Lucy Kirkwood.
In this quietly devastating new work for two performers, inspired by Virginia Woolf’s short story Lappin and Lapinova, a man and a woman meet and have sex and fall deeply in love.
Each night the lovers slip away from their real lives into a world that exists only in their shared imagination.
It’s a world that belongs to them, in which tax returns, shopping lists and commuting do not exist – where they are not their normal selves, but King of the Rabbits and Queen of the Hares.
But what begins as a game soon becomes a battleground, and the couple hurtle towards a tragedy of the saddest, and most ordinary kind.
Following the one-off performance by Ino Riga and Ben Duke on January 16, Ben will perform a short extract from Lost Dog Dance’s forthcoming production of Paradise Lost, inspired by Milton’s epic poem.
Ben, Lost Dog’s artistic director, said: “I was initially drawn to Lappin and Lapinova because it was a story about a relationship existing in two separate realms at the same time.
“There is the reality of this couple and then there is their fantastical world.
“It felt like it was a story that needed two separate mediums – words and movement – to stage it.
“Lucy reduced the story to its essential parts and that meant that we felt we could tell that story in very few words, leaving space for movement to expand and to add flesh to this frame.
“I am addicted to the problem of combining text and movement. It is resistant to formulas and is endlessly challenging but sometimes it offers the very best kind of theatrical experience.”
Lucy Kirkwood, added: “I first read Virginia Woolf’s short stories when I was a teenager and Lappin and Lapinova has continued to haunt me since then.
“For years I kept returning to the idea of adapting it, but could never work out how to achieve it until I started wondering whether it might best be expressed in movement.
“Lucy Morrison introduced me to Ben and from our first meeting he embraced and understood what was intoxicating, true, flinty and tragic about the story.
“In particular he felt, as I did, that though it was written in the Edwardian era, it is a deeply modern tale”.