18 – 28 September 2019 Review by Meredith Fuller
Southbank Theatre, The Lawler
The Wolves Theatre Company
Four souls are Marooned in a room in the afterlife. They have no connection other than they have all tried but failed to take their own lives. They don’t know how they survived but as time passes they begin to yearn to go home and fear that they won’t. A fear and a want that manifests into an insatiable hunger to live. But despite this hunger they are still Marooned.
Greg Caine is 1620
Rohana Hayes is 768
Christopher Jay is 379
Darcy Smith is 134
Playwright and director Michael Gray Griffith lifts the lid on a critical issue that needs to be addressed and discussed. With a deft touch, he helps us all to begin a dialogue by enabling us to translate feelings into words, via a potent script and eliciting pungent acting.
This is an engrossing play about what ails our society; poor communication, work pressures, relationship difficulties, health problems, and the troubling subject of suicide. Three men and a woman, who have been assigned registration numbers, are in a ‘waiting-room’ following attempts to take their own lives. With humour, sensitivity, pathos, and edutainment, this gutsy play tackles the topic we all need to reflect on and explore right now. Handled with great respect, compassion, and insight, ‘Marooned’ both informs and entertains.
Cleverly choreographed, blocked, and lit, this is riveting theatre. It is palpable waiting with them in their waiting room. Initially, in their silence, the actors effectively reveal their personalities somatically. In the tension, we eavesdrop on what they did, as they exchange information about methods undertaken in their attempts to flee their unbearable pain. But then they realise that they must talk – to interpersonally and intrapersonally communicate their despair. We go deeper.
A committed team, the four actors are tight and perfectly timed – it is clear that they bring their best to their complex roles.
Greg Caine embodies his turmoil in a tour de force performance. His nuanced beginning disintegrates into poignant despair. With every fibre of his being, Caine maintains his role with such exactitude we can almost smell his desperation as he contracts and contorts his pained body and mind.
Rohana Hayes is contained, elegant, and agile as she masks her needs in favour of caretaking the others, until her sadness pervades the room with ironic revelation.
Christopher Jay is magnificent in demonstrating his character’s tough vulnerability – from toe tapping to leg shaking to agitated hurt. He delightfully inhabits the stage with fun and menace.
Darcy Smith, the youngest member, is developing well, and nails his monologue’s plea to be seen.
Perhaps a few minor things could be tweaked; the acoustics could be improved to ensure that we can hear every word. Since these actors are so adroit at quickly conveying their characters, it might be possible to edit a few scenes from the first third of the play. The play is intense and engaging, so a little shaving may be easier for the audience.
I highly recommend the play, and was delighted to hear that it will be touring regionally.
The Wolves Theatre Company ‘MAROONED’ by Michael Gray Griffith at MTC’s LAWLOR Theatre until 28 September.