A soldier falls in love with an actress. The actress marries his uncle, who keeps a mistress. The mistress and the actress are attracted to each other. Years later, the actress gives birth to a child who grows to be a beautiful lady who in turn, falls in love with the soldier. Confused yet? We clear things up with the director of Aspects of Love, Monique Wilson.
What drew you to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Aspects of Love?
It has wonderful music and a beautiful story, qualities that will appeal to any audience. It’s always a challenge and very exciting to produce any musical, and to breathe life, passion and soul into it.
How does Aspects of Love set itself apart from other romance musicals?
It is strongly driven by a storyline, as opposed to it being a vehicle for the musical numbers. What sets it apart is also its unconventional plot. It talks about the different aspects of love such as the love between two women, between three adults, between father and daughter, and between an older man and a much younger girl.
Wow, that’s confusing. The plot seems to imply that love is complicated and painful. Did the play make you see love in a different light?
The show doesn’t necessarily imply that love is complicated and painful, although it certainly can be when love is deep. It opened my mind to the various possibilities of love, and how we cannot and should not box our definitions of love in any way, because it is fluid and different for every individual. It made me understand love and the art of loving deeper.
Like you’ve said, the musical explores unconventional concepts of love—for example, that of a libertine—which neither demand nor offer fidelity. How do you think the audience will react?
I think audiences may be initially shocked, but will eventually accept it—that’s life after all. A libertine’s kind of love is something which shouldn’t be judged or moralized on. It’s about adjusting how we view life and love, and opening up our minds, so as to be able to accept differences more.
You are the director and play the lead Rose. It must have been tricky handling both roles. How did you pull it off?
Having Dee Cannon as the co-director of this show makes a huge difference. I initially directed the show, worked on the foundation and assembled the creative, production team and cast. Dee then came to work more specifically on the scenes and made sure that the whole show came together as envisioned.
There are some intimate scenes in the musical. How do you and the cast open up to one another?
We do lots of improvisations, intimacy and team building exercises to foster trust, and essentially just keep ourselves emotionally open for the demands of the show. Filipino artists are genuinely emotionally open people, trusting and very connected to their emotions, so this wasn’t difficult at all.
If there was anything you can change about the plot of the musical—what part would that be?
There isn’t anything I would change about the show. I think it genuinely and honestly reflects how people live and love. It is a sweet, powerful romance about youth and love, reminding us that love changes everything, and will never ever let us be the same.