anef: (anef2)
[personal profile] anef
"Acedia" Noun, from Greek akedia, apathetic listlessness, a moral failing.

Crammed into a hot and tiny studio theatre over a hipster pub in the wilds of Clapham, I wasn't sure what to expect from the play, having signed up for it at the behest of [ profile] tamaranth.  I was vaguely expecting something about pirates, but the piracy turns out to be a metaphor for war.

We are in a deliberately undefined place and time.  There are echoes of the Trojan War, echoes of the Balkans, echoes of the Middle East.  Our cast are all men, apart from the token woman, "Helen".  Token because she is what they are fighting about, and she has just been captured by "our" side, in a conflict that has been going on for a very long time.  The men range from the newest recruit, Jacob, through a number of older, more experienced soldiers, to their psychotic commander (Troy) who is clearly descended from Ajax, Agamemnon, Odysseus; the great heroes as described by Homer in their less exalted moments - looter, rapist, killer.

Is it saying anything new about war?  No.  These are the things that poets and playwrights (and journalists) have been saying about war for millennia.  But I thought the production was very strong.  In particular, being used to studio productions done by students, it was great to see a range of actors of all ages, who were fully committed to the drama. I thought the script was great, the dialogue clever and naturalistic, the scenario bleak but leavened by a lot of black humour.  It's the first play by Jay Taylor, and based on this I'll certainly look out for his work in the future

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