Thursday, 25 October 2007

(The Pilot Version of…) Something To Die For, Oct 25, 2007

(The Pilot Version of…) Something To Die For
by Ross Mueller
Store Room, Oct 25 to Nov 4, 2007
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Oct 25, 2007

(The Pilot Version of…) Something To Die For is a monologue still in development according to the programme.  

Playwright Ross Mueller creates a single role of the Author (David Tredinnick), AKA Mueller himself, who speaks about his experiences in a playwrights’ programme in London amongst other more disturbing things at home.

Tredinnick’s impassioned performance, directed by Aidan Fennessy,  makes this underdeveloped and peculiar script more interesting. He is both funny and poignant as he plays the distracted and awkward Author. He depicts the unravelling of the man as he contends with a blooming breakdown: he is sleepless, jetlagged, drinks too much, eats too little and is experiencing a crisis of confidence in his play writing.

The Author stands at a lectern attempting to describe to us his mental state, his love of his sone Sam and his struggles with the creative process while attending a six-week playwrights’ Workshop at the Royal Court Theatre. At the centre of his addled investigation of this visit to London is his meeting with David Hare, the renowned and admired English playwright.

Mueller repeatedly recounts versions of his encounter with Hare. The story begins again and again as the Author struggles to frame his recollections of the moment and to create a sense of the monumental ordinariness of meeting a hero in the flesh. The Author’s own torment has some parallel in Hare’s play, Via Dolorosa, the monodrama Hare was performing at that time and that investigates his personal journey in the Middle East.

The Author, like Hare, confronts his own Via Dolorosa, the tortuous path travelled by Christ to his crucifixion. “What would you die for?” asks Hare of his playwriting acolytes. The Author/Mueller has a burgeoning awareness that he would die his son Sam.

The monodrama falls into two distinct parts. The first comprises repeated attempts to relate the Author’s shattering experiences at the Workshop. The second, the passionate core of his dilemma, narrates the Author’s nightmare about a plane crash in which he is unable to rescue his little son from drowning.

The two parts of the drama could be integrated and the through line about one’s burning attachment to one’s child could serve the narrative more effectively. As yet, Something to Die For is in an embryonic form and awaits its evolution into a play.

By Kate Herbert

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