The game of love explored in play

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The Theatre Company London explore contrasting styles of love and courtship in a major contribution to the new Festival of Chichester.

Love Games will be in The Vicars Hall on July 10 and July 11 at 7.30pm when the company will offer something elegantly French – A Door Should Be Either Open or Shut by de Musset – alongside something passionately Russian – The Bear by Chekhov.

Both are directed by award-winning drama director Peter Kavanagh, whose recent work for radio, film and stage includes Tamburlaine, The Cherry Orchard and The Caretaker.

Actress Emily Rose Smith, a former pupil at Chichester’s Bishop Luffa, is delighted at the thought of bringing the new company to familiar territory.

Emily explained: “The idea was to find some pieces that were not often presented and that would appeal. They work very well together because they are both talking about love and courtship but look at them from different perspectives.

“Peter has got a real interest in French drama, and he has done a new translation. He has worked on it to spice up it a bit and just give it a new more modern lilt.

“Both pieces are about 35 minutes long and fit together well as a programme. The French is more mannered, where what is not said is just as important as what is said. The Chekhov is more explosive, more passionate, coming from a much more expressive point of view. That’s the thing about Chekhov. He has this reputation for looking at life from quite a miserable perspective, but when you see this, you will have a cheery evening. The Bear is a really funny play.”

Part of the pleasure will be performing in Chichester, says Emily, who is the daughter of Festival of Chichester co-ordinator and former Bishop Luffa teacher Barry Smith. “Chichester is wonderful for theatre anyway,” says Emily. “I was lucky enough to be acting down here in Doctor Fautus (a Chichester Festival Theatre community promenade production a few years ago) with Sam West.

“I was at Bishop Luffa, and I did all the school plays. I was a dancer first. I danced at the Teresita Marsden School, and when I was younger, I performed with London City Ballet at the Festival Theatre, and then my love of acting grew out of my love of dance, really.

“Once you start with acting, you are just hooked really. It’s just a fantastic opportunity to lose yourself in a world that is completely not your own, an amazing chance to go inside the skin of another character and to bring that character alive.

“I have done some small bits of TV and film, but so far I have mostly done theatre. We do really like the idea of taking these plays to London now, to a London venue. The director Peter is in discussions at the moment with some London places. One of the attractions would be to see two plays that are not often done.”

Tickets on www.festivalofchichester.co.uk or 01243 813595 or in person from

Cloisters Shop, Cathedral Cloisters, Chichester, PO19 1PX (open Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm).