Laura Lippman fell in love with a homework assignment.

It was one she gave students in her University of Arizona introductory theater class: Pick a scene from a play and perform it.

Two of them acted out a scene from John Kolvenbach's "Love Song."

"The fact that students found it means it's speaking to someone their age," Lippman said over the phone. "I thought, 'This is really quirky and funny. What is it? Where did you find it?'"

Arizona Repertory Theatre previews "Love Song" Sunday under Lippman's tutelage.

The play examines the lives of four characters: eccentric Beane; his focused sister, Joan; her husband, Harry; and Molly, a thief who breaks into Beane's home and puts stars in his eyes. Together, these characters explore love and relationships.

"This is a good date-night show," Lippman said. "The play offers a rhapsodic point of view on love. There's poetry in the text, but at the bottom line, it's a comedy. I hope that the audience can see themselves in one of these characters and check in with themselves."

Kolvenbach's script gave the cast the chance to explore different styles. Using brackets, irregular capitalization and other forms of syntax, Lippman says, the script looks like music.

"The actors are having a ball," Lippman said. "Although the audience doesn't see the text, it helps the actor transform a character. Literally, it was love at first sight when I saw it."

The play's unusual love story is what makes it work, Lippman said.

"If we were to look at a typical love story, it would be boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl, everyone lives happily ever after," Lippman said.

"(This play) is romantic but not in a traditional way. But it is not so far out of our realm of human condition that we can't connect," she said.


•What: The Arizona Repertory Theatre's production of "Love Song."

•Playwright: John Kolvenbach.

•Director: Laura Lippman.

•When: Previews: 1:30 p.m. Sunday and 7:30 p.m. Monday. Regular performances: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and next Thursday. Continues through Feb. 24.

•Where: UA's Marroney Theatre, 1025 N. Olive Road in the UA Fine Arts Complex.

•Cost: Previews, $19; regular performances $28. Discounts available.

•Reservation/Information: 621-1162

•Run Time: 85 minutes, with no intermission.

Johanna Willett is a University of Arizona journalism student who is an apprentice at the Star. Contact her at