Better be careful with what you eat and drink this holiday season, or you could be in for a real "love"-ly treat -- or disaster!
Love is in the air at Portland Center Stage. Well, love potions at least. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the plot thickens and chaos ensues when Titania, Lysander and Demetrius are all given a magic love potion. From novels and plays to television shows and even operas, these bottled concoctions of adoration have long been used to propel the plot and wreak havoc on the lives of poor, would-be lovers -- and all others who happen to cross paths with them!
Before we explore, it is interesting to note that in most stories, love potions usually do not work the way they are intended! This theme often creates great plot development and leads to big laughs. For instance, in Midsummer Puck misplaces the potion in Lysander’s eyes instead of Demetrius’, causing some big trouble and unintended consequences. (Fun fact: The base of the potion in Shakespeare’s play is a flower called “Love-in-Idleness.” Though it was once a white flower, it was supposedly turned purple by one of Cupid’s arrows, giving it its magical love properties.)
Love potions can even be used on ogres! In Shrek 2, the evil Fairy Godmother creates a potion to take Fiona’s love away from Shrek. Thankfully, our big green friend wins the day and the girl. Have you ever noticed the romantic ‘IX’ on the bottom of the potion bottle in this movie? Looks like that's our cue for the song that inevitably comes to mind when hearing the words "love potion."
Love potions are popular elements in operas too! In Gaetano Donizetti’s comic opera L'elisir d'amore (The Love Potion), a poor peasant is inspired by the story of Tristan and Isolde (another story that includes the use of love potions), and is convinced that a love potion would be just the trick to win the heart of the woman he is in love with.
To conclude our adventure into the mysterious world of love potions, to the right is a 1903 painting by Evelyn de Morgan, titled The Love Potion.
Want to make your own love potion? Here is a recipe for a
Portland Center Stage inspires our community by bringing stories to life in unexpected ways. Founded in 1988, PCS is the city’s leading professional theater and one of the 25 largest regional theater companies in the U.S. PCS produces a blend of classical, contemporary and premiere works, and our annual playwrights festival, JAW. In our home at the Portland Armory we also offer a variety of education and outreach programs, including classes, workshops and partnerships with organizations throughout the Portland area.