Like You Hate Me is a play full of raw honesty and emotion. The relationship between the two characters (the play is a two-hander) jumps dizzyingly between the past, present, and future of a soaring-then-failing love affair, as the highs of desire are steadily replaced with bitterness and regret and then acceptance and even nostalgia.
The acting is superb. This is a complex play and it asks a lot of the two women on stage (Acushla-Tara Kupe and Aimee Kember), but they both took it on unflinchingly. It is also beautifully written. Every word is so real and so true to every stage of love, betrayal, and heartbreak. The play is so universal. The relationship portrayed is a lesbian love affair. But as the play quite rightly depicts, lesbian love isn’t different than any other love – it’s just as beautiful, fragile, spiteful, and damaging when women love each other as any other pairing. In fact I wonder if they used genderblind casting here – so universal is the play and so true to all our experiences.
Where the play lets itself down slightly is in the staging. The narrative jumps could be better signposted through a change of a prop or lighting, but that has been decided against here, and that decision made the play much harder to follow. As a result, it took me longer than I might have liked to get lost in the narrative.
But it did capture me. It felt so real and the two actresses so raw in their portrayal. The staging issues can be easily fixed. The lingering sense that this play could have been written about me and several exes won’t. It is that universal experience that they play taps into that has meant it keep returning to key scenes in my mind. Trying to work out if they could have done anything differently, trying to work out if I could.
Like You Hate Me can be hard work, But it is so worth it. See it for its rawness and honesty, for its passion and spite, for its truthfulness and deceptions. Like You Hate Me is the love affair we’ve all had and never quite got over.