PCS Blog

Love (Potions) Are in the Air!

Posted by KellyC | 29 October 2012

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.)
On the hit TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, spells are a common occurrence in the town
of Sunnydale. But when Xander, one of the main characters, attempts to put a love spell
on his ex to get her to fall back in love with him, things go horribly wrong. All of the girls at
Sunnydale High fall in love with Xander. Maybe that doesn’t seem like a terribly awful
thing for a guy, but here is the problem: all of the ladies fall for Xander except his ex. She
is protected from the spell! 
Check out this funny scene from Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, when Ron Weasley, under the influence of some pretty enchanting chocolates, believes he is in love with Ramilda Vane.
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
chilling beverage that is sure to 
send some shivers down your back!
And perhaps make you fall in love
with the next person you lay eyes
on. Hey, you never know!
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