Directed by : ERIK STRAUTS.
Director ERIK STRAUTS has deftly realised a wordy, difficult yet important and resonant script with a strong, well disciplined ensemble.
We are reminded of the numerous socio-political and cultural landmarks that impregnate world history, and that of the USA in particular since the end of the Second World War.
Talbot ( NICK FAGAN) displays a social conscience borne of reason, justice and truth with a stoic commitment that, by definition, cannot survive within a dystopian society ruled by all consuming self- interest.
His second wife Eve (JESSICA CARROLL) wants to start a family and also commences to make her own professional pathway in life, but she cares for Talbot enough to sacrifice herself to her husband’s core ideals. Ideals and attitudes that attracted her to him in the first place.
Both actors invest considerable thought, intelligence and energy into their characters and their performances are exemplary.
Max (JAMES BLACK) sparks the occasional moment of levity with his laconic portrayal of Talbot’s likewise expat Australian lecturer working in ivy league USA. He not only survives but ultimately thrives by bending to the prevailing populist “rules”.
Talbot’s HOD Jack (TIM EDHOUSE) is devoid of a moral and ethical compass and thereby exemplifies just how things are and how they need to be maintained in order to stay at the top. A subtle and convincing portrayal of a thoroughly dislikeable character.
STEVE MARVANEK as “The Man”, is an indefinable Pinteresque external ( internal?) threat who embodies the malfeasant status quo of this society at large. He is a most convincing monster emerging from the political shadows as Judge, Jury and Executioner.
YASMIN MARTIN as Marguerite the student who becomes the unwitting pawn in Talbot’s downfall, delivers a well drawn performance in her interaction with lecturer Talbot.
The cast moved and worked with great efficiency across BRITTANY DAW’S sparse but effective set. The use of the mezzanine floor as the site for Talbot’s office, security investigations, and Guantanamo Bay reference point was powerful.
A fascinating and (sadly) timeless piece of theatre that highlights the oft-quoted platitude “The more things change the more they stay the same.”