13 May 2012

Amongst the bushes

Speaking in tongues is the theatrical show that became the film Lantana. Much to the disappointment of my wife, I’m not a great film-lover, but I was mightily impressed by Lantana when I saw it. For once, this was an Australian film with a decent script, set in modern Australia, with an intriguing and adult-oriented plot and that wasn’t merely visual.

A play has to be presented differently from a film. This was. It’s a complex plot, with scenes happening in various locations and ongoing unexpected crossings of path by the various couples making up the cast. The first part shows us two couples working through the outcome of one consummated and another unconsummated liaison. It’s cleverly portrayed with unison speeches that highlight predicaments in modern marriage. One couple works it out, the other’s less successful, and paths variously cross when couples negotiate and male and female partners meet in different bars and clubs. The second half sees three more couples: one broken relationship with a pining male and non-committing female; one pained with a wife damaged by a history of child abuse and who then goes missing; the husband of another relationship who is questioned for the murder of the woman who’s disappeared. It’s complex and convoluted and thematically rich. It plays with your expectations and presumptions and leaves topical matters undecided. It even leaves the ultimate resolution undecided, although by implication the plot resolution is clear. The core theme was trust in marriage but there’s more: how people love, how they communicate, rekindling passion, giving emotional support. It’s also noticable that all parties were essentially good-willed despite the affairs. And that they were muddling through, although often not a textbook fashion. It’s a plot of tortuous interactions that explores themes by action and dialogue rather than overt discussion, and I’m still mulling over that title. I also imagine it’s a play for mature audiences with years of marriage under their belts. That’s not to say younger audiences won’t understand it, but I doubt they would feel it quite the same way. A stimulating play and well pesented by Canberra Rep, our local amateur theatre society that is now in its 80th year! Congratulations and best wishes to our august theatre company.

Speaking is tongues was directed by Ross McGregor and featured Rob de Fries (Leon), Helen McFarlane (Sonja), Duncan Ley (Pete), Lainie Hart (Jane), Bridgette Black (Valerie), Eliza Bell (Sarah), Sam Hannan-Morrow (Nic), Raoul Craemer (Neil) and Zach Raffan (John).

No comments: