Lodging a Love Story

By Steven Libowitz   |   July 19, 2022
The Air Love n’ Love cast

The pandemic might have been a cause for pause for most of us, but Claudia Hoag McGarry took a different path. Not only did the screenwriter-turned-playwright take up watercolor painting – she’s created more than 575 pieces in 27 months, several hundred of which have sold online or, more recently, at Kathryne Designs in Montecito – McGarry has also continued to churn out new plays. Breaking the Code, her first relationship comedy, premiered at Center Stage last August, and now her second purely fictional play, Air Love n’ Love, is set for staging at the Marjorie Luke the next two Saturday nights, July 16 and 23.

Following the maxim of write what you know, details from McGarry’s life more than filter into the dramedy, as it’s set in an Airbnb run by a parent and child duo, which is drawn directly from the playwright’s own experience, while some of the situations parallel experiences by or with a few of their guests. 

“Over the years, people staying here have left or started romances, and I often know about it. And they’ve left things behind, both of which show up in the play,” McGarry said. “Most everything is exaggerated from the truth, which is interesting enough.” 

McGarry is also partial to mixing cultures, so another storyline in Air Love n’ Love has the home’s proprietor, a Mexican-American man, falling for an Afghani-Ukrainian refugee, whose tragic tale could have come out of recent headlines, and whose booking turns out to have been a sham. 

“I’ve been afraid to touch on the loss of a child in my writing because I know how awful that is for people,” McGarry said. “But I also wanted to show my admiration and respect for people that have survived it. But mostly the play is more funny and romantic than sad, because there’s always love and we could all use more love and laughter.” 

As in her recent plays, family members are involved in scene design and music, and the cast is made up entirely of locals, who also comprise the bulk of the audience, for which McGarry remains grateful.

“I’ve just been amazed how much people have liked my work and come to my shows,” she said. “So, I’m just going to keep writing more.”


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