Thursday, 24 March 2005

By Night We Tremble by Susan Alexopoulos, Feb 24, 2005

  By Night We Tremble  by Susan Alexopoulos 
 La Mama, Feb 24 to March 13, 2005
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

It seems safe to assume that By Night We Tremble is based in the personal experience of the writer, Susan Alexopoulos.

The story is told from the point of view of a young woman (Alexopoulos) who, for the first time in her short but colourful love life, is dumped by her lover. (Tim Stitz)

The style is abstract and absurd and is written in an almost stream of consciousness style. It is an outpouring of grief and pain about loss of love.

It is more successful theatrically when it does not take itself seriously. Much of the time the dialogue is indulgent and immerses itself in platitudes and introspection that have little theatrical impact.

Two other actors portray the young woman's mother (Georgina Capper) and father (Stitz) but they also shift into playing the young woman and her lover.

Capper is quirky as the young woman's mother and suitably provocative as the young woman in love.

The direction (Julie Waddington & Thomas Papathanassiou OK) provides some imaginative physical representations of the sexual antics of the young lovers both in love and in separation.

The broad caricatures of mum and dad become repetitive and smack of the 1950s. Both parents live in a state of rage at the loss of their youth and sexuality and loss of control over their recalcitrant daughter.

Dad wears a daggy, old cardigan and constantly sprays a can of Air deodoriser. Mum wears an apron made of mothballs and her despair drives her to continually throttles.

Their aim is to make their daughter grow up to be sensible and responsible, just as they have had to do

The entertaining moments come with the inermittent sardonic reflections on the uncontrollable behaviour of those who are left by lovers.

The young woman comically bemoans the fact that she succumbed to begging her partner to stay, a behaviour that she always loathed in others.

"Loneliness is a great repellent," the actors intone ironically and repeatedly.

Lighting designed by Peter Heward provides an evocative atmosphere of murky blues and mauves.

The show is underscored with eclectic music including an impassioned tango.

There are certainly some interesting images and ideas in At Night We Tremble. but in the end, it feels less like theatre and more like private therapeutic  writings.

By Kate Herbert

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