Venue: Old Fitzroy Theatre (Woolloomooloo NSW), Dec 8 – 20, 2015
Playwright: Katy Warner
Director: Anthony Skuse
Cast: Deborah Galanos, Olivia Rose
Image by Christine Chahoud
Two soldiers are in a war zone, boots on the ground as it were. They are buddies, joined at the hip, supporting each other through the calamity in which they find themselves. Life could hardly be more vulnerable or dangerous, but they are upbeat, perhaps a result of the training they had received, or the innate strength that they had brought to their vocation. They also seem to be losing their minds a little. In their struggle for survival, the women let themselves drift in and out of fantasy, and we never know for sure which of their dialogue is fact, or fiction; it is all too distant from our comfy vantage point.
Katy Warner’s script is ambitious and difficult. Dropped is at times abstract, often turning surreal, and even though it offers effective points of reference for a sense of coherence, the play can be disorienting. It contains sentimental elements to help with an emotional connection, but Anthony Skuse’s direction seems to steer the show for a cerebral experience, attempting to engage our logic instead. The production is a polished one, with Verity Hampson’s lights especially memorable, but it is also alienating. It talks about hope and death, themes that are unquestionably universal, but its profundity escapes us.
Accomplished performances by Deborah Galanos and Olivia Rose keep the energy up, and their palpable commitment to the challenging parts is admirable. Galanos’ sincerity and Rose’s vivacity are appropriately showcased, making their respective characters affable, in spite of the unimaginably horrific circumstance they portray.
It is a new realisation that we no longer live in peaceful times. Stories about war and disaster must now come to the fore, and our consciousness must be reminded of the horrors that many are facing. It is unacceptable to hide behind delusions while our worlds are experiencing carnage. If we send people off to fight, the least we could do is to observe the bloodshed. The damage is real. As long as we fail to find solutions, we must all suffer the consequences.