Friday, 17 June 2005

Acts of Loneliness by Bridgette Burton and Christina Costigan, June 17, 2005

 Acts of Loneliness  
by Bridgette Burton and Christina Costigan 
Store Room, June 17 until July 3, 2005
Reviewer: Kate Herbert

These two short plays are both two-handers about two women who are invading each other's space and engaging in psychological games.

Not Forgotten, by Bridgette Burton, is a faintly menacing play in which Rebecca ( Tiffany Davis), having a quiet Friday night at  home awaiting take away Thai food, .is interrupted by Louise (Christina Costigan).

Louise purports to be a market researcher on unusual home visits. It transpires that the pair went to high school together but Rebecca has absolutely no recollection of Louise nor of much else of their common past.

What is peculiar and somehow dangerous, is that Louise recalls every detail of Rebecca, her achievements, her failings, school record, ambitions and even her talented and popular dead brother, Josh.

There is clearly a hidden history between the pair and we watch it unfold as Louise forces herself upon Rebecca, prodding and pressuring her to remember or admit that she bullied Louise at age 14 and 15.

Director, Kelly Somes, sets the play in a tiny, claustrophobic square of space with the women stepping inside each other's boundaries constantly.

Burton peels layers of their lives and secrets away to reveal that Louise is far more manipulative and controlling than we thought. She reveals she loved josh, followed him around and finally she declares that she knows the details of his apparent suicide.

 Shifts the pair's status and allows the role of intimidator to swap between the women as she unravels the plot.

In the second play, One on One written by Costigan,.Jane (Costigan) sits in a café reading, only to be interrupted by a stranger, Georgia, ( Davis) who sits at her table and proceeds to question her about her book, her drink, her family - everything.

This turns into a game with each of them women moving chairs and positions as in a board game. Roles swap, the interrogator changes, the status shifts as the game changes rules.

This play is the less successful of the two. The absurdist form works at times but the dialogue is often contrived and awkward with too much emphasis on word play and associative ideas.

Costigan and Davis are competent performers and Somes directs them tightly in the two plays.

The themes of solitude and invasion are common to both plays and each writer explores them in slightly differing styles.

By Kate Herbert

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